Lidabet (biggersandwich) wrote,

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Have now read Code Name Verity after approx. a million recommendations. Everything they said about it being brilliant is quite true. If you want to read about women pilots and spies in WWII, this is absolutely what you should read because it's fantastic. I was seriously impressed by Wein's historical research; she says in her afterword that she focused on plausible rather than exact and it worked very well. I never had a "what? NO" moment reading this, which is pretty rare for historical fiction, and her fictional place names plus accurate attitudes worked a million times better than exact place names, but the addition of women who are far too modern. As she says, there were loads of women working in these fields, and they did tons of things during the way, but they didn't get to be equals with the male pilots, and their working conditions were very, very different, which doesn't mean you can't tell stories about the incredibly important and interesting things they did! Just make them realistic.

It was, however, so, so harrowing to read. In a gorgeous compelling way, mind. Just oh, fuck, this is why I don't read WWII books. SO SAD. I'm not sure I have coherent words to say about it right now, but if anyone wants to commiserate with me in the comments about Julie and Maddie and them being wonderful and I just wanted them to be happy forever, is that too much to ask? then that would be delightful.

The first half of the novel, Julie's "confession" that she writes for the Gestapo when she's captured, is a brilliant piece of unreliable narration because you know that she has to be lying at least a little, but some of the details are so real and compelling that it's hard to tell what. It was perfectly plausible as information tortured out of her. And, particularly awfully, when it gets to the second half, Maddie's experiences with the Resistance trying to rescue her, it's suddenly clear exactly how much of the stuff about wireless code and airfields is nonsense (spoilers: all of it, because she is competent as fuck), but all the emotional stuff she surrounded it with was real and some of it was inadvertently given away, even though she was consciously using it as camouflage for the bullshit.

But I can't admire the craft of this novel anything like as much as it deserves because I am too sad about the ending. And I would say that I want this to be a Yuletide fandom (and it probably will be, a lot of people seem to have read it this year), but I'm not sure I could read even happy pre-adventures in France Maddie and Julie without spending the entire time inches away from sobbing over how she dies in the end. I will probably try though, if someone else writes it, I'm just registering my disapproval of things that make me sad. D:
Tags: books, recommendations, reviews
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.