Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: Book Review

Code Name VerityCODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein Book Review
Publication Date: May 15th 2012 by Hyperion Books for Children
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

Book Review Overview:

  • First half of the story is agonizingly slow
  • Story wasn’t engrossing for me until the second half of the story
  • Overall, it didn’t live up to my expectations; I wasn’t blown away as I thought I would be

I’ve heard so many great reviews about CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, so when it became available on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. Unfortunately, CODE NAME VERITY didn’t live up to my expectations. The first half dragged on too much for me to enjoy the novel when it finally got going.

CODE NAME VERITY is about a female Scottish spy who is captured by the Germans during World War II. Forced to spill everything she knows about the Allied Forces, she writes down her experiences with her best friend Maddie, a pilot. The first half of the novel is mainly an epistolary novel told from the third-person perspective. The novel really dragged on for me because the protagonist basically talks about herself in the third-person the entire time. Unlike other World War II novels, we are given into a glimpse of history that no one really hears about: female pilots during World War II. It sounds like an interesting concept, but in reality their work really wasn’t that exciting. Because of the fact that they are women, their jobs are kind of boring – which means that the reading is a little dry.

For someone who is a fan of reading the historical genre, it’s saying something when I say that I was a little bit bored by CODE NAME VERITY. I just couldn’t get myself invested with the protagonist enough to care. I think that the protagonist does a better job getting us to like Maddie than herself – which is unfortunate because it is her life on the line. Who cares about a female pilot when it is you being tortured?

But once I got to the second half of CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, I loved how the loose ends of the novel came together. It was only until then that I could not stop reading. There were some details that I didn’t even realize were pivotal to the entire scheme of things and I resisted the urge to thumb through earlier parts of the novel (also, it helped that I was unable to “thumb” through the novel because I read this on my nook). There were so many clues along the way and I only picked up the barest hints. The ending was satisfying, but I still lacked an emotional connection with the characters. The novel overall would have had a bigger impact on me as a reader if I had made a stronger connection with either character.

I would not recommend this book to those who are not fans of historical novels. The first half of CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein will be a struggle to those who do not like to read about the past. But if you are a fan of historical novels, give this one a chance and you might end up enjoying it a lot more than I did.

Other Book Reviews:
Anna Reads
Good Books & Good Wine
The Reclusive Reader

About the Author

Elizabeth WeinElizabeth Wein has lived in Scotland for over ten years and wrote nearly all her novels there. Her first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth century Ethiopia. The most recent of these form the sequence The Mark of Solomon, published in two parts as The Lion Hunter (2007) and The Empty Kingdom (2008). The Lion Hunter was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008. Elizabeth also writes short stories.


Find the Author

Website | GoodReads

1 Comment

  1. I can see where you’re coming from with Code Name Verity being a bit slow although I, on the whole, loved it. I think the ending was what made it really worthwhile for me, I guess. I know what you mean about having the urge to flick back through the book on discovering the importance of those little details that you never would have guessed were important!
    My review of Code Name Verity is here :)

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