So in the last week, I read two books. (Actually I read about six books, one of which was non fiction (!) and the y were mostly good) But two of these books were excellent books. Five star books. I really just need to hug you forever because I love you so hard books.
I was also sick, and I didn’t use my laptop much, and there were exams, and planes, and chick flicks.
But I digress. The title of these books are *drumroll* Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch.
Here are some photos I took of them. And then we get down to the juicy part, where I talk about the books.
Snow Like Ashes is a fantasy book. The concept is quite original, and I liked how this book explored good and evil in a complex way follows Meira, the last one of the last free citizens of the Winter kingdom which has been taken over and the population incarcerated by the evil king of the Spring Kingdom, Angra. The locket which is the source of magic for Winter- each of the eight Rhythym and Season kingdoms has a magic item of some sort- has been broken, and the only heir, in a female blooded kingdom, is male. While trying to restore Winter, Meira has tot navigate complex political expectations and her own curious magic.
Code Name Verity follows two girls who are best friends. One has been tortured by Nazis, and is confessing all of her knowledge of Englands military. The other girl, Maddie is stranded in France and trying to help the Resestance. Their friendship for each other is a a source of sustenance and hope, as they try to dthe right thing in a time and place full of evil.,while questioning their own involvement in the war, and whether that is right.
Historical fiction and fantasy don’t seem to have a lot in common, but what these two books shared, that I like and would like to see more of, is the characters friendship (everyone has romance, but not everyone has nurturing and awesome to read about relationships with their friends), a questioning of good and evil (which should never be black and white) and an epic story.
Verity and Maddie come from very different backgrounds, but a shared love for adventure unites them. Maddie helps Julie control her wilder impulses and Verity helps Maddie to be a little adventurous, and step out of her shell. (Also, how cool is it that Maddie motorbikes everywhere). In France, the stakes are higher, yet throughout Verity and Maddies harrowing and complicated stories, they hold-not literally- on to each other.
Meira and Mather have a bantering relationship. They are spar partners. Though this, and the other main friendship do verge on the edge of romance, it is Mathers kindness and worry which mean that Meira sticks with him, through battles and within palace walls. Theron, though I originally did not like him, and Meira have an excellent (here we go again) dynamic and openness with each other. Meira helps Theron to see another version of the world while Theron helps Meira understand what is at risk politically. These relationships are more about doing, but the friendships in these two books are well worth reading them for.
In Nazi France, good and evil are one big question mark. Are the bombers that Maddie flies to airfields going to kill German children, as she sees bombed in nearby Manchester? Is she any better than them? Is Verity, as an imformer, doing the right thing? The characters question this and it makes the story richer.
In Snow like Ashes world, corruption has made Angra evil. Yet is part of him still human? Fantasy-and war fiction- is notorious for oversimplifying the rights wrongs, easily justified, because we are ‘us’ and they’re ‘them’. These books don’t make that an easy question.
These epic stories cover kilometres and their characters are put to the test. The scope is epic. Though Code Name Verity is ultimately hearbreaking-I loved it, but I don’t want to read books like that too often- and Snow Like Ashes is setting up for a series, I am really glad I read them. Thanks to the library for these excellent books.
Over and out. J