Code Name Verity 11/27/16

Ben Weber         New Rating: 7.5/10

Last post I wrote about this book, a fourth of the way through the novel, and I had nothing but praise. After reading the second fourth I have different opinions. I still think that it is a great book, but there are nit picky items that I am addressing now. These bugged me while reading the first quarter but I did not realise them until now. Though the item that I going to be talking about has positive points there is still some negatives as well. This item is how the author introduces character’s personality or facts creatively in the novel Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. The praise about this topic is that Elizabeth Wein has very creative ways to give the reader an insight into why characters made decisions. The negative side of the creative explanation is that at times the facts, or personalities traits, are very confusingly written. Some of these had to be re-read multiple times before the reader could really understand what is being said.

What I thought was really brilliant about how Wien expanded the character’s personalities is shown in the quote on page 116 and 117. I am not going to write out the full quote. It is a page in a half and no one wants to read that, but I will give the gist of what the quote is saying. Maddie just landed in Deeside and she is choosing between the cold office room floor to sleep on, or taking a train to somewhere where there is actually a place to sleep. The problem is she does not know where to go, or even if there is a place to sleep anywhere nearby.  She still chooses to take the train. Later when Maddie gets to the train station and asks the ticket master when the next train leaves the station. The ticket master just hands her a ticket instead of asking her if she wanted to go on that train or not. Maddie does not turn down the ticket, and she just goes with it.  These two simple decisions really paint a picture to how Maddie’s mind works. Maddie instead of taking the cold floor she knows is there Maddie takes a risk for something better that could have turned out worse. This shows the Maddie has a risk taking personality. Also Maddie can go with the flow showing yet another aspect of her personality through a simple scene. This allows the reader to spend more time in the action of the writing and with what is actually happening then just reading about how a character thinks. This makes me very excited because I usually do not like reading about what goes on in another person’s mind.

I know this next example is really not showing the personality of Queenie fully, but there is a reason that it is here. The example is here because it shows that sometimes when Wein tries to be creative it does not work out as planned. I am the first one to say that I like reading graphs. They make sense and they present a bunch of information about the topic in one space. Wein uses these in her writing from time to time and for me it usually helps me understand what is going on. The only problem is when Wein switches between chart and writing every few lines or so. This make the reader have to look back over and over again to get the real gist of what is trying to be said. I know some people are fine with the switching back and forth but it really bugs me. When I am reading a book I want to move on and see what comes next and for me the flow of reading stops when I have to look back. The point that this happens is on page 152. For people that do not have the book the writing goes from a chart saying destinations and dates of Queenie going on missions with Maddie, then to Queenie explaining that the weather was terrible and Maddie was grounded, to one line of charts with the way of return from the mission as “Who Cares?”, and finally two more mission flights in paragraph form. I get that this was supposed to help the reader see all the flights together and to show how Queenie at this point in capture is really scatterbrained, but this bugged me even if there was a reason. Just put it all in chart form or paragraph form for heaven’s sake; it would make it a whole lot easier to read.

I know that I am the only one that this bugged, but I wanted to show what I saw in the novel and how creative Wein can be. So what I am trying to say throughout this whole piece is that Wein is very creative when she introduces topic or personalities, though sometimes it does not work and makes the novel even more confusing. I look forward to reading your comments on the book as well.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Code Name Verity 11/27/16

  1. penelopespurr

    Penelope Spurr
    Original Rating: 8/10
    Revised Rating: 6.5/10

    I agree with Ben, once again. By the end of the first quarter of CNV, I had become somewhat interested. However, when I returned, the second quarter was (sorry for being so blunt) terribly bland and completely lost my interest. Nonetheless, I continued the quarter, but my opinions stay unassuaged.

    One reason why I have disliked CNV is because it does not dive deep enough into the harsh details of WWII. The parts that I enjoyed, including the interview between Queenie and the American reporter, were too short and did not contribute much substance to the plot. The book’s lack of intensity seems to make light of what really happened during the war.

    A significant reason that has swayed my view of CNV is the perspective and information provided concerning characters. Throughout the story, Queenie has been narrating in two perspectives: her current experiences and hardships as a prisoner of war, and narration of Maddie’s story leading up to her (Queenie’s) own imprisonment. First, these two perspectives alternate. On top of the alternating stories, there are so many characters and places. Personally, I find this overwhelming and confusing. Future readers (although I urge you to find a more suitable read) may find it helpful to keep track of travel with a map, or at least a timeline.

    In short, CNV is confusing and lacks depth of detail, and I strongly believe that it deserves the rating I have given it. For students looking to read a different WWII book, I highly suggest Schindler’s List, which I read over the summer and gave an enthusiastic 9/10 review about.

  2. benweber55713

    I certainly agree with the part that she should have focused on the harsh details of WWII, but I still think people should read this book at least for the first quarter because it was good. More than a timeline is needed though. I was thinking more of a large character web with paragraphs of information on each. Also you were not being too blunt at all; the second quarter was bland. All we can do is hope that the second half is better.

  3. bartonzhuang

    Barton Zhuang
    Original Rating: 8/10
    New Rating: 7/10

    So here I am again, writing about now the second quarter of this novel. I would like to say that the novel improved and caught my interest more, but to say so would be a lie. This second quarter was definitely worse than the first quarter. Most of it was confusing to me. I agree with Penny especially on the point that CNV did not go into much detail about the war itself. It gave plenty of names, of people and of various airplanes, that I found that I could not follow. There were too many names for me. However, there were two parts of this second quarter that I found myself extremely interested in. The first being the interview between Queenie and the American. The second being near the end of the quarter, where Queenie speaks of her old assignment of catching double agents. I found myself drawn to these parts like an insect to a light.

    These two parts I thought developed Queenie as a character more. In a way, I suppose I admire Queenie’s developed character. She is not some perfect person will will die for honor and is always kindhearted. She is different, in her behavior and ideals. She DOES write to her captors. She open heartedly admits to lying and her sly tricks. I suppose the interview caught my intention because of her uncertainty. I always had seen Queenie as a very stubborn person, who knew immediately what she wanted. Her uncertainty was what made me realize how important of a scene this was.

    The other part that caught my attention was her old job. It seemed to me like Queenie was again going back to her kind of “games.” She has a way of getting the truth out of other people with her own lies, and I wonder if in the future of the novel she will trick the people holding her captive. I think Queenie is not to be underestimated as a character, by her captors or by us. I look forward to seeing Queenie’s character more developed.

    There’s not much else I would like to say about the novel. Apart from these two scenes, the book was rather a bore. It honestly felt less of enjoyable reading and more like a chore. Still I admire the character of Queenie, and hope the author is trying to deceive us with her writing (maybe she will pop in with a great third quarter!!), just like I would imagine Queenie to deceive her enemies.

  4. johnredinbo

    John Redinbo
    Original Rating: 8.5/10
    New Rating: 7.5/10

    This second quarter of the novel has been odd. I agree that it slowed down from the pace and intrigue in the first quarter, along with everyone. However, I’d like to talk about all the theories that have appeared to me because of this quarter. Prepare for John Redinbo: Book Theories!

    First off, I believe that Queenie is an unreliable narrator. To me, it seems that she doesn’t have a clear identity or set of values. During the third-person narration of herself, Queenie describes that in England, she was collected under pressure, dignified, and bold; all respectable, good attributes. But, as we view her experience with the cruel Gestapo, she seems to be ashamed, defeated, and a complete pessimist. This is of course a natural response, but when the propaganda reporter comes to interview Queenie, she switches back to her “old self.” I can’t really understand what is going through her head at the moment. Is Queenie really the brave woman from the beginning of the novel, now traumatized by the experience of her prison, or is she keeping something from the audience?

    Concerning the interview, I believe it was actually very interesting. It felt tense and uncertain, as Queenie tried to come up with convincing lies on the spot. For those of you who don’t know, Queenie has made a deal for more time to finish her account, by telling the reporter how the prison is “great.” However, I have a theory for this encounter. I have heard that a plot twist occurs in the book, but (fortunately) don’t know what it is. It seems though, that this scene has revealed something about the novel. It is mentioned that Maddie has a “codename”, and yet Queenie never bothers to show the name to her captors. Even more interesting, when the reporter questions Queenie, she states, “I’m looking for verity”, which seems to bring a positive response from Queenie. Now, verity can simply be defined as truth, but could it be Maddie’s codename? The book is called Codename VERITY (gasp!) Is the interviewer Maddie? Does she know where Queenie is? We shall see…next blog post.

  5. benweber55713

    John that was perfect just perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. benweber55713

    Last time I posted I was responding to John’s post with “John that was perfect just perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” as you can see. Why I thought it was perfect was the theory fit in with all of the other facts of the story so well. Sorry John, I never really considered your theory as a probability. Now that I have read the third quarter I am thoroughly impressed. I had no idea what was going to happen next, and you got it perfect. I applaud you for this feat.
    Now, onto the part that I am actually supposed to write about. The third quarter of the book was a thousand times better than the second quarter. One reason that makes this quarter so much better is the change in narrator. Queenie (or Julia) finally finishes her story on how she got to this town of Ormaie. The story then moves to Maddie, as the narrator, which is a great treat. Not saying that I did not like how Queenie narrated the story, but Maddie does the job better than her. Maddie just has more presence in her writing which I think is due to the fact that Queenie was a prisoner and Maddie was free. Something that makes Maddie is a better narrator is she moves around and does not stay in one place. While Queenie could do none of that. Just the fact that there was action, which was not a memory, was a gift in itself.
    Another reason that the third quarter of the book was better is the finishing of the puzzle. There are always this feeling while you are reading a book that something was missing. You never know what it was, but you know it is missing, and you could not put your finger on it. This was one of the reason I believe why is disliked the second quarter so much. Why I was so frustrated was because there were gaps in the metaphorical puzzle of the story. There were small details that I wanted to know but the book had not divulge those details yet. There was also wanting to know if Madie survived the crash or not. Maddie finally provided these details and completed the puzzle. This makes me extremely excited to see what is to come in the story.
    Finally, no one can forget the plot twists that Wein throws the reader’s way. The main one being that the interviewer was trying to find Verity and she did. To show how Wein shows this curve ball I am going to give you the quote. “‘The broadcaster’s called Georgia Penn- ‘ ‘God, doesn’t she announce that sickening ‘No Place Like Home’ for Third Reich Radio or whatever they call it? I thought she was a Nazi!’ ‘She’s- ‘ I couldn’t think of the right word except ‘double agent,’ which isn’t what I meant, though I suppose that’s what she really is. ‘She’s not a courier, she doesn’t carry messages- Who’s the person a king sends ahead of his army and expects won’t get killed?’ ‘A herald?’ ‘That’s it exactly!’ I should remember. It’s the name of the American paper she used to work for. ‘What’s she going to do for us while she’s pulling off this positive Nazi propaganda campaign in Ormaie?’ ‘Try to find Verity,’ I said softly.” (Wein 242). It took me longer than it should have to figure out that she was talking about Queenie. Now it all fits into place. The facts of Penn saying all I am looking for is Verity, and then Queenie responding that’s good because I am Verity fits into the theory. I should have picked up on it sooner. John was completely correct with Queenie’s code name being Verity.
    So with startling new praise I would like to put Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein back on my “want to read again” list. I look forward to seeing what you guys post about this new revelation.

  7. penelopespurr

    Penelope Spurr
    First Quarter Rating: 8/10
    Second Quarter Rating: 6.5/10
    Third Quarter Rating: 7.5/10

    The third quarter of Code Name Verity was significantly more interesting than the previous two quarters. I’m not suggesting that this was some sort of Adele-esque comeback, but 1) last time I got so bored from reading that I fell asleep midway through a sentence and 2) this time, I was invested enough in the story that I was able to finish the quarter in two long sittings, which for me is an impressive feat.

    The main factor that contributed to my interest in the book was the change in character. The perspective switched from Maddie to Queenie, and we later find that Queenie’s real name is Julie. It is the concept of names in Code Name Verity that I find specifically engrossing. At the beginning of the book, I had no idea who the characters were. Throughout the book, the two girls use fake names cover their identities to avoid ultimately being caught or further harmed by the Ormaie Gestapo. However, through their writing, they expose their real names, and with those names comes a true sense of identity and self. When the reader suddenly hits the ground running when they start the book, they may have no idea what to think of the characters. Now, although it has been clear that the two girls are protagonists, I have finally begun to understand who they are as people and not simply just workers and spies. This concept reminds me of the difference between meeting someone on the first day of school and being seven months into a friendship. I also like to think of this “unraveling” identity as a rose. The outside of the rose is composed of large, obvious petals, but as you look closer, under the the petals toward the middle is a delicate center, much like the emotion and true personality that Maddie and Julie tried to hide.

    Along with this newfound enjoyment, I still have some criticism. I have always thought the all caps writing was a bit excessive, and now there’s even more, which is bothersome. And personally, I like to voice over the narratives mentally, so having to voice over “DRAT DRAT DOUBLE DRAT” is simply burdensome. In total, there were 26 fully capitalized words on the page–26 words too many. In my opinion, there are more effective ways to illustrate emphasis, and capitalization appears to be the least creative. Additionally, slightly below this religious helping of screaming words were three consecutive question marks. I do not mean to come off as picky, but I was finally becoming more interested in what I was reading, and the sudden yelling and melodramatic tone diverted my attention.

    On a different note, the third quarter illustrated the war in a way that the previous two quarters had lacked. For example: “I understand now why [Julie’s] mother plays Mrs. Darling and leaves the windows open in her children’s bedrooms when they’re away. As long as you can pretend they might come back, there’s hope” (227). I wasn’t alive during WWII, but from this excerpt, I can imagine the fear involved in sending sons and daughters off to war while parents wait at home. While Maddie’s thought only focuses on Julie’s mother, it appears as though this situation was common among many families.

    Overall, I enjoyed reading a fresh perspective in the third quarter and look forward to hearing from you all!

  8. bartonzhuang

    Barton Zhuang
    Sorry for the late response. I may have been reading ahead a little and forgot to put in my response for third quarter… but third quarter was great. The back of the novel states quickly that, “On October 11th, 1943, a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. But just one of the girls gets a chance at survival.” When I first read this, I was half-way into the first quarter and thought “Oh, so Queenie gets a chance at life right? Because she’s revealing the mission so they don’t kill her, which means that the Maddie girl is already dead?” But now on the third quarter, I know how wrong that was. Maddie is the girl that has a chance at life. Queenie was the one to disappear into the “night and fog.” So it came as a shock to me when I realized Maddie was alive.

    And thank god Maddie is alive because her writing isn’t as dull as Queenie’s. I feel like her writing even on a level explained why Queenie’s writing was so dull. I must start referring to her as Julie, sorry. Julie was like stuck in one place with nothing interesting happening to her. She was forced to write, out of nothing. Maddie or Kittyhawk wrote out of her heart and her feelings. Also, Julie had an audience. She wrote for others, but also to them. Julie had a unique way of narrating, through recipe cards and such. You could hear her talking to you and v.L. Maddie’s writing feels more sincere. She writes it for herself and it is deep and meaningful because of that.

    Maddie’s writing also fills in a lot of holes. On this point, I strongly agree with Ben. It was just like a break in the story. It didn’t flow and you were aware of it and knew it. Now, with the new narrator, even though she doesn’t directly talk about it, things she says ties into the missing parts of Julie’s story. This reminded me that Julie wasn’t just some prisoner. She was someone who was very important on the other side of the war.

    Overall, good job on the third quarter guys. Book is getting better. I read ahead this week because I was sick and now I have just finished the book. The fourth quarter is sooo good! Like plot twist on plot twist! It was amazing. Can’t wait to respond to that and I’ll see you guys then. Third quarter is getting better, but fourth quarter is where the real drama unfolds! Sorry for spoilers…

    • penelopespurr

      Barton, I completely agree. I would prefer a story that flowed more, but Maddie’s introduction reinforced the concept of persona and as you mentioned, definitely was a much needed break from Julie’s narrative. I’m interested to see how/if they meet up in the fourth quarter!

  9. johnredinbo

    Sorry for this late response. I agree with all of you that the third quarter is by far the most interesting, mostly because of the contrast between Maddie’s and Queenie’s writing styles. In fact, I agree with everything that has been said, so I am just going to build on your responses in this blog entry.
    Let’s start with the wise Benjamin Weber. The flow and pacing of the book has definitely improved, due to the different narrator (Maddie.) I think the testimony that Queenie wrote was much more bland because she was constructing it for the Gestapo, so she had to list every last detail, person, plane type, and event leading up to her capture. Maddie, on the other hand, is simply writing to keep herself busy as she waits for rescue from enemy territory. She often states that this narrative is not for anyone to read, because it would mean a court martial, or give away essential information to the Nazis.
    Penelope also has some good points. The third quarter does demonstrate the change of war better than the last two quarters. Since Maddie is staying with a family of farmers in the French countryside, the effects of the Nazi invasion are shown everywhere, from the duty of hosting Nazi officers for dinner, to the various checkpoints scattered throughout the town. However, I don’t really agree that capital letters are overused in the novel. In my opinion, they bring better emphasis and emotion to reactions, or important information. Saying “Drat Drat Double Drat”, or the italicized version is not as descriptive as all-caps, and since Maddie is not writing this report for enjoyment, it feels sincere.
    Finally, I agree with Barton that Maddie’s narrative has fixed plot holes, with the plot twist that Queenie is Verity. But there is also the fact that Maddie supports what Queenie has already said. Since Queenie (for whatever reason), writes in the third person, you don’t really know if she is describing herself in an honest view. However, after Maddie meets with Queenie’s brother, Jamie (there are a lot of characters), Queenie’s description has held up. When Jamie holds Maddie around the waist, she states that he is, “…so like his sister” (245). This proves that Queenie, at one point or another, was a friendly, loving woman, like she has said.
    “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all”-Oscar Wilde. Let me just say, there is definitely use in reading Code Name Verity. After the third quarter, I can proudly say that this one of the smartest books I’ve read, and one of the few books that will have a different story upon re-reading it. The fact that Queenie is Verity gives a whole new perspective to the novel, and it would be very enjoyable to read the book again, and witness the effects of this plot twist.

  10. bartonzhuang

    Barton Zhuang

    Sorry for the early entry, I wanted to get it done and had a lot of feelings about this part that I might not even be able to put into words well, but here we go. Firstly, I want to congratulate everyone for finishing this book, as it has been a joy to read. The second half of this book was so good and effective at patching up holes in the first half that I genuinely feel bad for saying bad things about the novel during the first and second quarters. This fourth quarter is my personal favorite because of all the things that you would never expect to happen, well, happen. The action that was missing from the earlier segments of the book are shown in this part. I loved how this part made me think. It seemed as if everything connected to something and contributed to this whole puzzle or web of ideas. There are tiny minor things I would like to talk about, such as “fun fact! I searched up “Kittyhawk” and under images it was an airplane oh my gosh!” But I think to do so would be hiding the valued parts of this final quarter. I found a quote online referring to Code Name Verity stating that it was a “sad beauty of a complicated truth.” Of course the topic I’m going to be talking about the most will have to be Verity’s death (I will refer to the characters by their code names in this response–it brings back to my attention that they are doing something of tremendous importance).

    Honestly I was too shocked to register what had happened at first. In my book on page 285, the words “And then I shot her” took me absolutely by surprise. I (correct use of the word literally) literally looked up from my book blinked and was like “what?” before looking back to my book. I was actually wondering if there had been a typo. Once it hit me that Kittyhawk actually did shoot and kill Verity, questions arose in my mind–all of which I answered myself a bit later. Why would she kill her? Wasn’t she an important part of their plan? Why didn’t she just shoot the people who were about to shoot Verity? This to me was by far the most powerful part of the book. The wake that followed also were compelling. I could go on and on about the fake code, Kittyhawk’s shock that she killed her best friend, and the papers Engel gave to Kittyhawk. However, what I would like to talk about the most is why Kittyhawk shot Verity.

    I am VERY open to other explanations and would totally be interested in hearing other people’s thoughts on this part. Honest. I guess my explanation for this is that Verity did not want to die from the people that she had fought so hard against, and already had a very strong connection with Kittyhawk. I feel there is more to analyze from Kittyhawk’s point of view. She did it for her friend. Kittyhawk shooting Verity was I believe an act showing how solid their friendship was. That they could recognize each other by their crying. That they would ultimately shoot the other if that was what they desired. It shows their selflessness as characters. However, I do prefer Kittyhawk shooting Verity as an ending. It seems like mercy, because she was supposed to be sent to a concentration camp and was going to be shot by the Germans anyway. I ultimately feel as if this scene was effective in portraying their friendship and the intensity of the war and current moment.
    Good job guys, my analyzations could be wrong, but these are some of my thoughts and hope you guys do plan on sharing yours as well!!

  11. benweber55713

    Hello again. It is Ben Weber and I am back, and I will be writing about the fourth quarter of the book. I hope that you all had a good winter break and are ready to come back to school. Now with the formalities out of the way, I will start talking about the book. I really want to write about this quarter, but at the same time I really don’t want to. The reason I want to write about this quarter is it brought closer to the book which with a sequel is a difficult feat, and the it gave me and my OCD some pleasure. At the same time I really do not want to relive the feeling that I had during the middle of the quarter. On the back of my copy there are many reviews, and the one states, “If you pick up this book, it will be some time before you put your dog-eared, tear-stained copy back down”. I did not agree with the part about not being able to put the book down during the first two quarters because I had no problems putting the book down, but halfway through the third quarter and into the fourth quarter I realized that I was having trouble putting it down. Though I kept on waiting for the tear-stained portion to come into effect. I know that the things that both Maddie and Julie had been through was wrenching and I truly understand that this was very hard, but I had not been heart wrenched yet. Though this came in the fourth quarter, and I now know why that review was the way it was. Barton I completely agree with what you said and I will talk about my views about that part later on.

    Before I continue, with the sad history behind WWII and the events in the novel, I am going to talk about the sense of closer. As can be said from the previous responses this book is a very confusing with many characters and plot lines. All of these came together in the end to form a nice little bow around the story. The most major of these is that Julie’s story was almost completely false and that there was all these hints riddled in her story that I did not pick up on. Though I did not fully trust Julie’s testimony I believed the facts about the airfields and names of airplanes because I had no idea about them. I was torn that Julie was giving all of this information to the Gestapo and the German war effort. I was also confused why she seemed so brave in the stories and then she was giving up this information in the real world. It all makes sense now that she was giving them false information. Also later on we find out that Engel is actually working for the allies and helps Maddie get Julie’s testimony. This also makes sense with how Engel treated her while Julie was writing. Finally, there is the fact that throughout the first two quarters there were parts of the story underlined. It did not draw my attention, because it was just describing random objects such as the dumbwaiters, and that the Gestapo use the first few floors as their own accommodations and offices. Then on page 299 Maddie puts the story all together through the underlined portions as she thinks, “We can get in through the cellars, front and back. There is an entrance in the lower lane at the back and a loading lift through the street at the front. The cellars are not secure and they use the bedrooms as cells. During air raids the whole place is left unguarded apart from the dogs. We will have up to two hours. We can pull the fuses, disable the generator, and fill the dumb waiter with Explosive 808 when we leave” (Wein 299). Julie while being held hostage and tortured had time to orchestrate an attempt to blow up an enemy prison in a way that would not give her away. This just makes so much sense and allows me to know the book has come to a close, no annoying cliffhangers added.

    Now comes the time where I have to talk about a subject that gets on people’s nerves. This is where I had to stop reading and sit there for long enough for my parents to ask what was up. This moment happened after the Nazis had maimed two men and were about to do the same to Julie. During her accident report Maddie writes about the order of events and says, “Julie was next. Suddenly [Julie] laughed wildly and gave a shaking yell, her voice high and desperate. ‘KISS ME, HARDY! Kiss me, QUICK!’ Turned her face away from me to make it easier. And I shot her” (Wein 285). I couldn’t think or even get my thoughts together until later on. The amount of courage and will needed to do this is astronomical. Just thinking about killing any of my best friends or even just friends, even people I may not like as much is beyond me. This really does bring out the character’s personalities and shows how terrible WWII actually was. This was a definitely needed portion of the book, just a portion I had trouble swallowing. Though there was a reason behind this. Barton you asked why did Maddie shot Julie and not the Nazis. I think why she shot Julie is because Julie herself thought she was too long gone and she had already completed her mission. Who is Maddie to disobey her best friend’s last wish. I think Julie thought there was nowhere for her to go but down, in agony or painless. She chose painless.

    I know that all of you guys have or are going to talk about Maddie’s death but I thought that I needed to bring it up in my response. You guys have been a great group to have discussions with and I look forward to reading your full book reviews.

  12. benweber55713

    Also here is my book review even though it was early. I was on a roll and I wrote the response and this is one sitting.

    Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, is a book that you want to put down one moment but can’t the next. This rollercoaster of a book ends up with a 7 out of 10 rating from me, Ben Weber, book critic. This is a great story about friendship, caring, courage, and doing what has to be done in the face of danger. Though with many characters this can be quite confusing, but these messages still come through. Due to the fact that there are so many characters writing details on a post it note, about these people, helps. Even with these many characters Elizabeth Wein still manages to develop these character’s personalities. She does this in a way that makes you know these characters and aren’t just reading about them. This even when the story takes place before our time, in WWII. The story starts you running with a lot of information in a few pages. This is a very confusing portion which marked this book down some points. Once past this information phase the book is really quite boring. This is a hard section to get through but once you get to the switch in narrators it gets better. At this point the book picks up pace with exciting and suspenseful scenes that have you at the edge of your seat. Then a huge plot twists. Just remember if you pay attention to minor details during the first half of the story you may see these twists coming, though it won’t be easy. By the end, your heart will be touched and you will know the meaning of verity in WWII.

  13. johnredinbo

    The fourth quarter of this book was a rollercoaster of emotion. Excitement, discovery, despair, hope, fear; I have never felt this satisfied with a novel’s conclusion. And, I am happy to say that the fourth quarter wraps up the novel with skill, care for the characters, and a thoughtful attention to all of the plot holes. Of course, I’m going to talk about the dramatic scene between Maddie and Queenie, but I would first like to discuss all the other parts that made this novel so phenomenal.
    Firstly, the title is ridiculously smart. There aren’t many books out there that can be summed up this well. The title is ironic, yet true to the story. I feel that the main theme of the novel is truth, and how it affects people in certain hands. It’s interesting how the truth is a fearful topic in the first half of the novel, but brings hope and victory in the second half. For Queenie, the truth meant betraying her country, her family, and her friends; and she would’ve rather been tortured than give it up to the Gestapo. She spends all of her time trying to cover up the truth. Maddie, on the other hand, uses the truth to give herself hope, trying to uncover the location of her friend, and to put a stop to the Nazi activity in the town of Ormaie. She also uses it to put an old woman at ease, to finally let Lady Beaufort-Stuart know what her children have been up to during the war. The ultimate lesson seems to be that those who respect the truth receive the most from it.
    That brings me to Engel, who is my favorite character. At the beginning, Julie/Queenie/Verity (whatever you’d like to call her), describes Engel as obedient and reserved, a cold lackey for Von Linden; nothing more or less. I didn’t even remember Engel as a character until 40 pages from the end, where she starts giving information to Maddie. And let’s face it, without Engel, the entire operation would have failed. Honestly, she might be the bravest person in the book. Don’t get me wrong, Queenie and Maddie are EXTREMELY brave, deep in the heart of enemy territory, away from their loved ones. But, the difference between them and Engel is that they know they’re doing the right thing. Imagine spending a good portion of your life with a huge organization, with power and dominance over several countries. Would you really stick your neck out for a small rebellion, knowing that you could be endangering the people you love, and abandoning your livelihood? That’s bravery. What I would like to know is what changed Engel’s mind, so if anyone has located that, please tell me.
    Finally, there’s the ending. It was amazing that Maddie loved her friend enough to do anything for her, no matter the emotional struggle within. It was shocking when Queenie said, “KISS ME HARDY”, and a lovable main character of the novel was killed off, just like that. And those last words meant alot to the entire story. I looked up the origin of that phrase, and it turns out that these are the final words of an Admiral to his Captain, during the Battle of Trafalgar. The words following that were, “Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty.” The Admiral, knowing that his duty was done, just wanted one last piece of affection from the world he knew. This is the exact situation that Queenie went through during the ambush. She knew she had given everything she could in her duty, and was requesting one more sign of love from the world, and Maddie gave it to Queenie, despite the pain it cost her.
    All in all, I loved the fourth quarter, because it demonstrated the truth, bravery, and loss of World War 2. I think this is the most emotional quarter, and despite the monotony of the second quarter, I believe this is a loving, enjoyable book. Thanks everyone for reading this fantastic book with me, and if you ever read the sequel, please tell me what you think!!
    (By the way, a prequel is coming out this May.)

  14. penelopespurr

    Penelope Spurr
    First Quarter Rating: 8/10
    Second Quarter Rating: 6.5/10
    Third Quarter Rating: 7.5/10
    Fourth Quarter Rating 7.5/10

    In my opinion, the fourth quarter of Code Name Verity is the best. I regret rating the first quarter an 8/10–that was too generous. I enjoyed reading the fourth quarter because despite how confused I was about names and places and travel, by the end, I understood how everything tied together. I was also particularly shocked by the twist ending–Maddie had spent so long trying to find her best friend, and when she did, she seemed to have no choice but to shoot her. Wow. That was powerful, and clearly illustrated how their relationship involved so much emotion and so many mutual feelings, to the point where Maddie understood the suffering Julie had and would endure, and burdened herself with killing Julie. On the one hand, I desperately wanted the two girls to reunite, but on the other, I understood that it was practically impossible for them to ever speak again.

    What I also found particularly influential throughout the story was the numerous relationships that took place. First, Maddie and Jamie shared a subtle romance, which much to my surprise, I enjoyed. I found it especially interesting when Jamie left Maddie his boots so that she could keep warm throughout her travels. (I despise the feeling of having cold feet, so I could appreciate that gesture). Second, Julie and v. Linden–I was astounded when I read that von Linden shot himself. Throughout the story, he had shown very little emotion, and though he seemed to loosen his grip on Julie’s torture, I assumed that he had overridden any feeling with his sense of duty.

    Finally, I found that the “cherry on top” of Code Name Verity was the last page. Like I mentioned in my notes from the third quarter, I found that the relationship between Maddie and Julie’s mother once again illustrated strong bonds between families in WWII. I actually found myself feeling a little emotional (!!) when Julie’s mother mentioned her window being open, and genuinely welcoming Maddie into their home.This was not only a metaphorical representation of people who found hope through others, but also the feeling of emptiness as a parent lost their child whom they had waited so long for.

  15. johnredinbo

    Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, is a thematic, well-researched novel of war, that creates lifelike characters, and tells an astonishing story, making it deserving of a 9/10 on my part. While there is a slight monotone feel in the second quarter, this is a smart, fast-paced book that wrenches your heart in every direction, flipping from emotion to emotion with every turn of the page. Several major themes dot their way through the pages, including sacrifice, truth, love, purpose, and loss. The scenery throughout the novel is described within the “golden zone” of writing; just enough to make you feel as though you are there, but not distracting from the plot and people. A wide array of characters, each with their own backstory, may feel confusing at times, but the detail paid to each of them makes up for it. It is clear that Wein cares about the characters in the novel, and therefore makes the audience feel the same way. That is la vérité.

  16. penelopespurr

    Final Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein; 7/10

    Despite my initial skeptics of Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, I found the read as overall quite enjoyable. The beginning was a little confusing, but I am glad I gave it a chance.

    The variety in theme throughout CNV was particularly engrossing. For example, the book re-defined a friendship; people who not only enjoy each other’s company, but understand each other without having to articulate how they truly feel. The book also painted a clear picture of war; the risk, fear, pain, loss, and trust involved. The story, fast-paced, threw me into a new scene every seven pages, and knowing nothing (like many of the characters themselves), I had to familiarize myself with people and places, enemies and allies, and conditions.

    At certain points, I found myself lost in a mixture of war language and traveling between multiple countries, but as the end drew near, everything and everyone fell out of place. That’s right–OUT of place. What I found particularly interesting (and I am just realizing this now) is that in many books that I have read, everything falls into place, meaning that a sort of web is formed between concepts and connections between characters are finally drawn. However, this “web” was already illustrated a third of the way into the book. The end, instead of drawing conclusions, illustrated the individual (emphasis on individual) lives of the characters, removing the web of connections, and encouraging the reader to ponder the characters’ futures. For example: we finally see von Linden as a father rather than as a Gestapo commander. I find this fascinating.

    Throughout the book I felt as though I had lost emotions toward the characters–I felt distanced and unalike. However, when I found myself closing the back cover and reflecting on the story as a whole, emotions of emptiness, defeat, sadness (and yet in some respects triumph) came rushing and hit me like a wave. I hope the rest of you enjoyed Code Name Verity as I have.

    Penny

  17. johnredinbo

    I wrote the review before the guidelines were announced, so I am reposting. Sorry for any inconvenience.

    Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
    Final Verdict: 9/10

    Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, is a thematic, well-researched novel of war, that creates lifelike characters, and tells an astonishing story, making it deserving of a 9/10 on my part, and a perfect spy adventure for any age. The book is an inspiring story of sisterhood, as two friends struggle to save each other while undergoing espionage in World War 2. While there is a slight monotone feel in the second quarter, this is a smart, fast-paced book that wrenches your heart in every direction, flipping from emotion to emotion with every turn of the page. Several major themes dot their way through the pages, including sacrifice, truth, love, purpose, and loss. The scenery throughout the novel is described within the “golden zone” of writing; just enough to make you feel as though you are there, but not distracting from the plot and people. A wide array of characters, each with their own backstory, may feel confusing at times, but the detail paid to each of them makes up for it. It is clear that Wein cares about the characters in the novel, and therefore makes the audience feel the same way. That is la vérité.

  18. bartonzhuang

    Barton Zhuang

    Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
    Overall Rating: 8/10

    Code Name Verity, a novel by Elizabeth Wein, got a rating of 8/10 from me. The novel is about two girls, one imprisoned and one trying to free the other, and is set in World War II. Both girls go through harrowing events in this novel that truly set them aside as strong and brave individuals. The most unique part of this book to me was the way the characters wrote, or the narration. One girl narrates for the first half, and the other narrates for the second half. These two girls and their voices in their writing were fun to analyze and look at. The author did an extremely good job of creating a web of events and ideas that while at first was confusing, ended up being beautiful and shocking. All the loose ends were tied up in the end and contributed to a huge “bringing together.” To me, Wein’s writing style had me puzzled and thinking, something I usually like to feel when reading a novel. I like to try to connect dots before the book announces it, but this novel truly had me stumped and built up to a grand reveal. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in the time period (WWII), or people who enjoy a book that gets them thinking. Another group that may enjoy this book are young adults looking for interesting and intriguing material. Code Name Verity is not all action, or all mind games, it is a beautiful combination of both. When approaching the second quarter, one should keep reading, as it gets nothing but better and better. Bravo to Ms. Wein for the amazing read!

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