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.