I finally finished this book, after a long long time (long book, big descriptions). It had been a long time since i took 2 weeks to read a book, but most of the books i picked up were small and easy to read, this one was a big one with big worlds and difficult words. Awesome translation by the way. So lets begin the review! As always don’t read past the line if you don’t want spoilers, i will try to keep it simple in the non-spoiler review.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
The book is set in the World War II, we follow a young German boy, Werner, and a young French girl, Marie-Laure. Both with different environments, with different childhoods. Werner grows to enjoy radios and electricity, feeling everything about it. Marie-Laure grows loving puzzles and reading, as well as some sea creatures. Her father is the master of keys in the national museum, Werner is an orphan, living with his sister in Frau Elena house. As they grow (and the books goes) everything is going to end in the same point, D day.
We have dual (sometimes more) perspective from Werner and Marie-Laure, but we also have 2 time strings. One being 1945 and the other being the years that go from 1940 to 1945. So you can see the books builds up to the climax final.
I enjoyed not knowing what the book was about (only knowing that piece of information i told you), but i got lost in the start of the book. When reading the D day chapters i didn’t understood what was going on, i need more info. About 100 pages in i was in the story completely. Not that the books needs that many pages to be good, its actually really good at the start, we just don’t understand it to the full.
Even with all the hype i enjoyed it, Historical Fiction is not my beach. I don’t read a ton of it (only read The Book Thief), but i wanted to give this book a try. Didn’t regretted it. Some people are comparing it to The Book Thief but i don’t see all that similarities.
First, Marie-Laure is blind, her vision of the world and the war is very different from Liesel. Marie-Laure goes through different things in different ways. Then Werner is the moral (to me) of the book. He goes through so much during the book. I had to read somethings twice to actually understand this 12 year old boy was going through.
If you enjoy Histotical Fiction, or just a good story, give this a go, really do. The book is full of everything. If you enjoy big descriptions there are a lot of it, if you enjoy understanding feelings and well described feelings you have this. Just a book full of everything.
(And there is a plot line that is just thrilling if you like that sort of book!)
4.7 stars out of 5 just because well too many descriptions.
Spoiler Review next!
First of all, why do i even hope for a happy ending? It’s a WWII book there is not an happy ending. My head is a mess but i will try my best to do this full review. I will go by topics maybe even plot lines.
Sea of Flames: I have mixed feelings about this. I enjoy the mystery surrounding the diamond. Did it work? Because Marie-Laure didn’t die and Madame Manec did. But Etienne was really close to. Now the sea of flames is covered by the sea, without a living should knowing if his power is real.
I enjoyed Von Rumpel Plot so much, it was by far the most exiting. He was sick not only with cancer but with power. I felt his death wasn’t the best but still a good one. His chapters really helped understand where everyone fitted and worked has a glue.
War and looking for signals: I felt so bad for Werner, he went to the worst nightmare i could imagine. Like him, that little girl hunted me. I saw everything in his eyes and every time he mention it i just wanted to curl up in a ball. He suffered so much and had so little. Just when he saved Marie-Laure he actually saw he could be good and do good. Then die like that? I had to read that last time a million times.
His friendship with Volkheimer and Frederick was very different but in some ways alike.
Frederick was the one who talked a lot and Werner the quite one, then Frederick fate destroyed Werner inside.
With Volkheimer, he (Werner) was the one who talked the most and just like Frederick, his dead destroyed Volkheimer inside. I guess its a parallel between 2 very different realities.
Running from Paris and life in Saint-Malo: First of all, the perfumer is the most awful person i know. Putting Mari-Laure father in prison like that just because he wanted money? That is despicable, horrible.
Then, Madame Manec never saw her plan being a success, that just kills me. The woman who did everything for everyone dies without even seeing everything getting better. She could have been a great influence in the course of history if she was real.
Ettiene and Mari-Laure friendship was beautiful, she health him and he helped surpass her father’s imprisonment.
Non existing love story: This just killed me, they could just have been friends i would be happy but killing Werner that way… i understand it really do but in my heart i wanted them to just be friends and share a can of peaches. The book builds up to their reunion and its a good one, full with joy but when they go their separate way we all know they will never see each other again.
Present: Understanding what this people feel after so many years is amazing. Knowing there are still survivors a live to tell the story. How traumatize they are, this is the reason we don’t need war. Unfortunately war is going on in this moment far away from our homes.
I hope you enjoyed the review, don’t forget to leave a comment!