Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

July 6, 2013 Review 20 ★★

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Egmontusa
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 447
Release Date: February 6th, 2012
Genres: Friendship, Historical
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.


I am a two star review in a sea of four and five star reviews. Usually that would make me second guess my opinion but then I saw a whole mass of DNFs and knew I was wasn’t the only one who found parts of this unbearable. Unbearable in the bad way.

I went into this expecting a riveting, high-stakes, realistic historical re-imagining of World War II with the deep ties of friendship and loyalty at the center. Although it told a good story of friendship, the rest was akin to a history lesson spoken in the dull, monotonous voice of your high school social studies teacher.

Julie, a girl known by many other names, is occasionally an entertaining narrator but the information being told is so boring to me overall I couldn’t bring myself to care. That is where this book really went downhill. Useless information of WWII, planes, Nazis, torture, and war maneuvers told to us in hopes to force us to create bonds with these characters just did the opposite and turned me off. Where I was supposed to develop emotions, I only developed annoyance.

There are pages and pages (probably 400 of those 447) dedicated to this war drivel and I just don’t see why. Well, I understand why, but it could have been done in a way  so it would be more entertaining. A great idea for a story, but poor execution. Frankly, I can’t understand how people withstood these 400 pages to get to the emotional ending that resulted in them giving this five stars.

My co-blogger loved this book so much and that was pretty much the only reason I didn’t give up on page 30 and saw it through till the end. My overall impression of this novel can be summed up by this single gif: (which, I admit, I have always wanted to use)Screenshot_11

Rating Report
Overall: 1.9

20 Responses to “Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein”

  1. Danielle

    Okay your review basically summed up all the reasons I am terrified to pick this up! I bought it ages ago and it does sound amazing but well…Tedious was a word I was afraid to see it described as. I know I will try it soon but I’m glad that you didn’t find it amazing because that’s been happening me a lot lately with books everyone else seems to adore and i’m like “eh” so glad there’s more of us out there ;)
    Danielle recently posted…The Weekend Edition #19

    • Alise

      Yeah, I really hate it when I dislike books everyone else seemed to enjoy, but that’s the beauty of having an opinion, I guess. A majority of the novel was unnecessary and I just didn’t get it. I hope you post a review if you ever do read it, I’d love to hear what you think.

  2. Aa'Ishah

    I was one of the people who DNFed this one. I love history, but I truly couldn’t connect with it and ended up just skimming until I couldn’t take even that anymore. I could kind of see why people love it, but it didn’t work for me. I’m sorry this didn’t work for you either – but you still did better than me by finishing it! Wonderful review, Alise. :)
    Aa’Ishah recently posted…Review: Playing Tyler

    • Alise

      Thank you! :) It’s hard to connect to a bunch of information, and I agree-the appeal is there, just surrounded by so much other…not so great parts.

  3. Danna

    I just barely finished Rose Under Fire (the companion novel) and LOVED IT, but I’m not so sure what I’ll think about Code Name Verity. I’ve heard so many good things about it and honestly, this is the first bad review I’ve read. I’m sorry you didn’t like it very much, thanks for the review!
    Danna recently posted…Review: Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess

    • Alise

      Yeah, there are not a lot of negative reviews for this one. I didn’t even know there was a companion novel! It honestly sounds like Code Name Verity: Nazi Camp version. I’m not sure if I could stand another book like this written in this way. She may not be the author for me. I will look out for your review of Rose Under Fire if you post one!

  4. Bookworm1858

    Wow-that is a negative review! My sister DNF-ed this but my mom, three best friends, and I all loved it. It’s so interesting to see how different things affect different people in such extreme ways. You called this tedious and I called it my best read of 2012. Hope your next read is better!
    Bookworm1858 recently posted…On Sal Mal Lane

    • Alise

      Well at least you can tell your sister not to feel so left out now xD I honestly think my dislike for this was the lack of real plot surrounding this great friendship. And maybe because I’ve read so many other good, emotional, WWII fiction books I didn’t have the patience for this one. Night by Elie Wiesel is one of them, sharing historical information without being too tedious and still emotionally heart-wrenching.

  5. Kezia

    Honestly I never heard of this book until yesterday when there was YA books with a letter missing hashtag on Twitter and this book was Cod Name Verity and I found it really hilarious xD I don’t read many historical so I can see why my opinion of this book might be biased… Yikes and the pacing! You gave it 0.5 O_O how slow does that suppose to be -___-

    P.S: I might be doing my Clockwork Prince review in bullet points too cause my thoughts are all over the place and I can’t form coherent paragraphs somehow.
    Kezia recently posted…[ARC Review] Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton

    • Alise

      Haha that’s ironic! Many it’s because I read so many historical fiction books that I didn’t like this. The pacing was the slowest out of any book I have ever read. That’s like 900 books.

      No problem, I can’t wait to read it!

  6. Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews

    This is definitely the first negative review I’ve seen of Code Name Verity, I admit I haven’t read it but it’s interesting find out why you didn’t like it. I’m a history buff so I think I’ll like this book, I love reading up loads and loads of history so I don’t think I’ll be too bothered by all the information but I admit I am curious :) Great review Alise!
    Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews recently posted…Summer Lovin Read-a-thon Day 7 – We Go Together + Book Cover Guessing Game

    • Alise

      I can definitely seeing you appreciating all the small details then! I would love to see your review if you ever read this. Thanks! :)

    • Alise

      Aha thanks, I thought it was perfect for this situation! It is definitely really slow, and feels more like non-fiction.

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