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. (goodreads.com)
I saw this one pop up on NetGalley when I was still using the website and ultimately passed on requesting it. At the time I was a little over-saturated with World War II stuff and the premise as it reads up there wasn’t doing it for me enough to void my WWII overload so I skipped it. Over the months I heard wonderful things about it and then when I went to see Laini Taylor for her book tour she touted it and it was at that point I added it to my WANT list on Goodreads. I’d get to it eventually. Laura was my YAckish secret Santa this year and ended up sending me a copy so hooray for getting to read it sooner rather than later! Add in the fact that it was literally on every single tops list of 2012 that I read I bumped it to the top of my reading pile and had at it.
See, I went in with very specific expectations for this book: it was about an Allied pilot in an enemy POW prison getting tortured for information. So I expected it to be intense. Imagine my surprise when I get stories about picnics and bicycles and someone NOT the protagonist learning to fly and whatnot. With every turn of the page I expected a turn of the plot but no. This life story of someone whose story it wasn’t just kept coming.
At the same time, when that storytelling ended for the moment, it would flip back to the real protagonist and her time in prison and all I got were allusions to how she was treated. She was terrified of the word ‘kerosene’ and the officer that was up her ass for Allied secrets, Von Douchennozzle or whatever his name was, but I never saw WHY she was afraid. Sure she mentioned a couple of things, especially about the kerosene and while awful to read the short half sentence of what they used it for it certainly wasn’t enough to, as Laura put it, stab my soul. I WANTED MY SOUL STABBED. I kept waiting for it and waiting for it and all I kept getting was meandering exposition and passive mentions of nasty things that were so far distanced from me I didn’t feel anything for them. Was I just supposed to be terrified of Von Dicklick because he was a Nazi? Because I wasn’t. The Nazis poured kerosene down POW’s throats and lit a match. Yeah, that’s pretty awful but none of this is witnessed, none of it is immediate and while I get why she’s afraid of the word and the man I don’t feel it and that’s a major issue for me.
There was only so far I could go hoping that it’d get interesting before I gave up.
I’ll probably get stoned for DNFing this one but you can chalk it up to my expectations. It’s not that it was poorly written; it just wasn’t anything like I thought it was going to be and that’s really rough to read, especially if it’s in a slow-moving plot sort of way. I do know about the turn the story takes (I had to look up the twist just to see what it was) and yes, it does still have that soul-stabbing potential depending on how it plays out. Right now I wouldn’t have read as far as I did if I wasn’t getting my hair dyed at the time. I did end up reading to around page 144 but it was more for something to take up the hour set time of the dye than it was because I was interested in what I was reading.
There is a possibility that I’ll pick this one up in the future and see where it takes me. At a point in time when I don’t have about 200 books in my pile begging to be read. At the moment, though, this one just wasn’t for me. My bad for thinking it was something it wasn’t but the reality was it was a little slow to start. At around the 144 page mark I was still reading about Maddie’s training missions and Verity was barely a blip in her own story. But now that I know this, should I do come back to it I’ll know what I’m getting into and be better prepared for the lead-up. Hopefully.