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Eva, Exeter School

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea was the book I thought would win (and it did!). The plot was engaging, the characters were well developed and the setting was vivid and brutal.
From the beginning you as a reader were really given a chance to care about the four main protagonists. The entire first act seemed dedicated to developing the characters so you had a deep understanding of them before the more intense, plot based scenes towards the end. It even made you attached to the seemingly more unlikable characters like the young German man (who rigorously followed Nazi regimes).
Another very prominent aspect of this book was the how harsh and realistically the author portrayed the war and the evacuation these characters had to endure. It was particularly interesting how this was a topic of World War Two unexplored by many other pieces of fiction and buried by German propaganda during the time.
The one thing that I thought let this book down was the ending. Compared to the rest of book, it felt a little unrealistic that (SPOILERS) most of the characters survive and to be honest it felt a little hard done by after not getting the traumatic, Titanic-esque ending I felt entitled to after such a read. It also ended on a letter which seemed particularly out of place in the story.
Despite this however, I thought this was a great book that I would definitely recommend to anyone and I thought it was worthy of the Carnegie prize this year.

Posted on: 3rd July 2017 at 09:04 pm

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