Maddy , French International School Hong Kong
Salt to the Sea
I am always a bit skeptical of war books; it is not my favourite genre. I decided, however, that since this book was nominated for an award, that I'd give it a go. I thought it might surprise me. It didn't. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read, but it is not good by any stretch of the imagination. The characters were a bit bland, the storyline felt slightly underdeveloped, and it didn't really make me feel anything. It felt as if it were reaching for something amazing, but fell a bit short.
Alfred's character, in my opinion, was too much of a caricature. It's not that I hated his character (which I did) but I didn't like the way he was written. He was too unobservant or too obnoxious to seem real, and it seemed like the wrong route to go down if the author wanted to portray him as a brainwashed nazi soldier. Florian, all in all, was a bit boring. He felt like the "private, mysterious, bad-boy" stock character, if that character were in the war. Joana's character felt underdeveloped and at some points I couldn't figure out if it was her chapter or Emilia's. Her "murderer/repressed guilt" emotion/characteristic/thing could've been expanded; maybe this could have affected her actions on the ship/when they were travelling more. I did like Emilia's character, she was charismatic and I liked the choice of her death at the end, I thought that this packed the most "emotional punch" of the book. She was, at some times, a bit of a nuisance. And as I stated before, I did confuse her and Joana sometimes.
I thought the idea of this story was good. I like that it is bringing attention to a forgotten tragedy and I like the idea of examining the past. I think it works very well in theory. In practise, however, I don't think it works. To be honest, I think I was just expecting more from the story. I expected the emotions to be turned up to 200. I wanted to be excited to flip every page, I wanted to cry at the death and desolation that befell the characters, I wanted to be relieved when some characters survived. Instead, I was just kind of bored. I didn't feel much when I read this book, I felt as if I were removed from the scene, and it was done in claymation. It didn't feel real.
This book isn't awful. But it didn't leave me feeling, well, anything at all. After reading this, I put this book down and continued with my day. It was just there, just another book I'd read. It didn't affect my life in any way, and I wouldn't (or couldn't) re-read this or recommend it to win this award
Posted on: 17th April 2017 at 02:57 pm
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