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Renata, John Mason School - Abingdon

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea is a fictional book that takes place in war-torn Germany- 1945. It follows the journey of four people escaping the Nazis, and it tells the story of the non-fictional tragedy of the Wilhelm Gustloff.
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were clearly thought out and had distinctive characteristics and personalities. The descriptions were really good as they were inferred and often explained by other characters.
I didn’t really like the way that each chapter was in the point of view of different characters, as it got confusing. I also thought that Alfred’s chapters, in which he ‘sends’ letters to Hannelore, were a bit too long and they began to get boring and the part where Hannelore was getting taken away did not make much sense as I am not sure what happened and whether she even actually existed or whether Alfred was simply mad. Not much was revealed about Alfred; his dying moments and death confused me. However, I thought that the story being told in first person was very effective.
The story is written very accurately and I got a really good idea of the emotions the characters were feeling and the incidents that happened. I thought it was a really effective way of showing what the Nazis thought and did; the book seemed very historically accurate. I thought the idea of the chapters starting the same way was very creative as you have a connection between all the characters. I also think that the flashbacks where a very effective addition to the storyline, as the information was revealed slowly and in a way that it made the story all knit together and it left you on a cliffhanger. The way the characters met was also very interesting and I thought that it worked well with the story as it shows how so many different nationalities were joined for the escape.
The story’s ending was confusing as I wasn’t sure who Clara Christensen was. However, I now understand that it was meant to be someone who found Emilia’s body. I also found that the ending was quite sad and emotional, but I understand that that is the tragedy of war.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It presents many questions and is about a very sensitive and controversial subject. It really makes you think and the future of many of the characters is left to your imagination, which I think works well as that is the case for many war victims as it was a gripping story with a twisting storyline and many cliffhangers.
I give it 8.5 out of 10 stars.

Posted on: 20th March 2017 at 05:38 pm

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