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Caitlin, Aylsham High School

Salt to the Sea

At first I hated this book, but after reading about two thirds, my opinions drastically changed. The plot is written from the eyes of four different characters: Joana – A young nurse who uses helping people to make her feel better about her tragic past, Florian – A secretive character set on revenge, Emilia – a teenager involuntarily impregnated with the child of a Russian soldier and Alfred – a naïve boy who would do anything to serve his country (and Hitler). I enjoyed reading each of these characters individual experiences and interpretations, although I do not think Alfred should have been given his own chapters to narrate. I found the chapters boring, irrelevant and had to stop myself from skipping to the next chapter. In my opinion, the only thing he brought to the story was an example of how annoyingly brainwashed the people who listened to Hitler were. The plot did not interest me at all until about half way through. After that point, I grew an attachment to the characters and found myself lost in their endeavours. I grieved the lost characters and found myself eagerly trying to guess the plot and read as much as I could. The book is set in 1945, towards the end of the war. The setting really provides the image of what kind of nightmare the war must have been. The genre isn’t very clear, but I would say historical fiction. Although the characters and their journeys are fiction, it has references to many historical events, like the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff and The Amber Room. This book is very well written, the characters emotions are expressed with great detail in few words and the settings and events are described effectively. I would say that anyone over about 11 could enjoy this book. The plot must be tackled with maturity and a great understanding of the historical background of the Second World War. Overall, I enjoyed this book. However, I did not find myself actually wanting to read the book to start off with. I think would recommend this book, but only to someone with perseverance, an interest in the time its set in and with a mature mind set.

Posted on: 5th June 2017 at 10:26 am

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