Review: Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity cover

 Code Name Verity #1

SYNOPSIS: 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. – via Goodreads

GRADE 8So this is another book that Abbi recommended to me. Yep, she gave me a list, and so far they have all been well worth the read. I don’t even know how to set about reviewing this, because I really do not want to spoil it, so I will do my best. Think of it as “careless talk costs lives”. Code Name Verity starts off, pretty confusing in places and it will take you a few pages to finally get into the writing style and understanding the layout, but from there on out it is pretty smooth sailing. I know that a lot of people looked at this as a really heartbreaking novel, but I suppose I don’t belong to the Stone Cold Bitch Club for nothing. If anything, I found this book to be incredibly inspiring. I loved that we had strong female characters, truly something rare at the best of times. Maddie and Verity were absolutely wonderful and superbly real. They were strong, they were smart, they were adventurous, hardworking and ambitious and I loved that. So cool. Also, the style of storytelling was great, and definitely kept you on the edge of your seat. The uncertainty of war was palpable here, as well as the horrible aspects of it. Nothing was held back. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories that were told, the codes that were used, and all the events that led up to our main characters and their stories. There were also some really interesting supporting characters. The book flowed easily enough, and soon settles into a rhythm that completely draws you in. I enjoyed the fiction here, and how much was steeped in reality, that was something else, and Wein pulled it off brilliantly. It felt authentic, not like a work of fiction, and that is rare. I really liked how it came together, and I found it interesting, but then again I love stories on the war, the history there, all that, as well as the detail that went on in here (though many people have complained about it) – it gave more to that feeling of authenticity I was speaking about earlier. But then, I can enjoy nitty gritty, too. There is so much that I actually want to say but it will spoil on the plot and give things away, but do know that this book is well worth the read, even though it takes a while to kick in. When it does… well yeah, that is just fantastic. I see that there is another book in this series, so I will have to check it out, can’t wait!

Rapid Review: The Imitation Game (2014)

the imitation game poster

“Advise about keeping secrets: it’s a lot easier if you don’t know them in the first place.”
– Alan Turing

SYNOPSIS: Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain’s top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II. – via IMDB

the imitation game

GRADE 7Finally got around to seeing this, and I must admit that I did enjoy it. I was looking forward to it not only for Cumberbatch (though yes, big draw) but because I have covered Turing and some of his work for my studies, and I find it fascinating. So a movie on the man? To find out more? I was sold. The Imitation Game had a great cast working for it, and I enjoyed what they all brought to the screen. I did not want to throttle Keira Knightley, which was a really weird experience for me. Cumberbatch, obviously, stole the whole show here, and presented Alan Turing in a wonderful manner. He made you laugh, he made you feel sorry for him, and he never lost you along the way. His interactions with Charles Dance were simply too amusing for words. I was happy to see Allen Leech in here, too, and Matthew Goode was more entertaining than I can explain – his character Hugh Alexander definitely did not get along with Turing at all. Watching Turing’s whole team was a treat, from the exasperation, frustration, and finally admiration, the journey is quite a sweet one. Turing’s story is fascinating, and Morten Tyldum did a good job of conveying it to the audience without necessarily losing you along the way, but he certainly brought nothing fresh or new to the table, which was also quite disappointing from time to time. It is very formulaic at times, but that doesn’t necessarily cripple the movie. Sometimes there was also an issue of things happening in a totally nonsensical manner, but we were expected to buy into it because that was how they had to tell the story. I suppose there isn’t really time to flesh it all out perfectly, but occasionally discoveries and actions just felt forced. The Imitation Game obviously focused on WWII and the machine that decoded the Nazi Enigma code, as well as the code-breakers that worked incessantly and fruitlessly on it for so long, but did not necessarily explore more of Turing’s work. Also, do not go into this thinking you are going to get the average war movie, you will be sorely disappointed. This movie is about Turing, his work, and parts of his life. This didn’t thrill me as I was hoping it would, seeing how it has been pretty much universally loved. While not a perfect movie, it is engaging and well presented, and deserves a look, at least once, even if just to get more people familiar with Turing.

Rapid Review: Fury (2014)

fury poster 2

“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”
– Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier

SYNOPSIS: April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. – via IMDB

fury tank

GRADE 9Wow. Wow. I know that I was looking forward to this, I was very excited and all that, but wow. I love a good war movie, always have, always will I think. I love them like I love a good mob film, so either way, I knew that this should be good, I’ve been anticipating, and you all know I will watch anything with Brad Pitt in it. Fury didn’t fail to blow my mind, and I was reeled in and engrossed for every second of this film. What a goodie. There is so much that I want to say about it, but I am not quite sure if I can articulate it all. Let me see what I can do. Fury had everything going for it, I must admit. It has a great cast to carry the film, and let me tell you, not a single one of them disappoint. Brad Pitt embodies a soldier, a man who loves his men, but who has hardened due to the horrors witnessed. Jon Bernthal is reprehensible yet excels at it, Logan Lerman is definitely a young actor to keep your eyes on, Shia LaBeouf delivers another solid performance (he really isn’t a terrible actor people, even if he is weird), and Michael Peña also brought the goods to the table. The movie had some phenomenal sets, and not once did Fury hold back on depicting the horrors of war. Not once, and there were some really rough things that happened. It is a slow paced film, but never once gets boring. There are scenes that play out for a while, but instead of feeling like a filler or a waste of film, they drive home certain points that are being made. I enjoyed the character development of these men living together in a tank, though the most development certainly went to Pitt’s Collier and Lerman’s Norman – both characters who impressed me. The score worked so well with everything that was going on, and there were plenty times that I was at the edge of my seat and tensed up. The camera work was simply stunning, and things were so realistic at times it was frightening. I was horrified at the best of times at what I was seeing, and I thought Ayer was wonderful in the way he maintained all the emotion and injected it into all the scenes. I thought the pacing was good – like I said, slow and deliberate, and that was so great for me. Fury is such an intense film to go into, it was simply breathtaking, amazing, wonderful, gritty, dirty and nasty and truly heart-breaking. It conveyed all these emotions, and is definitely one of the best films of 2014 (struggling to find another 2014 to compete with it on the same level, actually). It is not like Fury will revolutionise the way we look at war movies or anything like that, but it was solid, consistent and knew what it wanted to do from the off. Also, one cannot neglect to mention the credits rolling at the end, they were done well you just sit there, watching, still turning over what you watched as well as seeing the work put into that. The music complements it, and the red and black and violence? Perfect summation of a great film. Obviously I cannot recommend this film enough. Go, go now. Go see it.