Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: Salt To The Sea

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: February 2nd, 2016
Source: Bought
Date Read: 2/11/15
400 pages

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

I'm going to be very honest here, I have yet to read Between Shades of Gray, yet I still was highly, highly anticipating Salt to the Sea. And I am so happy to say that yes, this is a fantastic WWII novel.

Salt to the Sea features four very unique characters, Joana, Emilia, Florian, and Alfred. They are all facing their own situation, but come together at some point in the novel, whether it's from trekking through the snow together, or meeting up on the ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff. 

I'm not even sure how to begin my review. The way the author masterfully revealed each of the characters' backgrounds brought the story together. Even with Emilia having little dialogue due to the language barrier, I was completely drawn into her story. Joana herself was also incredibly tough, but motherly. As a nurse, she helped anyone and everyone. Florian is the loner, and he rather protect himself than get anyone involved with his "secret mission". Unfortunately for him, Emilia clings on to him at all times.

On the other hand, Alfred....his POV just went completely over my head. He is Team Nazi, yet there is something wrong with him in that he is completely out of it. His chapters are just mental letters about what he is doing (which is all a fantasy?) to a childhood friend (?). I personally did not like him at all, and he doesn't meet up with the other three characters until much later.

And this isn't all about the character development either, actually this is based off a real event that happened. Look, here is a real life photo, or picture, of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff.

It transported evacuees from Gotenhafen, including Joana, Emilia, and Florian! And Alfred too. He starts off on this ship after all. But yeah, this ship carried thousands of evacuees and military, much more than its capacity. It was just all so fascinating to read about, especially with the author's writing style. Salt to the Sea was a such an easy and fast read, I never got stuck or confused anywhere.

In conclusion, WHEN you read this, you'll learn a ton about this major event that happened during the actual war, you'll meet wonderful characters, you'll also have your heart broken by the end of it, but you'll also encounter hope.
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