Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Book Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Read: February 9-10   Verdict: 5 Stars

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

I feel like my heart has been wrung out like a dishcloth. I'm emotionally drained after reading this book. It's very very good.

Salt to the Sea follows Joana, Florian, Emilia as they travel through a war-torn Prussia to seek as safe voyage to somewhere better than where they ended up. Alfred is a German soldier on the Wilhelm Gustloff and eventually meets up with the other three characters and they all end up in the centre of a disaster that killed more people than the Titanic.

This book was really fast-paced and I flew right through it. I found it very hard to put down and I think it's because I connected with so many of the characters. I say so many when I actually mean all of them except Alfred because he was a creep. I really felt like every moment from each character revealed a little more about themselves. They all had their secrets and were very much a mystery at the start of the book but slowly they start to reveal themselves to each other and love each other. I think I spent most of the book in absolute awe of Emilia. She was an exquisite character. So innocent after everything she had been through but so strong, and good and kind. I think she's a character that will stick with me for a long time.

I had never heard of the disaster before and I can't believe I haven't considering 9,000 people lost their lives in it. It's hard not to compare scenes of the ship sinking to the scenes from the movie Titanic, the panic, the women and children drowning, the fear of lifeboats overcrowding. I felt a sense of unease about how so much of this book could be compared to what's going on in the world today with the refugee crisis - people leaving their home in a war-torn country with all their belongings on their back and very little hope of surviving, the danger of drowning, of their children drowning. I think the book came out at a pretty perfect time.

The ending was a little bit abrupt. I would have liked it to have been laid out as more of an epilogue style and it wasn't, at least for me on my Kindle. I almost didn't realise I was reading an epilogue of sorts and had to go back and start the chapter again.

This book is so beautiful with characters so deep and raw, you will not be able to put their story down. It's a book that needs to be read so finally, their story can finally be told.

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