Mini Book Reviews: Code Name Verity, The Talented Mr. Ripley, & Devil in a Blue Dress

For those of you who keep up with my blog, you’ve probably noticed a lack of book reviews these past few weeks. Never fear; it’s not because I haven’t been reading. I just haven’t had much time to write. So, to make up for all that, I’m going to briefly go through each of the three novels I’ve gone through.

Code Name Verity

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Author: Elizabeth Wein

Genre: Historical fiction

Rating: 2.5 stars

This novel is set during World War II, and is written as a confession by a spy who got captured by the Nazis. From what I saw of the reviews and synopsis, the novel looked like it was worth a try. The start was a little slow, though. Perhaps if I’d been able to sit down and read it in one or two sittings, I might’ve really fallen in love with this book. Instead, a busy life and a not-quite-catchy-enough start made me set this book aside not even twenty pages in. I suppose if you’ve read the book, or you intend to, let me know if it’s worth another shot.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

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Author: Patricia Highsmith

Genre: Mystery (crime) novel

Rating: 2 stars

The Talented Mr. Ripley is about an American who makes friends in high places and does stupid things and then makes elaborate plans to get away with these things. I would say that I didn’t hate this book, but I certainly didn’t love it. It was hard to connect with Tom, who is either a psychopath or sociopath (I’ll leave it to a professional to make the distinction). The plot also felt disappointing because I have trouble believing that’s how it would’ve panned out in the real world. It was just a forgettable book for me.

Devil in a Blue Dress

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Author: Walter Mosley

Genre: Detective Fiction

Rating: 5 stars

This novel focuses on an African American, Easy Rawlins, right after WWII. This novel started off a tad slow, but I think that the slow increase in tension and suspense was done very well. I don’t know if I could properly explain the reasons behind all the deaths, because it was a bit complex, but it wasn’t your average mob-conspiracy type story. But beyond that, what was really stunning was the characters. This book is less about murder (even if that’s what the plot is) and more about what it means to be a black man in a white man’s world…. whether one should play it safe and just keep your head down, or whether you should actually stand up for yourself and fight to keep what’s yours. Overall, well done.

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