Monday, March 21, 2016

Salt to the Sea

War torn Germany. Four young people. Four dark secrets.

They come from different lands but each of them is hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies...and war.

As thousands of refugees flock to the coast, desperate to escape the advancing Red Army, the paths of four young people converge. All are hoping to board the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. 

Yet not all promises can be kept. - excerpt from book

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys is my first time reading a historical fiction. Set in the time of 1945 during world war II this book was pretty interesting for me and that's because I didn't learn about this event in my history class. Of course I roughly knew what happened but I could not talk about it as I'm not sure about a whole lot of things during that war. So when I started reading the book there were some things that I wasn't sure of like how Europe was like, which countries were involved in the war. Things like Red Army, the ships, the Amber Room and treasures were new to me and when I came across it I had to Google it and read from Wikipedia. I didn't want to feel like I was studying for a history test so I decided to just read the book till the end and then find out things I don't know.

The book started off slow, letting the readers grasp the situation of the characters. There are 4 point of views in this book which are the 4 main characters themselves. So every time a POV changes the chapter header are their names. The whole story progresses with their perspectives and the events that are happening to them. The plot is mysterious because all 4 of them have secrets that slowly unveil through the book. I like the flow of the plot because there seems to be a lot happening but it's not messy, the story flows very well. The plot twists of the book was amazing it caught me by surprise and my heart felt sad for them many instances. Every time a twists happens, my love for the book increases.

What makes this a good book is the characters, the voice they have, their reactions to situations. I love their individual stories, their past and their hardships. The growth and change that they have to go through are so surreal and I felt for them a ton. The characters really speak to your heart and you'll feel for them. I love their personalities so so much and every time there's interaction between them I am on my toes. Of course I'm partial to two characters, Florian and Joana. They have characteristics that I love and their interactions with each other was just so attention grabbing for me.

At the end of the day, what you learn from the book is the important thing. The intentions of the author is explained at the author's note and I really appreciated the effort she went through to write this book. There was a lot of research done to write this book and I feel that I am lucky to have come across this book. I get to learn a bit about history and also learn about the struggles of victims of war. It has truly gave me a new perspective about life. This was a beautiful book and halfway through it was hard to put down. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction, readers who enjoy a setting in world war II. If you have never touch this genre before I recommend it because it will open up your eyes and surprise you. I am now interested in other historical fictions because of this book. Below are some beautiful quotes from the book:

The Wilhelm Gustloff was pregnant with lost souls conceived of war. They would crowd into her belly and she would give birth to their freedom. - page 218 line 1.

'Death hath a thousand doors to let out life'; I shall find one. We all have a door that waits. I know that. I accept it. - page 237, line 6

Obstacles do not exist to be surrendered to, but only to be broken. - page 279, line 27

What determines how we remember history and which elements are preserved and penetrate the collective consciousness? If historical novels stir your interest, pursue the facts, history, memoirs, and personal testimonies available. These are the shoulders that historical fictions sits upon. When the survivors are gone we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please give them a voice. - part of author's note.

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