Monday, January 18, 2016

ARC Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Hi all, long time no see! I hope you all had a happy holiday season! I had a great winter break. I was able to go home for two weeks for Christmas and New Years and then came back only to find out that I was getting expanded hours and responsibilities at work (YAY!)! I was able to finish off my 2015 goodreads reading challenge, coming out with a total of 155 books read. With the new University semester (my last) starting tomorrow, I knew that my reading was going to slow down considerably. I also knew that there were a couple of books that I needed to read before the beginning of the semester. One of those books was Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

The wonderful Emma from Miss Print was kind enough to send me an advanced reader copy to review. As of right now, this book has a release date of February 2, 2016, and it should definitely be on your TBR list! Recently I have read several books that had misleading summaries on goodreads, so I was very happy to find that this books summary was very accurate.


According to goodreads: The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are  Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.


WWII is one of my favorite time periods to learn about but I don't usually like reading historical fiction set during this time period for several reasons. First, books set in this time period are often extremely graphic and negative. I know that the war years were horrible and things happened that would turn most anyone's stomach and that it is important to know about the atrocities that were perpetrated so that they never happen again, but they lack any type of hope or humanity and that makes them difficult to read. Second, if the books aren't graphic and negative then they are overly cheerful and gloss over everything negative. As much as I don't like reading books that are overly graphic, I dislike the WWII books that make everything seem like a walk-in-the-park even more. WWII was a war, horrendous things happened, and to ignore those things is wrong. Salt to the Sea did not have either of these problems. It addressed the terror and hardship of WWII in a tasteful, purposeful way.

It jumped around between several characters in short chapters which made the book seem much shorter than it actually was. I liked that we got to see several perspectives of the events because it showed that there are multiple sides to every story. However, I did not enjoy reading Alfred's chapters because I felt that they didn't really add much to the story (other than the fact that he was the only pro-Nazi character).

My only real complaint about the book was the ending. The whole story was very detailed and progressed slowly right up until the last chapter. At the very end, the author skipped forward 24 years and introduced a new character. It almost seemed to me that someone told the author that the book was too long, so she skipped the rest of what she was going to write and tried to wrap it up in two pages. I would have much rather read several more chapters, or even another book, to get the same level of detail for the rest of what happened.

Overall, I really liked this book, and I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. It had its good points and its bad points, but I am glad I read it. I would definitely recommend reading it!

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