Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Book of Uriel by Elyse Hoffman, and I am excited to be sharing my review with you all.
In the fires of World War II, a child must save his people from darkness…
Ten-year-old Uriel has always been an outcast. Born mute in a Jewish village known for its choir, he escapes into old stories of his people, stories of angels and monsters. But when the fires of the Holocaust consume his village, he learns that the stories he writes in his golden notebook are terrifyingly real.
In the aftermath of the attack, Uriel is taken in by Uwe, a kind-hearted linguist forced to work for the commander of the local Nazi Police, the affably brutal Major Brandt. Uwe wants to keep Uriel safe, but Uriel can’t stay hidden. The angels of his tales have come to him with a dire message: Michael, guardian angel of the Jewish people, is missing. Without their angel, the Jewish people are doomed, and Michael’s angelic brethren cannot search for him in the lands corrupted by Nazi evil.
With the lives of millions at stake, Uriel must find Michael and free him from the clutches of the Angel of Death…even if that means putting Uwe in mortal danger.
The Book of Uriel is a heartbreaking blend of historical fiction and Jewish folklore that will enthrall fans of The Book Thief and The World That We Knew.
I’ve always been a big fan of historical fiction, particular those that based around either WWI or WWII, so when Dave announced this tour, of course I jumped at the chance, and I am so glad I did!
The beginning of The Book of Uriel is hard hitting, and emotional, and certainly not how I was expecting this story to start. I immediately felt awful for Uriel, he was experiencing something that nobody should ever have to, especially a child. The thing that hits me the hardest about stories like these is the knowledge that at that time in history, children really were being torn away from their families, seeing them killed in the streets, or being taken off to camps. It’s a horror and pain that we can never truly understand.
After the first few pages (which make up the first chapter), we jump to the beginning of Uwe’s story, and are also introduced to the Major. It is immediately clear that despite Uwe working for the Major, he has very different views, and they are very different people. But when Uwe and Uriel’s paths start to cross, that’s when Uwe’s emotional, compassionate nature comes to the forefront of this story.
There are some fantastic characters in this story, but of course Uwe and Uriel are the shining stars. They are the proof that even in the darkest times, there is light. Uwe was so selfless, willing to put himself in unimaginable danger to help those who needed it. He was a true hero. Uriel is brave, and strong, and he never backs down from any challenge. In his circumstances, even an adult would struggle, but Uriel didn’t let that stop him, or phase him, he put everything in to completing the task at hand. He will do everything in his power to make things right.
In regards to the religious element, I myself am not religious at all, but I still felt that it added such an interesting and rather wonderful aspect to the book, and I really enjoyed it. It was brilliantly written. Elyse Hoffman has done a fantastic job of showing the horrors that the Nazis inflicted, but the way she intertwined such a wholesome story in to those horrors shows a huge talent. Honestly, she deserves a round of applause.
The way that The Book of Uriel concludes was nothing short of perfect. It was wrapped up so nicely, and even brought a tear to my eye. This book was nothing like I had expected, but in all the right ways, it is completely unique, and like no war book I have ever read. I loved it, and I highly recommend it to everyone.
I give The Book of Uriel a 5 star rating.
About The Author:
Elyse Hoffman strives to tell historical tales with new twists: she loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: the five books of The Barracks of the Holocaust and The Book of Uriel.
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