Monday, January 05, 2015

2015 book 4

Elizabeth Wein's Black Dove, White Raven
I'm trying to work up a line about Elizabeth Wein's love of writing books about airplanes mixed with the old "boy, are my arms tired" joke, but just can't manage it. Feel free to submit your efforts in the comments below.

ANYWAY. Wein, author of one of my very very favorite books (Code Name Verity), has again written a book about a pair of lady pilot friends, though this one is very different. For one thing, the pilots are both American women, stunt fliers in the 1920s/1930s. For another, one is white, and one is black, and they are basically raising their children together as an adorable high-flying family unit--at least until Delia, the black woman, is killed in an accident. Her friend decides to fulfill Delia's dream of moving them all to Ethiopia (Delia's son Teo's father was Ethiopian) just as Haile Selassie is about to be coronated. Too bad Italy is also about to invade.

The first half moved a little bit slowly--it's all very INTERESTING, but it feels like educational YA fiction--and then, bam, a fact is revealed that will just BREAK YOUR HEART. The whole thing is framed as a letter to Selassie, begging him to help the children leave the country and go back to the US, interspersed with their flight logs/journals, school essays, and excerpts of the stories they wrote together as smaller children (the latter did not work for me, but the rest is fairly charming). And the descriptions of the war are very well done--Mussolini was even more of a jerk than I knew! Just a completely evil guy. Serious war crime alert. BUT there's also a bunch of stuff about the Ark of the Covenant that is pretttttty awesome and relevant to my interests. I really liked this AND learned a lot. I mean, it didn't get to Code Name Verity levels for me, but very few books ever do. B+.

A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in March.

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