Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley

All I have to do is drop into a foreign country, aid and train members of the ever-growing Resistance movement, sabotage railways, travel the country on a bicycle while concealing top-secret information, blow things up, and try not to get killed.

Violins of Autumn
That sounds pretty exciting, right? Sounds like a story I should love. Truth is, despite dedicating three days to it, I couldn't make it past the 50% mark. But I paid for it, so I'm going to post my two cents.
The 411: You got a 17-year-old American female who has lied about her age, joined the British SOE, and has jumped into occupied France to save the people.

It's been done before and it's been done better. Check out Becoming Clementine by Jennifer Niven. Or for a better story of a heroine helping the French Resistance: Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson.

My quibbles: I was expecting her to train members of the resistance, maybe blow up train tracks...gee, I wonder why I got that impression?...but in the first half of the story she does nothing but ride around on a bike and seem lost and do things that are just too stupid for words. I'll get to that. If there's any intense action, it comes very late in the tale.

She is 17, claims she's 22, and acts 11. That could be because this book is marketed toward the younger crowd, but still....she's supposed to be an agent/spy.

There's supposed to be some love triangle and as soon as I got a "whiff" of one of the participants (Pierre) I was rolling my eyes and dreading it. What did she see in him? He's rude, doesn't even like her, isn't remotely kind. 

There's a war on but the characters are like children playing war games. Everything is really too preposterous. In Nazi-occupied France, an American airman is NOT going to merely sit on a parachute and pretend to be picnicking, nor is he going to be able to walk the streets of Paris without anyone asking for his papers, not when every single able-bodied man in France has been sent to Germany to work in factories. His haircut and height alone will be a dead giveaway. Be real. 

And what kind of idiots sing American songs for all to hear?

And to just peddle up to a Nazi factory and began taking pictures? Is this girl for real? And get offered a tour to boot? No, no, no. The author made things way too easy for this so-called agent. Easy to the point, the story lost its seriousness.

I bought this on Amazon. It simply wasn't for me.

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