The Book of Uriel by Elyse Hoffman – The Write Reads Blog Tour – Book Review
About the Book
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.
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.
What I Thought
This historical fantasy is set in Poland. It opens with pretty distressing scenes and moves on to meld the trauma of the Holocaust with Jewish folklore and fantasy and explores questions of humanity and righteousness.
The main characters Uriel and Uwe and Major Brandt are all fully realised, the two adults being suitably conflicted. The prose is beautiful and the plot is intriguing.
A couple of slight issues that may be because I read an Advanced and unedited copy. The chapters were really long and there was some head hopping in some of the scenes, switching back and forth between character POV.
But to me this was reminiscent of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, the Diary of Anne Frank, Pan’s Labyrinth and another film I can’t mention because it would be a spoiler. The blend of stark reality and fantasy adventure works well. Given the subject matter this is a fairly heavy read at times but the focus on the stories and mythology in The Book of Uriel adds a different layer of complexity.
Thanks to Dave at The Write Reads and the author for a gifted eARC for the purposes of an honest review. Do follow the rest of the tour using #TheBookOfUriel on Twitter/Instagram.