Friday, April 8, 2016

Salt to the Sea

Title: Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Series: Standalone
Number of Pages: 383
Date Read: 4/6/16 
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical, World War II 

Synopsis (Found on

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

My Review:

Soooo....This book was ok. I liked it well enough but I was expecting an epic life alerting book with all the hype this book was getting. So I'm disappointed to say that the book was just ok for me. I went in expecting a lot but I found it so....boring. And yes, I know I'm in the minority on this one.

This book is basically about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff ship during World War 2. The boat contained over 10,000 people and over 9,000 lost their lives. It's known as the greatest maritime tragedy in the maritime history. 

In this book we follow 4 protagonists and the story is told in alternating chapters. All the characters find each other while they are making their way to the ships. The country of Poland is being evacuated and all the civilians and soldiers are heading to the boats to get safe passage to Germany. Russia has invaded Poland and is committing atrocities and massacres everywhere they go. 

The first character I'll talk about is Joana. She is a Lithuanian nurse that is was working in a hospital in Poland. We find her with a band of people that she takes care of. Joana is a very caring and loving person. She enjoys helping people and is always more concerned with the safety and health of others rather than herself. Throughout the book when disaster strikes she is always volunteering to help the injured and sick. She always checks on the welfare of her group before she rests. I really liked her a lot and she is genuinely a good person. She really does care for people. She is hiding a secret that is tearing her apart and she misses her family very much. She is my favorite character.

Next is the Prussian, Florian Beck. He has a secret mission of his own that he is carrying out. He seems to be a soldier. In the beginning of the book he was wounded and after awhile he finds Joana's group, where Joana tends to his wound. Florian is very secretive and is very protective of his pack. He also becomes very protective of another character Emilia and Joana. At first he wants nothing to do with anyone and prefers to travel alone but as time passes he becomes attached to the girls and the others in the group. He begins to open up a little more especially to Joana. I really liked him.

The next character is Emilia who is Polish. She also has a secret that is revealed later on in the book. Once she meets Florian she dubs him her "knight" and becomes very attached to him, though not romantically. While she likes everyone else, she trusts Florian completely and if he were to leave the group, she'd go with him. She was always looking for him even when disaster struck. He was very important to her. Emilia is very young in the book, maybe around 15 or so. She has had a hard life and bad things have happened to her. She can be moody at times and she doesn't like to talk much, except to Florian and later on Joana. She is also extremely loyal to people she trusts and cares about and for the most part, that person is Florian in the book. She would do anything for him and defend him to the end. 

The last character is the German Naval Officer, Alfred Frick. I hated him. He was bat shit crazy. He wrote letters to this girl in his head and made himself out to be the best hero and sailor there ever was where in reality he was in the lowest rank of officers. He tries too hard to be someone of importance and its so obvious that its embarrassing. He is also completely crazy. He aligns his beliefs with Hitler's and thinks that Hitler is the only one who understands him and his thoughts. He never even met Hitler. He of course hates Jews and polish people. He kick dogs, which as an animal love, pissed me the hell off and I wanted him dead just for that. He speaks condescendingly to other people especially the refugees and peasants trying to get on the ships, where in reality he's just a little piece of s**t. He thought he was so important but he was nothing. I really didn't like him. His attitude sucks. 

The setting and description of the characters' surroundings were good and detailed. I enjoyed meeting all of the characters and seeing their quirks. I just found a lot of it boring. It took them forever to get to the ships and then the actual main event if the book took a few chapters. There were some tragedies that took place along the way to the ships but it was few and far between. 

I did enjoy learning about Florian, Joana and Emilia's history, their backgrounds, what happened to them before they met and what happened to their families. I also enjoyed the romance that was brewing in the book between two characters. The romance was no where near the center stage of the book but I did enjoy the small presence that was in there. I found myself rooting for the couple and totally shipped them (no pun intended, lol). 
So all in all this book was good. I was just expecting so much more. However I still want to read Between Shades of Gray by this author. Oh and yes I did catch the link that attach this book to Between Shades of Gray and that was only because I read the synopsis of Between Shades of Gray many times. I am looking forward to reading Between Shades of Gray and I'll let you guys know my thoughts on it. Oh and I do recommend this book to be read because it is a good historical fiction.  


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