A wonderful book that ran a little long for my taste... Weren't you wondering why I hadn't written a book review in a while, well it's because I was too busy reading this 574-page behemoth. Seriously though, this book was large and long-winded, BUT full of rich characters and was a break from the typical Sci-fi vein that I normally read from.
The book revolves around three main characters. Set at the turn of WWII. The story spans for almost 5 years (80 years if you count the final "wrapping-up" stories at the end of the book), so in essence the book walks you through the span of the war up until the ceasefire.
A large part of the book is set in three different places where each of the characters live and work. But as the story evolves it is primarily based in St. Malo, France. When I was a child I visited this city with my parents but did not know the historical significance of the town until I read this book and did some research afterwards. I should back up though; the total idea behind the book is kind of a "grander-picture" kind of theme, where if you step back and look at each characters' story, you would see the grander picture of it and how all their stories were intertwined the whole time.
The main character, out of the three is a French blind girl who loses her father early on in the book and is forced to fit into a world that little cares for her, let alone the safety of it's un-disabled residents. The second character is a gifted radio operator orphan boy that is recruited by the Nazi's and helps fine-tune the technique to triangulate enemy radio frequencies. That way, a Nazi can intercept a surrounding enemy's frequency and destroy the it. The third character is a Nazi relic and antiquities cataloger who is looking for a very rare jewel that, legend has it, will afford someone with everlasting life. Three compelling stories right? Well in the "grander-picture" they are all somehow connected... but you'll have to read more to find out.
The book is very compelling and very thought-provoking all at the same time. I would recommend All the Light We Cannot See to any of my friends.
My one MAJOR critique about this book was that there were too many chapters. This made the book seem longer and it made it harder for me to dial into the plot line. The author does this because the story itself must span over a 5-year period of time, but also because the author wanted to explain all events that were happening in chronological order as the story unfolds. A very important component of the story. So, I know the reason why it was the done the way it was done, but I wish it wasn't done that way. Other books have accomplished the same task by not slicing and dicing up their book to do so.