“All the Light We Cannot See” is the type of book that you can’t put down, trying to devour it in one sitting, and yet at the same time when you’re done you wish you could still be reading. The book is written with such painstaking detail that I am certain you cannot appreciate it all the first time you read it. It is a book that demands re-reading to attempt to understand just a little bit more of what the writer was showing you.
The book focuses on two very different characters, who occupy not only different places but times as well. Marie-Laure is a girl who has recently gone blind, living with her father in France. Werner is a young german boy who is living in Nazi Germany. Both characters are drawn beautifully but I felt that the character of Marie-Laure was much more complex and interesting than Werner. I believe this is because, to me, the character of Werner is too similar to other characters in books about Nazi Germany, and his transition as a character (which I won’t share, spoilers!) is not as believable or natural as Marie-Laure’s.
However, I absolutely loved the plot of this novel, and how the author wove the two storyline’s together. As you can read in the description and most anyone will tell you this is a historical novel about World War II. However, not in the description is the thought-to-be magical diamond called the Sea of Flames, whose ownership much of the book revolves around. Marie-Laure’s father is entrusted to help protect the stone when the Germans invaded France. The question of where the stone is hidden after her father is arrested turns the story into a mystery novel of sorts. Who has the gem? Where is it? The result is that you have a heavy dose of fantasy woven into a historical fiction novel.
I absolutely loved the novel, and I am far from alone. It was a national book award finalist, was Amazon’s best Book of the Month, and an ALA Alex award recipient. It was also a New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller. I think that this book is a great recommendation for anyone looking for a great new book. I hope that some of you will check it out.