BOOK REVIEW: All The Light We Cannot See – by Anthony Doerr

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Title: All The Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: May 6th 2014
Finished reading: February 24th 2016
Pages: 530
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“When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”

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I have been wanting to read All The Light We Cannot See ever since it was first published, but somehow I kept posponing it. Maybe it was because of the fact that it won a Pulitzer and I was intimidated, maybe because I’ve seen so many loving this book and I was afraid it didn’t live up to expectations, but now that I’ve read it I wish I would have picked up this novel by Anthony Doerr sooner. I love historical fiction and I have a special interesting in stories set during WWII; it goes without saying that All The Light We Cannot See instantly made it to my list of all time favorite WWII reads. Words cannot describe how beautiful this book is. The prose is simply gorgeous and both the plot and characters are well developed, turning this story into something both unique and breathtaking. The story follows the two main characters, Marie-Laure and Werner, as they are growing up under the shadow of the (upcoming) war, and I really loved seeing those completely different storylines slowly intertwine. It’s a beautiful, breathtaking, sad and original story that will leave you speechless even before you reach the last page. If you like the genre, make sure you read All The Light We Cannot See.

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When Marie-Laure is six, she slowly goes blind and has to rediscover the small things in life. Her father works in the Museum of Natural History in Paris and helps his daughter by creating a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can learn to navigate her way home. Marie-Laure is by no means a helpless little girl and she learns quickly to adapt to her new situation. When she is twelve, she has to put those new skills into practice when the Nazis occupy Paris and they have to flee the city… They try to make it to Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s great-uncle lives. What she doesn’t know is that her father might be carrying the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel with him…

In a small mining town in German, Werner and his younger sister grow up in an orphanage. Werner has been curious ever since he was little and his intelligence starts to show when he is constantly trying to build and fix instruments. His talent wins him a place at an academy for Hitler Youth, where he continues to shine due to his intelligence. But Werner is not so sure he can live with the consequences of his actions…Especially after he is given a special assignment to track the resistance and has to travel through the heart of the war. What will happen to both Marie-Laure and Werner?

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If you normally enjoy reading historical fiction, I’m sure All The Light We Cannot See will be able to take your breath away. Not only is this story exceptionally well written with beautiful prose, but it also has a very intriguing plot and well developed characters. It’s a sad, beautiful and unique story that shows how a war can affect both children and adults alike and that hope can always be found if you look for it hard enough. I feel like my words are failing to describe just how brilliant this book is… But if you think this book sounds interesting, I suggest to just read All The Light We Cannot See. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

WWW Wednesdays #80 – March 2nd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and so far I’m really enjoying it. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is that my reading slump is making it hard to concentrate for a long time and I have been reading ‘easy’ reads instead… So that’s why I decided to start reading Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell as well. It’s a short read so I will probably finish it today.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I always enjoy a good historical fiction WWII story and this one has to be one of my all time favorites. Such a beautifully written story!
* I then read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which ended up being a very interesting read with a lot of funny moments. Warning: make sure to read it when nobody is around because you will probably laugh out loud!
* I also finally picked up my first Spanish read in ages: Bestiario by Julio Cortázar. I really liked the combination of ordinary things with magical realism elements… But I have to be honest and say that some stories were a lot better than others.
* The last book I finished is The Secrets Of Lake Road by Karen Katchur, a book I picked up on a whim and turned out to be a really quick read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen depending of which genre I’m in the mood for… Although I will probably start my Red Queen series marathon by reading the first of two novellas Queen Song. In case I don’t want fantasy, I have Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover lined up as well; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #79 – February 24th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I still haven’t finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr… Don’t get me wrong, I love this book so far both because of the prose, setting and characters, but somehow I haven’t been in the mood to read it. I’m fearing a starting reading slump, so I am trying to read quick, ‘easy’ or different reads instead. I’ve just picked up Bestiario by Julio Cortázar as well to start working on my promise to read more Spanish books; I’ve read a lot of his short stories during Uni and it’s nice to revisit them.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Every Day by David Levithan. I had my reservations and wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be an excellent read.
* I then read Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn mostly because I needed something short and entertaining to get me to read again. Like the title says, this book is without doubt strange, mysterious and very intriguing! Recommendable.
* I also finished Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas, a book I picked up on a whim after remembering how much I loved Dangerous Girls last year. I still prefer that one, although Dangerous Boys is almost as good. Abigail Haas knows how to play with the reader’s mind!
* The last book I finished is Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas, a Veronica Mars sequel that didn’t really live up to expectations. I loved the first book, but the sequel read a bit slow and failed to keep my attention. There was too much focus on the relationship between Veronica and Logan and politics and the actual case they were working on was pushed to the background…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really want to pick up The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton soon; both because I have been looking forward to it for quite some time now and I need it for a challenge as well. I might read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson first though if I’m in the mood for a light read…. And I also finally want to stick to my promise and start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, but that depends on how I feel after finishing my current reads. The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my newest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #78 – February 17th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I started All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr a few days ago and so far I’m in love with the prose. It’s so beautifully written! It’s been a while since I last read a WWII themed story as well, so I’m really enjoying this novel. I’ve also started Every Day by David Levithan, although it’s still too early to tell if I like it or not.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider, my last TBR jar pick. I literally flew through the pages and I really loved the story and its characters.
* I then read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, which turned out to be a lot better than both Gone Girl and Dark Places. Sick, twisted, disturbing, but very well done.
* The last book I finished since last week is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and it sure took me a long time to do just that. I know everybody seems to love this read, but unfortunately I wasn’t blown away by it. I didn’t hate it either, but I just expected more of it… More about my problems in the full review.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really want to pick up The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton soon; both because I have been looking forward to it for quite some time now and I need it for a challenge as well. I might read Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas first though since I’m in the mood for a mystery read and I loved the first book. I also finally want to stick to my promise and start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon as soon as I finish All The Light We Cannot See… And The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is my new TBR jar pick.

Teaser Tuesdays #81 – February 16th: All The Light We Cannot See

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at A Daily Rhythm. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’ve finally started reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, although I haven’t been having much time to properly enjoy it (and I wanted to finish some other reads first). What I can say for now is that I love the prose and descriptions so far, and I’m really looking forward to read another WWII story. It should be a great read, especially since it won the Pulitzer Prize…

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My teaser (3%):

“Deliberately, almost lazily, the bombers shed altitude. Threads of red light ascend from anti-air emplacements up and down the coast. Dark, ruined ships appear, scuttled or destroyed, one with its bow shorn away, a second flickering as it burns.”

What are you reading right now?

WWW Wednesdays #77 – February 10th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m still not that far into Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, but I plan to change that today. Hopefully I will like it as much as everyone that has recommended this novel to me! I’m also still decided whether to DNF Eve by Iris Johansen or not. I have put it on hold for now, but the combination of a misleading blurb (it was supposed to be the first in a trilogy, but ended up being book number twelve in a series, so a lot of background is missing) and sexual attraction/romance scenes that make me cringe really make me not want to continue reading it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, a book I ended up enjoying despite my initial reservations about the love triangle. I loved the worldbuilding, plot and action and will be picking up the sequel soon.
* I then picked up Never Never Part Three by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher to finally find out how the story ends, and I ended up being VERY disappointed with how they decided to conclude the story.
* I was actually going to DNF the last read, Death Of Secrets by Bowen Greenwood and in a way I wish I did, because it really was a bad read. Lousy characters, chaotic plot and I didn’t like the prose either… I just couldn’t concentrate on the story even though the general idea of the story does have potential.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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As soon as I finish Me Before You, I will pick up All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I was actually planning on picking it up during the weekend but I didn’t have a lot of time to read… I also want to make a start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon so I can finally begin with this series I have been wanting to read for ages. And I want to give Gillian Flynn another go and read her other novel Sharp Objects as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.

WWW Wednesdays #76 – February 3rd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m close to finishing Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch… It took me long enough! I still love the worldbuilding and the story is quite interesting, although I’m not completely blown away by it either. I also picked up my copy of Eve by Iris Johansen during my days away camping, but I don’t really like it so far. The case sounds interesting, but I feel I miss a lot of background information and the whole sexual attraction/romance scenes are cringe worthy. Fingers crossed things will improve later on!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Only one book finished this week: Confessions by Kanae Minato. It took me a little while to get used to the writing style, but as soon as I started reading the second confession (chapter), I was hooked. A very dark, disturbing but intriguing read!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I finally have a copy of All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, so I’m planning to pick it up soon. I might read Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas first though, since I really loved the first book in the series… And I want to give Gillian Flynn another go and read her other novel Sharp Objects as well. My latest TBR jar pick is still Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.