I'm doing a review today.
This review is on a book that has yet to be published, but it in the process of being edited FOR publishing. The writer very kindly let me read through her first draft with her to help with the editing, and when I asked her if I could review it she said sure, so that is what I'm going to do. I think it deserves a review
Brothers in Arms.
By Jack Lewis Baillot
It is World War II Germany. Japhet Buchanan and Franz Kampell have been friends since childhood, but now everything they've ever known is coming crashing down around them, and they find themselves being forced to choose their country and each other.
I am coming right up to the point with this. Brothers in Arms is one of the best books I've read all year. In fact its one of the best book I've read - ever. And that is saying a lot, I'm a picky reader. Because I was helping edit I had a first-draft version, so it was a little rough, but I was genuinely shocked by how good it was for the unpolished product. It was well paced and well balanced and I think, with work it is going to be a brilliant book and a brilliant story.
There was something very special about this book, something that separates from almost everything else. First off, the style. Unlike some historical fiction it doesn't feel modern. It is very 1940's centered, and I loved feeling like I was apart of that time frame. It was refreshing, especially after the less impressive historical fiction I've been trying to read. It was actually a war book, not.... having a war for the romance. It is a bit darker than I am used to. There is a section near the middle which is bleak and desperate and awful and if it had been handled any differently I don't know if I could have gotten through it. But the way it was written it wasn't completely without hope. I think that was the saving grace. It wasn't depressing. I think there is a fine line between dark and depressing and the Author did a very good job not crossing that line. I'm not sure how many could manage pulling off something like this but she did, and she did it well. I picked it up and I read it straight through in two days. I haven't found a book like that in weeks. Months even. I think I was in the perfect mood for it too, and that was a plus. I got ridiculously fangirly over it and have been on a high with it ever since. And I can tell you the two main reasons: Franz and Japhet.
Franz and Japhet have one of the best friendships ever written on paper. I am not even kidding. They were like the Steve and Bucky of the book world. They grew up together. They were as thick as thieves, partly because they were both the only boys in a family of sisters, and it was nice to finally have a boy around to play with. They did everything together, whether it was playing pranks on their sisters or hiking through the meadows or making rope swings. They were incredibly close and they do their best to keep each other safe. I loved them almost immediately and as the book went on I just loved them more and more. They gave me so many feels. Painful, terrible feels but also happy, fuzzy feels that made me squeeze my eyes shut and grin like and idiot because they are just so sweet and protective of each other.
It felt like nothing could come between them.
When the war came everything changed. Everything they had ever known became uncertain from day to day. Japhet found himself the outcast and saw hate wherever he went, because even though he was a baptized Christian he was also a Jew, and Jews had no place in Germany. Japhet was hated for what he was and Franz was hated because he was friends with him.
When tragedy strikes the boys right at their home, they decide they have to do what they should have done in the first place. They have to leave Germany. Franz and Japhet go under cover in Berlin and try to pick up as much information as possible in order to their families out of the country safely. But its hard, being in the center of so much hate, and as the war screams on it gets harder for them to keep up their spirits, and they begin to drift apart.
And then Japhet finds out his best friend in the whole world has joined the Nazis, and from that point on their stories go in two very separate directions. Japhet joins the Resistance and Franz is left on his own with the Nazis and you don't see how anything could ever be alright again. Its all gone wrong, everything, and their is too much pain and hurt and nothing can ever make this better, ever. Then the story reaches its peak and its so dark and so painful and everything is this whirlwind and you wish the boys would just freakin find each other and TALK to each other and figure things out because they need each other, and they can't make it on their own. And Franz, who only joined the Nazis to get information and help his family, begins to lose himself and he is so broken and awful and Japhet is miles away, dying inside and so lonely and tired and.....
I JUST HAD A LOT OF FEELINGS.
Okay this is where I vent. I fell in LOVE with these boys. They were both so different yet so alike and they both were trying to do that right thing and be brave and they just got lost and it felt like the whole world was against them, telling them a German and a Jew couldn't be friends, telling them they couldn't make it out, not together. And it was so painful to watch them fall to pieces and all I wanted to do was slam doors and shout STEIN! Because he was an incredibly AWFUL Nazi who needed to die!
The whole ending though, it was absolutely stunning. At first it just hurts because something happens, and it is so awful and terrible that it feels like nothing is ever going to be okay again. But then the friendship story climaxes at the same time as the plot and it was just.....
I would highly recommend being stalkers and lurking about until you find out its been published, then buy it and dive into it and let your emotions be destroyed and put back together by a Nazi and a Jew and one of the best friendships EVER!
Tomorrow or the next day I'm posting about a fuzzy bug robot. Stay tuned!
*Slides off car*