After reading and re-reading Code Name Verity, and rooting for it in multiple prizes, I simply had to listen to the audiobook. I won’t bother summarizing the plot–if you’ve read it already, you certainly don’t need a rehash, and if you haven’t read it, you need to find a copy, stat (and avoid all spoilers, which means you should stop reading this post now).
So here’s what worked, and didn’t:
- the tone was just right. Narrators Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell pulled off the tense balance of fear and nostalgia and black humor. When Julie’s reminiscing about her time in England, I was drawn in completely and forgot all about her dire situation. And during the final raid, I kept fearing for Maddie’s life despite knowing how it all ends.
- the narrators sounded older than I’d imagined. That jarred me out of the story, but I eventually got used to it, because:
- they were so brilliant with the languages and accents. How do they do it?! Julie’s French was perfect, and her German sounded impeccable too, though I’m not a reliable judge. Maddie’s terrible French accent rivals Georgia Penn’s cringe-worthy français. Best of all, Julie’s so Scottish–how could von Linden and his minions ever mistake her for being English?
- Engel’s underlined text: there was no way to convey that in the audiobook, so if someone had listened to it before reading the book, they’d be very confused about the references to the red pen.
- that sublime passage about Maddie’s flight over the Pennines? It’s even better read aloud than on the page.