Today I’m pleased to welcome you to my (slightly late) stop on the blog tour for The Book of Uriel an amazing and compelling historical fiction novel set in WWII featuring Jewish folklore, and an amazing search for an angel!  I’ve always loved fiction set during this time period but this one is really something special! 🙂 You can read more about the book and my thoughts below but I just wanted to first thank The Write Reads for a chance to be on this tour and for a copy of the book.  Now please read on to see why I loved this book so much…

Title: The Book of Uriel
Author: Elyse Hoffman
Illustrator: Leo Lätti
Publisher: Project 613 Publishing
Genre: Historical fiction, Fantasy
Book format: Digital
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Description:  In the fires of World War II, a child must save his people from darkness…
Ten-year-old Uriel has always been an outcast. Born mute in a Jewish village known for its choir, he escapes into old stories of his people, stories of angels and monsters. But when the fires of the Holocaust consume his village, he learns that the stories he writes in his golden notebook are terrifyingly real.
In the aftermath of the attack, Uriel is taken in by Uwe, a kind-hearted linguist forced to work for the commander of the local Nazi Police, the affably brutal Major Brandt. Uwe wants to keep Uriel safe, but Uriel can’t stay hidden. The angels of his tales have come to him with a dire message: Michael, guardian angel of the Jewish people, is missing. Without their angel, the Jewish people are doomed, and Michael’s angelic brethren cannot search for him in the lands corrupted by Nazi evil.
With the lives of millions at stake, Uriel must find Michael and free him from the clutches of the Angel of Death…even if that means putting Uwe in mortal danger.
The Book of Uriel is a heartbreaking blend of historical fiction and Jewish folklore that will enthrall fans of The Book Thief and The World That We Knew.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  Wow, this is such an amazing and emotional read!  When mute Jewish boy Uriel’s village is attacked, he manages to survive a massacre and soon meets two angels.  They give him an important task, to find the Archangel Michael and free him so that he can help save the Jewish people.  Soon after taking on the dangerous mission, Uriel meets Uwe, a kind-hearted linguist who helps to shelter and look after him, but the dark forces of the Nazis are keen to wipe out everyone from the area, and if they find Uriel they’ll kill him too.

This is such an amazing story I felt so emotional while reading it!  Set during World War II in Poland, the book doesn’t shy away from some of the horrors of the Nazi occupation.  While Uriel’s mission is to find the Archangel Michael, which he sets about doing by completing certain tasks asked of him, Uwe spends his days translating for a Nazi commander who is attempting to rid the area of all Jews and Poles.  I’ve always loved historical fiction set during war time and this one was so well written that I was swept into this story right away,!  I wasn’t sure if the fantasy style story that mixes angels and Jewish folklore with historical fiction would work, but I have to say that this really did work and was such a compelling read that it wasn’t long before I was hooked on the story and couldn’t put it down!

The story switches point of view frequently, though always written in the third person perspective, and shows us what is happening with Uriel, Uwe and occasionally some other characters too.  There is never any confusion with this and I love how interesting and fast-paced the story became.  There are only ten chapters, with some being quite long, but I love how the story not only shows us what is happening to the characters but also regularly shares some Jewish folklore in the form of stories told, as well as some memories that Uriel has of his life which are important to the main story being told.

I love both Uriel and Uwe’s characters.  While Uwe begins as a kind-herated person, he is quiet at first, and doesn’t speak up against the Nazis actions.  I love how he grows as a character even becoming a voice of reason later when there are disagreements between different groups of men.  Uriel is the star of this book though.  The little mute boy with such a kind and big heart is someone that you just grow so attached to, and when you read certain chapters of things that happened in his past you’ll find yourself getting very emotional, maybe even crying a little.  There are some illustrations in the book, usually after we find out something about Uriel’s past, and I really do think these add to the story and how emotional it felt.  The illustrations are in black, white and grey and I just really appreciated them being in the book as I felt so much more attached to Uriel after seeing these!

The book has a good build up toward the ending and I like how some important messages about the way humans should act are weaved into and shown in this story.  The ending is a really good and satisfying one, and one that really pulled at me emotionally.  I felt both sad and happy and I enjoyed the added epilogue at the end.  Although I suspected that one particular thing would happen at the end to a certain character, the story wasn’t predictable at all and I was shocked during some moments, especially at the end when certain dark things happen.  The book doesn’t shy away from showing the honest brutality that the Nazis, and others, had towards Jews during the second world war.  Because of this there are a few scenes here and there where some pretty horrible things happen, like torture and killings, with the odd more gruesome description of blood, which might be a bit difficult for more sensitive readers to read.  However, these weren’t too often and I felt like these scenes were done well and did give a realistic showing of the sort of things that happened during the war.

Overall this is such a wonderful read!  Uriel is such a character that you just can’t  help but fall in love with right away, and what happens to both him, Uwe and the others will definitely leave you feeling more than a little emotional at the end!  The story of the angels and Uriel’s mission to save Michael is such an interesting concept that I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book when I started reading it, but after just a few pages I was completely hooked, and would recommend this book to everyone to read if you are interested in a story set during WWII with a angelic twist!  I’m still reeling a little after reading this and will certainly look for more from the author in future!

 

Buy the book

The Book of Uriel book cover

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About the author

Elyse Hoffman author pic

Elyse Hoffman strives to tell historical tales with new twists: she loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal. She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: the five books of The Barracks of the Holocaust and The Book of Uriel.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my stop on the blog tour today for this amazing book!  Please do check out the earlier stops on the tour by checking out the hashtags on twitter. 🙂


What do you think of this book?  Do you like stories set during WWII?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂