Reviews

The Spy with the Red Balloon, by Katherine Locke

halligomez's review against another edition

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5.0

THE SPY WITH THE RED BALLOON is the second book, but it occurs earlier than the first, a nice twist. This time we are in the 1940’s fighting World War II

Katherine Locke takes us to World War II with the Klein siblings, Ilse and Wolf. We’re fortunate to be a part of this story from different locations and points of view. These compelling stories are beautifully woven together. Cleverly created concepts of magic and science bring us into Ilse and Wolf’s world and their involuntary recruitment to the war. The details of these concepts flowed so naturally in dialogue and description, I believed they were true.

As the siblings join the war effort, we are introduced to new characters with wonderfully developed personalities. You love them along with Ilse and Wolf, and suffer through their struggles and heartaches as the era, the war, and societal views attempt to stand in their way.

THE SPY WITH THE RED BALLOON is a beautifully written novel about magic, science, World War II, and love. This story tackles many important topics such as morality and ethics, equality, segregation, discovering new love, gay and lesbian relationships, and the sadness and bravery of war.

And through it all is the bond between the siblings that gives you the courage to do anything.

unicornosaur's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional inspiring mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

bibliorumpus's review against another edition

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Just could not get into this one for some reason - the dialogue was really awkward and it all seemed forced.

rafaestla's review against another edition

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5.0

“We shouldn’t say goodbyes. We should just leave and hope one day we’ll get to say hello again.”

I really, really, really, loved this book. I just... really loved everything about it? Sapphics! Canonically demi character! AND a Peggy Carter-esque badass! Science and magic working together! Punching Nazis! What more could anyone want?

emmehuffman's review against another edition

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5.0

This is a wonderful companion to The Girl with the Red Balloon. I love Ilse and Wolf so much. Ilse is unapologetically smart and resourceful. Wolf is very protective of the people he loves. Their relationship with each other works so well. They recognize each other's strengths and play off of that, even when they are apart.

The Spy with the Red Balloon felt, at times like a prequel. I don't want to say too much so that I don't spoil anything, but it sets up a lot of what we see in The Girl with the Red Balloon. As a companion and a prequel, it complements TGWTRB very well.

--I received an eArc through Netgalley.

conjurerachel's review against another edition

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4.0

"Get in, losers," she called out. "We're blowing up Nazis."

-

In a companion story to The Girl with the Red Balloon, the stakes are high as America joins the second World War. The government is tracking people with magic abilities, drafting them for the fight. Ilse and Wolf Klein are caught in the middle of practicing and are separated to do their necessary part in ensuring America’s survival. Combative Ilse is sent to lead a group in the Manhattan Project where a spy threatens to spill their secrets. Wolf is trained to be a spy where he unexpectedly collides with an old friend. Both work to understand the properties of their strange blood and what uses they could have beyond killing, and Ilse and Wolf are aware of what being Jewish means in the war effort.

I can describe this book in two words: Jewish catharsis. Coming from a similar background as the author and the siblings, it felt really good to see Nazis being punched by angry Jewish people. The fact that Ilse, Wolf, and the others aren’t used as tragedy porn because Locke understands the weight representation has. Privilege is explored through race, religion, sexuality, and gender, showing how these characters act in these intersections at the battleground and in the lab

This is an excellent read that has made me loudly cheer at each heroic fight, the relatable Jewish-ness, and how she perfectly worked in a Mean Girls reference.

I highly recommend reading this and be sure to have a copy of The Girl with the Red Balloon to enjoy the moment even more.

I've received the arc from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

nirrimsliar's review against another edition

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5.0

Drop what you are doing and read this book

ripplingriver's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional medium-paced

4.0

voidfish's review against another edition

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5.0

By far one of THE best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It was thrilling, suspenseful, heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. I won't lie, I was scared as hell the entire way through, but each character and each part of this book have left an imprint on my heart and I am so glad I was able to read it. I can't even imagine the research that went into this book.

I don't even know what else to say. It's a book that, once it's finished, leaves you a little speechless. Thank you for the work you put into it and for sharing it with us; it was magical.

mtdegrace's review against another edition

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3.0

That book was a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions. I really enjoyed it and the story and everything that was going on, but I will say that the magic system was kind of hard to follow and I couldn’t really grasp totally how it worked. I’ve never read a book like this before, and it was really fun to read.