Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: The Far Side of the Sky by Daniel Kalla

The Far Side of the Sky
by Daniel Kalla
Received for Review
Adult Historical Fiction
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.79
Pages: 464

Before I get into my review, here's the summary available on Goodreads:

November 9, 1938—Kristallnacht—the Nazis unleash a night of terror for Jews all across Germany. Meanwhile, the Japanese Imperial Army rampages through China and tightens its stranglehold on Shanghai, a city that becomes the last haven for thousands of desperate European Jews.

Dr. Franz Adler, a renowned surgeon, is swept up in the wave of anti-Semitic violence and flees to Shanghai with his daughter. At a refugee hospital, Franz meets an enigmatic nurse, Soon Yi “Sunny” Mah. The chemistry between them is intense and immediate, but Sunny’s life is shattered when a drunken Japanese sailor murders her father.
The danger escalates for Shanghai’s Jews as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Facing starvation and disease, Franz struggles to keep the refugee hospital open and protect his family from a terrible fate.

The Far Side of the Sky focuses on a short but extraordinary period of Chinese, Japanese, and Jewish history when cultures converged and heroic sacrifices were part of the everyday quest for survival.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Thanks!

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: First off, I consider myself something of a history buff and so I love it when I read a novel that causes me look at something in a new light. Sarah's Key did that for me and so did this novel.

This novel is not your average WWII novel. Instead, this novel is set in the heart of Shanghai, China. That concept was mind-boggling to me and set this novel apart from other WWII books I've read.

I decided to read this book because of the cover that is featured to the left. Sounds shallow, but it's true. Boy am I glad that I did read this one. This book was absolutely brilliant. I adored the characters and loved following them as they faced their trials and struggled to overcome the horrors in their lives.

Not only did this book depict the horrors that the Jews had to endure, it also depicted the horrors that the Chinese had to endure. This novel broke my heart and mended it all in one story. I felt so emotionally connected to this tale. I couldn't think of anything else while reading this one. Any book or writer that can do that, is definitely incredible. 

This novel is easily one of my favorites of the year. I definitely recommend reading this one.

The characters, the plot, and the writing are all amazing. Give this book a chance, you won't regret it. Yes, this book is long, but don't let that stop you. 

In Summary: One of my favorites this year. This novel brilliantly presented WWII in a new light. This novel blew me away from the get-go until the very last page. 

Warnings/Side-notes: Some violent scenes (not overly graphic, but still) a sexual assault scene, and a homosexual character on the fringe of the story. However, for the most part, I thought this novel was very clean. 

The Wrap-up: An incredible book that I will definitely be thinking about long after I turned the last page. Read this one. 


Danica Page

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