Cover Image: The Enigma Game

The Enigma Game

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I had heard so many good things about Elizabeth Wein's other book called Code Name Verity and was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book. For those of you wondering, this does take place in the same universe, however it is more of a prequel which means you can read it before Code Name Verity. One of the aspects I loved about the writing was the accents interwoven with each perspective. I also was able to pick up on a lot of slang which really immersed me into the time period and setting. One concept talked about a lot in this book is coins that soldiers stick into the wood at the pub. Before they go on a mission they leave a coin for good luck and use it to buy a drink when they return safely. This small bit of information really showed how dire the situation was and made you think of all the sacrifices these people made. Morse code was also a big topic, and I have to say it reinvigorated my love for it! Something about secret codes and messages is so intriguing to me and it added an element of mystery to the plot.

I had a hard time picking a favourite character, it's definitely a tie between Jamie and Louisa. They both are so brave, and stubborn in their own ways. I loved the inclusion of the topic of people of colour during the war, which I feel is something not talked about often. Seeing the struggles Louisa faced as a half Jamaican, half English woman during this time period was eye opening. I would have loved to see a bit more interaction between the main and side characters as I think that would have let me connect with the side characters more. But I have to say that my favourite relationship in this book is that between Louisa and Jane Warner, the elderly women she is caring for. They had such a connection through music and loss and it made for a heartwarming friendship.
Was this review helpful?
DNF @ 25%

This book is very slow paced and I am just not feeling it right now. Not for me, unfortunately.
Was this review helpful?
There is so much going on in this book and I loved every bit of it, so I am going to try to deliver a well thought out review, but in all seriousness, I am probably just going to spend the time gushing about this book.
To start, the book takes place in The United Kingdom during the Second World War. The plot was faced paced, and the three main characters were great. Louisa is a young Black girl who is orphaned at 15. She gets a job looking after an elderly lady who was born in Germany, which makes her considered an enemy alien by the British government. Louisa's dad was from Jamaica and her mother from England, so Louisa experiences quite a bit of racism throughout the novel. Then there is Ellen, who is a Traveller and honestly, I did not know too much about Travellers so it was nice to read about them! And then finally we have Jamie, our pilot in the air force and I loved the concern he showed towards his men and how much he wants a way to get an advantage over the Germans for the sake of his men!
The writing was very well done and I enjoyed the mystery element of the book. Breaking codes and fighting the enemy was an aspect of the book that kept me fully engaged. I also loved the connection between the characters and the camaraderie aspect of the relationship. The book is part of the Code Name Verity series and I have not read the other books and still found this one quite enjoyable! So if you are worried if you need to read the others in the series first, I will say not necessarily, but I think I might have loved the book even more if I had more context for some of the characters!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When a German pilot drops off an Enigma Machine in a small Scottish town, it brings together four very unlikely people: the local pub owner’s elderly German aunt Jane Warner, the half-Jamaican teen Louisa Adair who has been hired to take care of her, Ellen McEwen, a volunteer and driver for the local airfield, and Flight Lieutenant James Beaufort-Stuart. Louisa, who discovers it, doesn’t report it, instead putting it to use translating the coded messages that Jamie Stuart’s squadron is picking up on their flights. Jamie and his fliers soon have a huge advantage, the intercepted messages not only keeping them out of harm’s way, but also providing intelligence of upcoming attacks that they can foil. But how long can they keep the machine a secret? When the German bombers turn their attention to their small town, the group is still reluctant to give up this machine that provides them with such a large advantage, even when it appears that the Germans may suspect what they may have in their possession.

The Code Name Verity series has been on my radar for a very long time, and it’s funny that when I finally got around to it, I’ve started with the latest and last book. It sounds like some characters may have appeared in previous books, but this story itself is a standalone and I didn’t have any trouble understanding it at all. I’ve heard about Enigma machines before, and this was as interesting a read as I hoped it would be. The use of coding systems and ciphers during the war was really well explained and fascinating to learn about. I love the author’s writing style which just has a way of pulling you into the story, getting you completely invested in the characters’ fates. The setting of wartime Scotland also felt very authentic and atmospheric, and it is very clear how much research must have gone into this book.

Each WWII book I’ve read this year has taken me through a story of the war from a new front, and this book was no exception. The Enigma Game gives us a glimpse into both how life was for civilians at the time, and also what it was like to be in the thick of things. While such quick shifts in perspective has the potential to be a little confusing, I found it quite easy to follow and it kept the story engaging. The historical notes at the end were interesting to read and a wonderful addition to this book.

All three of our main characters were very well written, and I particularly enjoyed Jamie’s POVs, where most of the action was occurring. Louisa’s story on the other hand, provides a great perspective of what the war was like for people at home, and having experienced significant personal losses, she is desperate to help the war effort in any way she can. The camaraderie that develops between Louisa and Jane was also really lovely to see.

The Enigma Game was not as emotional as some others I’ve come across this year, but it is certainly a thought-provoking and insightful read. It’s not all about war time, or the dangerous flights that fighter pilots undertake or even deciphering exciting messages. It has the mood of a thriller, an adventure in some sense, but when you look beyond that, at its core, it is about people, who are in some way or the other, outsiders, coming together and finding a place where they fit in a society that is less than welcoming of them.

It may feel at times that the narration is slow, but that only lets the tension build up for the finale. The climax of this book is one that will hit you really hard, and it makes it all the more evident how much character development has been happening in the background, and not only for the main characters. This book has only made me want to read the others in this series even more and I’m hoping to get to those by the end of this year. The Enigma Game was a great read and I would highly recommend it for historical fiction fans.
Was this review helpful?
I received an advance ebook copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for review.

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein is a part of the Code Name Verity series. This historical novel follows a cast of characters who become connected after a German soldier brings an Enigma Machine and hides it in a pub in Scotland. Louisa is hired to take care of the pub owner’s elderly German aunt. Louisa finds the machine but doesn’t report it and keeps it. Flight-Lieutenant Jamie intercepts signals that Louisa works to solve. Airfield volunteer Ellen gets the signalled messages to Louisa. The machine gives them a great advantage against the Germans. But how long can they keep the machine a secret?

This is a riveting historical novel. It was so interesting I had a hard time putting it down. I really need to check out Wein’s other Code Name Verity novels, since I enjoyed this one so much.
Was this review helpful?
A solid companion book to Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire. Although this is set a bit before Code Name Verity, I don't think you need to read these in order.

This book is set in Scotland and follows three different viewpoints: Louisa, who takes a job as a caregiver to an elderly German woman, Jamie, who is posted at an airbase nearby and the flight leader of a bomber squadron, and Ellen, a driver for the airbase. They all become involved when Louisa comes into possession of an Enigma machine that was left by a German who is working for the allies.

As is the case with Elizabeth Wein's other books, the story pulls you in and immerses you in World War II. You can tell she really did her research for this book, and I was moved by the trials and joys of these characters lives. Tears were shed.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys World War II fiction, especially if you've read and enjoyed her previous books in this collection.
Was this review helpful?
Elizabeth Wein has never disappointed. The enigma machine and everything it involved was until recently a new part of history to me. Warning the date was pushed to Novembeer
Was this review helpful?
I received an early e-arc of The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
I've read and enjoyed two of Elizabeth Wein's other books, Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, so I was excited to be able to read an early copy of her next book. If you enjoy World War Two historical fiction I would recommend Elizabeth Wein's books, though Code Name Verity would probably be my favorite out of the three I have now read.  
	The Enigma Game follows a few characters based out of a small seaside town in Scotland and what happens when an Enigma machine turns up. We get three different perspectives in the story, Jamie Beaufort-Stuart, Ellen McEwan, and Louisa Adair. Louisa takes a job taking care of an elderly German woman, Jane, and I found their relationship throughout the story to be heartwarming. I liked having multiple perspectives tell the story, and seeing how the small cast of characters connected and came to work together. 
I think that if you like this book you will also like The Bletchley Circle tv series, as they both have similar plots and characters (and vice versa). I ended up giving this book 3 out of 5 stars, while it wasn't my favorite from Elizabeth Wein it was an enjoyable read and well researched historical fiction.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for an egalley in exchange for an honest review

Although this book will not be released until November, readers that are familiar with Elizabeth Wein's WWII historicals from a YA perspective will certainly enjoy her latest installment of the Code Name Verity series. It is certainly a well-researched novel with plenty of action while also stressing the importance of working together and understanding differences.

The novel is told through the eyes of Jamie Beaufort-Stewart, a flight lieutenant, Louise Adair, a young Jamaican woman who travels from London to Scotland with an elderly German woman, and Ellen McEwen a driver for the Auxiliary Air Force. When the three are handed over an enigma machine from a German pilot, they become embroiled in some wartime intrigue.

Having previously enjoyed Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, I must confess that I didn't feel as engaged in this novel as its predecessors. Now I have already told you that Wein has written a well researched and informative novel, so please understand my own personal enjoyment is probably based on mood. Also, I know that I am a little WWII weary, but despite those inner feelings, I still would give a nod that it deserves your attention.

#TheEnigmaGame #NetGalley

Goodreads review published 13/07/20
Expected publication 03/11/20
Was this review helpful?
Read it. Read it now. You need this wrartwarming, WWII tale, esp. now. A single person matters.  YOU matter.  YOU can make a difference, just by being you.
I loved the Gurnsey Literary Potato Peel Society and omg this book did not disappoint. 
Louisa, Ellen, Jane, and Jamie has wonderful depth and realism- even Nancy who was a secondary character shone like a lighthouse in the fog. 
I stayed up late, ignored my daily life, and wept. I could not put this book down- it offered such a real (and unique) perspective that I just couldn’t get enough. I want MORE- I want prequels for Jamie and Ellen, for Jane. And Felix, who I cannot say much about without spoilers. 
Love. Love. Love. 💕
Was this review helpful?
3.5/5 ⭐️ for The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for early access to the ebook!

If you love WWII historical fiction, especially from a YA perspective, definitely check out The Enigma Game! It is very well researched and full of action, heart, and messages about acceptance & working together. The Enigma Game continues in the world of Wein's previous books, Code Name Verity and The Pearl Thief.

Through this story, we follow the perspective of 3 main people: Ellen McEwen, a driver for the Auxiliary Air Force and a Traveller; Louisa Adair, a young half Jamaican woman who travels from London to Scotland to care for an elderly German woman, and Jamie Beaufort-Stewart who is a Flight Lieutenant. These perspectives wove back and forth nicely, creating a well-rounded perspective of the story for the reader. I felt the voices, both from the narrators as well as the dialogue, were unique enough allowing me to keep the characters separate in my mind. Especially considering the three main characters, I thought the author did a great job of creating fully-fleshed, dynamic characters who grew, learned, and changed with the story. I definitely became attached to these characters! My favourite relationship was definitely between Louisa and Jane, as their friendship is just so honest and Louisa wants to take the best care of Jane. Plus, working in long term care I have come to adore elderly people and really appreciate the importance of inter-generational relationships.

Something this book does well is addressing prejudice between people groups. Ellen, Louisa, and Jane Warner all have their stories of having to deal with intolerance, and even have to hide who they are in order to get by in life. These characters teach those around them how it is possible to coexist, work together on a goal, and even develop friendships with people you thought you had nothing in common with. I could see that the impact of this racism ran deep, especially for Louisa and Ellen, especially with Louisa's reaction to comments made by some of the flight crew. 

Finally, I wanted to talk about the action, which definitely kept me turning the pages! The tension of wartime and the riskiness their daily flight missions held created a palpable atmosphere that kept me drawn into the book. Early in the book, the plot is more focused on introducing us to the characters and setting, potentially coming across as a bit slow, but I thought the action picked up nicely in the last 2/3rds of the book.  We are introduced to a mysterious character during one of the flight missions, and our three main characters are pulled even deeper into the world of secrets, coding, and spies. All the scenes surrounding this were so fun! I also really enjoyed all the flight scenes, especially the one where the girls tag along!

Overall, I thought this was a great read, especially if one is in the mood for some WWII historical fiction! I came into this book not having read either Code Name Verity or The Pearl Thief. I don't believe this diminished my enjoyment or ability to understand this book, but I most certainly will be adding them to my TBR so I can return to this wonderful series!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC! I first heard of this book when I was signing up for a book tour, and it immediately caught my eye because of its diverse cast of characters. Taking place in WWII, The Enigma Game is a story about 4 unlikely characters who get entangled in decoding german intelligence messages. There’s Jaime Beaufort-Stuart, a Scottish pilot in the RAF (Royal Air Force);  Ellen McEwan, a driver at the same airbase; Louisa Adair, a young black girl hired to take care of Jane Warner, an old (and secretly German) lady.

I enjoyed this book because it was a refreshing break from typical historical WWII novels, which are often intense, have characters battling in life-or-death situations, and tearjerkers. This book is a lighthearted and wholesome take on the events of the war, and more than that, it’s a story of kinship and acceptance. From the beginning, we follow Louisa Adair, a British girl of Jamaican descent. Because of her skin colour, everyone judges her differently, calling her slurs, and undermining her intelligence. I like Louisa because of her inner strength – She acts so much older than her young fifteen, and is not afraid to speak her mind or approach anyone, even an enemy soldier. Protect this kind soul. 

Also, let’s talk about Mrs. Warner. Ok, so this lady is one of the most WHOLESOME, SASSY, HEADSTRONG, and AMUSING figures ever. If I had a list of most impressive old ladies, she would definitely be on it. Seriously, I would read this book for her alone. She owns an entire closet of fur coats (during a freaking war, I might add), smuggled rations in her underwear, and straight-up told everyone she was 60 even though she was 82. I want to be like her when I’m old. 

Other notes about the book: This is a war story and a story about camaraderie first and foremost, it probably doesn’t have the blooming romance you’re expecting that’s typical with YA. The story takes you into the nitty-gritty of the war terminology, especially when it comes to airplane names, maneuvers, and the like, so it does take a while to get used to (since I’m a complete history novice).

Don’t worry, remember how I said earlier it’s not a tearjerker story? Anyways, I just felt that the death scene(s) fell a little flat because honestly, I didn’t really feel saddened. Idk if it was just lack of character buildup prior, or just my expectation from watching too many emotional war movies, but somehow it didn’t resonate with me as I think it should’ve. 

Overall, this was a good book. Fun, lighthearted, and gripping at the right moments. This book gave me vague vibes of Amandla Stenberg in Where Hands Touch (2018), so if you enjoyed that movie please check this book out when it publishes in November!
Was this review helpful?
An ARC of this novel was sent to me by NetGalley for reviewing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This book was amazing! It dragged out at some parts, but the author's writing makes up for it.
Was this review helpful?