The Book of Uriel
by Elyse Hoffman
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Pub Date 25 Jan 2021 | Archive Date 04 Jul 2022
The Book Whisperer, Project 613 Publishing
“An otherworldly tale with indelible characters in a realistic wartime setting. Hoffman’s novel sublimely fuses world history and Jewish folklore.” –Kirkus Reviews
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, the 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 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.
"An otherworldly tale with indelible characters in a realistic wartime setting. Hoffman's novel sublimely fuses world history and Jewish folklore."---Kirkus Reviews
"A dark book that shows WWII in all its harsh truth, but tucks in beacons of hope and a little boy with a beautiful soul who can see angels."--C.G. Drews, author of A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES and THE BOY WHO STEALS HOUSES.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "A mesmerizing work of historical fiction. The author has magically combined history with fantasy, resulting in an irresistibly engrossing story. Hoffman is a born storyteller, and she executes her ideas in a sound, beautiful way." --Readers' Favorite
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "'The Book of Uriel' is a story that could become a cult classic! It has all the imaginings of 'Pans Labyrinth' and all the emotions of 'The Book Thief'...If you like historical fiction mixed with fantasy, this one may be for you."--Devoured Pages
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "This book was thrilling and downright addictive. Setting it down was not an option after I picked it up. Uriel's story is absolutely gripping. A story of bravery and sacrifice, that takes the reader on an emotional journey."--Jessica Belmont
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "This is an intricately woven tale that shows the cruelty of the Nazis and the horrors of the holocaust while at the same time portraying the spiritual war that is being fought alongside the physical war. Hoffman weaves together historical facts, the Bible, and Jewish folklore to create a written tapestry that you won't want to put down. Her ability to combine historical fiction with a rich spiritual world is awe-inspiring...Fans of the Book Thief will love The Book of Uriel."--Bonnie Reads and Writes
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "This book grabs you from the start. What starts as a heartbreaking opening quickly turns to a ray of hope. Angels, both good and bad, the Nazis, a reluctant linguist, and one unlikely hero populate this story...the pacing is perfect, and you get so wrapped up in the story once you start. The descriptions make you feel like you're in the story itself, and I definitely recommend this!"--The Faerie Review
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 15 members
Uriel's small town of Zingdorf, Poland has been attacked; the buildings have all been burned to the ground and the people have been killed. Ten year old, mute Uriel survives, clutching his small golden book of stories that he has written. As Major Brandt, commander of the local Nazi Police and his new linguist, Uwe, drives through Zingdorf they stop to inspect the damage. Uwe notices the small, seemingly lifeless boy and is disgusted by what his countrymen have done. As he recovers, Uriel is visited by the Angels and is given a gift to protect him, keeping Uriel unseen by anyone wishing to harm him. Uriel hurries to follow the car with Major Brandt and Uwe. To Uriel's surprise, Uwe can see him and promises to harbor Uriel in his room within the Major's house. As Uriel explores, he finds Samael, the Angel of Death and is given a series of tasks by Samael in order to save his people. With the help of Uwe and his gift from the Angels, Uriel sets off to complete his tasks. Meanwhile, Uwe, inspired by Uriel's courage, finds his own ways to thwart Major Brandt and help the Jewish people who have survived.
The Book of Uriel is a unique story combining historical fiction and Jewish mysticism into an engrossing novel about courage and hope during World War II. From the very beginning, Uriel's character grabbed me. Since he is mute, all of the story from Uriel's point of view is his inner monologue which is a wonderful look into Uriel's childlike innocence as well as overwhelming maturity in all of his actions. From meeting Angels to interacting with Uwe, outsmarting Brandt and completing Samael's mission, Uriel acts with conviction, single-mindedness and acceptance of what he needs to do. The writing incorporated the mystical elements seamlessly, especially during World War II, where unbelievable atrocities are happening, Angels waging a war of their own does not seem far-fetched. The missions that Uriel was sent on by Samael were exciting and unexpected. I loved Uriel's stories as a way to share more about the Jewish religion as well as bond Uriel and Uwe. I enjoyed watching Uwe transform as he gained courage to fight back against Brandt as well. Uwe's care for Uriel was heartfelt and authentic, creating just as amazing story as Uriel's quest. With an unexpected ending and a different viewpoint of World War II, The Book of Uriel is a beautiful story of hope and courage in a time of hate.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
What an enigma, this book. I don't think I've ever read anything like it.
It feels like simple children's story, but there is some mature content which makes it feel more appropriate for (young) adults. It reads like a whimsical fairytale, but there's so much seriousness behind the characters and their emotions/motivations. And while the heart of this novel is Judaism, its stories, and the atrocities done to its people, I wouldn't consider this a religious book. I honestly have no idea who the demographic for this book is as it's difficult to explain the essence of the story.
But maybe that's the point, to not pigeonhole it into any one genre or category, but to allow it to connect with any reader who picks it up.
Regardless, one thing is for sure - this is unlike any other WWII story I have ever read. Such a unique and lovely perspective.
It moved me to tears, kept me turning pages. I loved this story, a mix of Jewish folklore and historical fiction.
It's heartbreaking and fascinating, a sad fairy tale and a good piece f historical fiction.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Princess Fuzzypants here: When I first picked up this book, I expected it to be a tough read. Uriel witnesses the destruction of his family and his village in Poland during WW II. It is not the Nazis who have perpetrated this travesty but the Poles, whose historical anti-semitism rivalled the Germans. Uriel , presumed dead, is discovered by a German linguist who is in the company of the Nazi in charge of the area. He has no idea of the atrocities going on. While he still has delusions, he realizes he must hide the boy.
What he does not realize is only the just can see the boy. He is being protected by angels and God. He has a quest to accomplish. He must fulfill five tasks for The Angel of Death who has hidden the Archangel Michael and will not disclose his location until Uriel completes them. Uriel, who was born mute, rises to each occasion much to the surprise and chagrin of the dark angel. The little boy who cannot speak but writes the most beautiful stories is a remarkable character. Between him and his German friend, they are able to bring two sides together for a common goal and thwart the plans of evil Brandt.
The blending of historical details with the Jewish Folklore weaves a moving and inspiring tale. It turned out to be a page turner. I recommend it highly. Five purrs and two paws up.
This was a powerful story!
Little Uriel, a mute 10 year old boy, is the lone survivor of his home town when it’s attacked by the Polish and Germans.
After waking up amidst the devastation, he sees angels who are shocked that he can see them as it signifies his pure heart.
He is given an amulet of protection that keeps all those with evil hearts from seeing him.
Uriel is shocked when Uwe, a German linguist, can see him. Uwe has been forced into providing translator services for the German soldiers.
Thus begins an unlikely friendship and an epic journey.
First off thank, you, thank you NetGalley and the publisher for granting me a copy of this amazing book in return for my honest option.
The book is incredible. It it a story of the horror of the Holocaust bad portrayed through the eyes of a mute child. It clearly depicts the struggles of good vs evil and the holy war going on during the days of the Holocaust. It gave me chills
For me the book is a five star book. I highly recommend.
The Book of Uriel is such a unique, fantastic book. I laughed, I cried (and cried some more) and overall was just so enthralled by this book.
Uriel is a 10 year old Jewish boy whose village is decimated by Germans during WWII. In order to save his people, he must perform five tasks for the Angel of Death to free archangel Michael from imprisonment. During his trials, he meets Uwe: a German translator who becomes more and more aware of what his comrades are actually doing to the Jews and the Poles.
The relationship between Uriel and Uwe was so lovely. I hesitate to use to word "wholesome" re: a book about the atrocities of WWII and a little boy losing his family in a raid of his village. However, if anything can be considered wholesome and just good in this book, it's their relationship and the way they help each other get through the most gruesome moments.
Uriel is a young mute Jewish boy who's entire world was destroyed when his village was burned to the ground. Uwe is a linguist who is forced to help the local Nazi police. Against all odds they find each other while Uriel tries to help his people by finding his peoples angel, Michael.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.
This book is told in multiple perspectives, typically Uriel and Uwe with a few others once in awhile. It also has stories from Uriel's little golden notebook.
I really enjoyed all the biblical call backs to different stories in the Torah/ Old Testament bible. Learning more about Jewish specific mysticism was fascinating.
I also appreciated how well the author handled the way that the Germans and the Poles felt about the Jews. She didn't pull any punches and I really respect her for that. It's part of history that we need to see and understand that way it can never be repeated.
Uwe's character arc was my favorite he goes from a timid linguist determined to keep his head down to actively assisting the Jews. Uriel's character story is a story of bravery and over coming all trials due to his faith.
Over all I enjoyed this book. Admittedly it took me awhile to get into it. Getting used to the perspective switching was difficult because Uwe and Uriel have vastly different knowledge bases. Once they start to converge the story gets way more understandable in my opinion. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about WWII from a nonmilitary perspective.
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