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Winter's Bullet

Review

Winter's Bullet

Tygo, a locksmith's son, is forced by the Nazis to loot abandoned Dutch homes for valuables. Known as "The Ferret," everyone despises him, but helping the Germans is the only way he can stay alive. When he discovers a girl with a diamond in a chimney, he refuses to give her up. Instead, he turns spy and uses the jewel to find out information about Hitler's ultimate weapon. He has one shot to stop the war. Can a ferret become a hero?

I love historical fiction. I love the feeling of being transported into another time period, another location, another world altogether. I can escape the mundanity of my current life and enter the mind of someone who is living differently than I am. However, sometimes it is easy to forget that characters living in another time period are human too; they are not superhumans, nor are they humans with extraordinary wit and power. If the book is aiming to create something realistic, than characterization must also be realistic. Otherwise, there is a risk of the book coming off as another genre altogether. WINTER’S BULLET by William Osbornewas a thrilling historical novel set in Nazi Germany, but the main characters in the book lacked realistic characterization.

WINTER’S BULLET captured me from the first page; the book opens with a young boy roller skating down a frozen canal in the dead of winter to get to work. How many times have you seen that happen? Descriptions of setting --- the weather, the houses, the people etc. --- brought the Netherlands during the German occupation to life. Osborne never goes overboard with descriptions that are too flowery; he gives just enough so readers understand what is going on but are left wondering what is outside of the small frame he provides us. His skill with detail kept me flipping the pages as fast as I could.

Descriptions of setting --- the weather, the houses, the people etc. --- brought the Netherlands during the German occupation to life.

As I was reading, however, I found myself wondering about Tygo’s motives. As the above excerpt states, Tygo risks his life saving a girl he first met in a chimney. We know that Tygo lost his sister to the Germans, so perhaps he saved this stranger since he couldn’t save his own sibling.  

Still, though, Tygo is (unwillingly) working for the Nazi party and knows the risks if he is found harboring someone who should have been captured by the Germans a long time ago. Plus, he doesn’t have anybody to help support him or to learn this behavior from; he lost both of his parents, as well.  

Therefore, I had trouble believing that someone as young as Tygo would risk everything he has and a possible future opportunity to leave the Netherlands to save the life of someone he does not know.  I wish Osborne had explored the reasons behind Tygo’s actions a bit more so I could better understand him as a character.

Overall, though, I thoroughly enjoyed reading WINTER’S BULLET As with any historical fiction, I felt like I was transported to the world of these characters and experiencing everything they were, and the writing style matched my taste. I would recommend this book to any historical fiction fanatic!

Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board member on January 19, 2016

Winter's Bullet
by William Osborne