Book Review: Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus

shadow on the mountain cover

View from the window seat:
Espen, a teenager in Norway, and his friends get caught up in the Resistance when Norway is invaded by Nazi Germany during WWII. Shadow on the Mountain chronicles his journey from an illegal newspaper delivery boy to a spy and finally his escape into Sweden.

This is a much different WWII story than I’m used to. Having recently read Between Shades of Gray, I couldn’t help but compare the two. Both tell lesser known stories of countries involved in WWII. Both follow a teenager’s experiences with the war. Shadow on the Mountain (based on the experience of a real-life Norwegian spy) is a much lighter story in a way. Though it doesn’t shy away from portraying violence, it doesn’t have any graphic, harrowing descriptions such as those found in Between Shades of Gray. In the beginning, Espen sees his Resistance activities as fun and exciting. As he becomes more involved and faces tragedies, he awakens to the dangers of what he’s been doing. I felt a really poignant moment was when Espen has a chance to escape to Sweden (which he should take because of recent happenings that I won’t spoil), but he chooses to stay in Norway because the Resistance work needs to be done and he can do it.

Two characters I really liked were Espen’s sister Ingrid and his best friend Kjell, both of whom have secrets of their own. I felt that Espen’s relationships with these two were very well drawn, as the Nazi occupation complicates and changes how they see each other.

I read this book as an ARC, and a note was included saying that the final edition will have archival photographs and maps. I can’t comment on how these will add (or detract) from the story, but I can imagine they would be an interesting addition and I may have to take a look when the book is released.

Overall impression:
I really enjoyed Shadow on the Mountain, an action-packed novel with interesting characters set against the backdrop of occupied Norway.

Rating:
7

Note: I received this ARC from the publisher at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference.

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