Hot Best Seller

The Silent Unseen: A Novel of World War II

Availability: Ready to download

Poland, July 1944. Sixteen-year-old Maria is making her way home after years of forced labor in Nazi Germany, only to find her village destroyed and her parents killed in a war between the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists. To Maria’s shock, the local Resistance unit is commanded by her older brother, Tomek―who she thought was dead. He is now a “Silent Unseen,” Poland, July 1944. Sixteen-year-old Maria is making her way home after years of forced labor in Nazi Germany, only to find her village destroyed and her parents killed in a war between the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists. To Maria’s shock, the local Resistance unit is commanded by her older brother, Tomek―who she thought was dead. He is now a “Silent Unseen,” a special-operations agent with an audacious plan to resist a new and even more dangerous enemy sweeping in from the East. When Tomek disappears, Maria is determined to find him, but the only person who might be able to help is a young Ukrainian prisoner and the last person Maria trusts―even as she feels a growing connection to him that she can’t resist.


Compare

Poland, July 1944. Sixteen-year-old Maria is making her way home after years of forced labor in Nazi Germany, only to find her village destroyed and her parents killed in a war between the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists. To Maria’s shock, the local Resistance unit is commanded by her older brother, Tomek―who she thought was dead. He is now a “Silent Unseen,” Poland, July 1944. Sixteen-year-old Maria is making her way home after years of forced labor in Nazi Germany, only to find her village destroyed and her parents killed in a war between the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists. To Maria’s shock, the local Resistance unit is commanded by her older brother, Tomek―who she thought was dead. He is now a “Silent Unseen,” a special-operations agent with an audacious plan to resist a new and even more dangerous enemy sweeping in from the East. When Tomek disappears, Maria is determined to find him, but the only person who might be able to help is a young Ukrainian prisoner and the last person Maria trusts―even as she feels a growing connection to him that she can’t resist.

30 review for The Silent Unseen: A Novel of World War II

  1. 5 out of 5

    Provin Martin

    The Silent Unseen opened my eyes to a whole new part of World War II history. I never knew there was an actual group called the ‘silent unseen’ who were part of a special operations unit. Wiki says ‘The Silent Unseen" were elite special-operations paratroopers of the Polish Army in exile, created in Great Britain during World War II to operate in occupied Poland’ This is the story of 16-year-old Maria who is growing up in Poland in 1944. She’s just been released from a forced labor camp in Nazi The Silent Unseen opened my eyes to a whole new part of World War II history. I never knew there was an actual group called the ‘silent unseen’ who were part of a special operations unit. Wiki says ‘The Silent Unseen" were elite special-operations paratroopers of the Polish Army in exile, created in Great Britain during World War II to operate in occupied Poland’ This is the story of 16-year-old Maria who is growing up in Poland in 1944. She’s just been released from a forced labor camp in Nazi Germany and is on her way home. But when she gets home, she finds her village has been destroyed and her parents have been killed and buried. What makes this loss even sadder is that years before she lost her older brother, Tomek, to the war. And now she is alone. As Maria moves along the country side trying to find her new place in this war riddled world, she meets a boy her age named Kostya. Soon Kostya is injured and she must care for him in addition to protecting herself. Out of no where they run into Tomek, who explains to Maria that he was never dead. He has become part of the silent unseen! Tomek and his men reveal to Maria that Kostya may not be who he says he is. And he may be part of the group of terrorist who destroyed their village and killed their parents. This book is a wild a turbulent adventure set during the historical and dark times of WW2. I learned a lot of new information and the characters were easy to relate to even though the times were much different. A highly enjoyable read!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda McCrina

    The Silent Unseen is a companion novel to Traitor. If you finish The Silent Unseen and are wondering whether there is more to the story, the answer is yes: Traitor takes place in the same setting at around the same time and centers some of The Silent Unseen's side characters. Both The Silent Unseen and Traitor include glossaries and character lists to help you with the many groups and names. They are located at the back of the book to avoid some spoilers. Sneak peek Read the first two chapters Prequ The Silent Unseen is a companion novel to Traitor. If you finish The Silent Unseen and are wondering whether there is more to the story, the answer is yes: Traitor takes place in the same setting at around the same time and centers some of The Silent Unseen's side characters. Both The Silent Unseen and Traitor include glossaries and character lists to help you with the many groups and names. They are located at the back of the book to avoid some spoilers. Sneak peek Read the first two chapters Prequel short story Read a free prequel short story about Kostya and Kyrylo Signed copies You can purchase signed and personalized copies through Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN. Specify "signed copy" in the order notes. US and international shipping available. Content warnings (view spoiler)[Graphic wartime violence including torture anti-Polonism, anti-Ukrainianism, antisemitism, and ethnic slurs (all challenged) PTSD rape (off-page) sexual references alcohol and drug use strong language (hide spoiler)]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay (pawsomereads)

    This was such a gripping story that details a part of World War II that is frequently overlooked. Following the struggle for power between the Soviets, Ukrainians and Poles, this story takes a deep look at human nature, connection and hope. Even though this was a work of fiction, I still feel like I learned so much new information about a period of history that has been covered in so many textbooks and other fictional books. It was definitely a different perspective on WWII than I’ve read about This was such a gripping story that details a part of World War II that is frequently overlooked. Following the struggle for power between the Soviets, Ukrainians and Poles, this story takes a deep look at human nature, connection and hope. Even though this was a work of fiction, I still feel like I learned so much new information about a period of history that has been covered in so many textbooks and other fictional books. It was definitely a different perspective on WWII than I’ve read about before. I absolutely could not put this book down! I read it all in the course of less than 24 hours. It was really well-written and the pacing was fantastic. I didn’t feel like there were really any slow points in the plot at all. It was really easy to connect with all of the characters. I really appreciated Kyrylo’s character arc and the romance subplot between Maria and Kostya was done very well. I love books that are told in dual perspectives and it added so much to the story to have both of their points of view. This is a great book for historical fiction readers who are looking to learn about a different side of WWII. Thank you so much to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    After escaping a Nazi labor camp during World War II, 16 year old Maria discovers that her parents were killed in a war between Polish Resistance and Ukrainian Nationalists. She reunites with her brother, Tomek, but after he goes missing, her only hope of finding him also means trusting her sworn enemy, Ukrainian born Kostya. Will their unlikely bond make them reconsider if they should be enemies just because their countries are? Even though I just received this book yesterday, I've already flown After escaping a Nazi labor camp during World War II, 16 year old Maria discovers that her parents were killed in a war between Polish Resistance and Ukrainian Nationalists. She reunites with her brother, Tomek, but after he goes missing, her only hope of finding him also means trusting her sworn enemy, Ukrainian born Kostya. Will their unlikely bond make them reconsider if they should be enemies just because their countries are? Even though I just received this book yesterday, I've already flown through it. I've read dozens of books set during World War II but this one was unique because it took place in Poland and focused on Polish and Ukrainian characters. Typically, books during this era are set in Britain, France, or Germany and with Russia's current attack on Ukraine, I found this story especially timely. The storyline was strong but overall, I felt like there were too many unlikely coincidences and the ending felt abrupt. If you're looking for another unique WWII setting, I would highly recommend The Girl They Left Behind (5 stars) by Roxanne Veletzos because it's set in Bucharest, Romania and The Last Green Valley (5 stars) by Mark T. Sullivan. Location: Poland I received an advance copy from BookishFirst. All opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    I really loved the setting for this story. While I have read many books about World War II I haven’t read many if any set in Poland focusing on the Polish/Ukrainian/Soviet struggles. I liked the two main characters, but there were times I felt the story moved a little slower than it needed to. I also felt like the ending was very abrupt. Maria is on her way home after 2.5 years in forced labor and she’s going to learn so much has changed. When she was taken she told her parents she would be home I really loved the setting for this story. While I have read many books about World War II I haven’t read many if any set in Poland focusing on the Polish/Ukrainian/Soviet struggles. I liked the two main characters, but there were times I felt the story moved a little slower than it needed to. I also felt like the ending was very abrupt. Maria is on her way home after 2.5 years in forced labor and she’s going to learn so much has changed. When she was taken she told her parents she would be home and she is determined to keep this promise. The other voice of the story is Kostya who was a runner in the Ukrainian militia until things went poorly and he went on the run also trying to go home. The two of them meet and don’t understand just how much they’re on opposing sides. I listened to the audio book of this and the narrator was was great with Maria and not quite as great with Kostya’s voice.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Martin

    This book is amazing. One of my favorite books about World War II. Highly recommend! I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. All opinions are my own. I listened to this on audiobook after I had read the physical book twice. Each time I read it, I am more in awe of the author’s ability to creage such a tightly woven, heartfelt novel. Amanda McCrina has become one of my favorite authors with her simple and meaningful prose, nuanced characters, authentic settings, and ai This book is amazing. One of my favorite books about World War II. Highly recommend! I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. All opinions are my own. I listened to this on audiobook after I had read the physical book twice. Each time I read it, I am more in awe of the author’s ability to creage such a tightly woven, heartfelt novel. Amanda McCrina has become one of my favorite authors with her simple and meaningful prose, nuanced characters, authentic settings, and airtight plots. My only conplaint is that it ended so quickly and I was not prepared to say goodbye to the characters! I need more of Kostya, Maria, Tomek, Tolya, and Kyrylo! All in all, this book is in my top ten books ever written. If I could choose only one historical fiction author to read for the rest pf my life, it would be Amanda McCrina without any hesitation. I absolutely love this book and I will be rereading it for years to uncover more details and more deeply understand the story! I received this audiobook from the publisher through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Amanda McCrina, I freakin' love your work. Hot damn. The only thing that could be better is a collab with Ruta Sepetys since you're both absolute QUEENS of YA historical fiction. 💙💛 / 🤍❤ Side note: I had an advanced reader copy since my library is an ALA/YALSA Teens' Top Ten location site. I'm the teen librarian not a teen but there was an extra copy and I loved Traitor so....had to read it.... Amanda McCrina, I freakin' love your work. Hot damn. The only thing that could be better is a collab with Ruta Sepetys since you're both absolute QUEENS of YA historical fiction. 💙💛 / 🤍❤ Side note: I had an advanced reader copy since my library is an ALA/YALSA Teens' Top Ten location site. I'm the teen librarian not a teen but there was an extra copy and I loved Traitor so....had to read it....

  8. 5 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    Full Review on The Candid Cover 3.5 Stars The Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina is a moving story set in Poland in 1944. As I don’t know as much about the war between the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists, I found this one informative, and I enjoyed the complex character dynamics. While I struggled to keep up with the audiobook at certain points, I still enjoyed the story as a whole and would recommend it to those looking for a historical fiction about hope and humanity. After escaping a Full Review on The Candid Cover 3.5 Stars The Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina is a moving story set in Poland in 1944. As I don’t know as much about the war between the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists, I found this one informative, and I enjoyed the complex character dynamics. While I struggled to keep up with the audiobook at certain points, I still enjoyed the story as a whole and would recommend it to those looking for a historical fiction about hope and humanity. After escaping a labour camp in 1944, Maria returns home to find her village destroyed and her family missing. In the wreckage, she meets Kostya, a Ukrainian prisoner, and her brother, a resistance leader who she presumed was dead. However, when Maria’s brother doesn’t return one day, she is forced to team up with the boy she perceives as the enemy in order to find him, and recognize their similarities along the way. ❀ AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP Maria and Kostya have an interesting dynamic, and I enjoyed their complex relationship with each other. At first, they see themselves as enemies as Kostya is ex-UPA, but as they learn to rely on each other, and to accept each other, they discover an unlikely friendship that is beautiful to read about. Both characters are also fully developed, and the author does an excellent job capturing their complex emotions. ❀ HARD TO FOLLOW AUDIOBOOK In terms of the audio version, I have to admit that I found the story difficult to follow at times. There are many characters to keep track of, and I don’t know much about the UPA or the NKVD, which are pretty central to the story. At the end of the book, there are historical notes and a list of characters, but I would have also appreciated more context throughout the narrative so that I could have an easier time following along. However, this audiobook is also well-produced, and the narrator perfectly captures the high emotions of the story–I just personally feel as though I would have enjoyed this one more in print form. ❀ AN EMOTIONAL STORY The Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina is an emotional story about a part of World War II that I was not as familiar with. I enjoyed this learning experience and the complex main characters, but I also struggled to keep up with the plot at certain points because I was missing some of the context. However, this is still a moving story that is perfect for fans of authors like Ruta Sepetys.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erin Litteken

    THE SILENT UNSEEN is a gripping story of loss, love, and hope with a fascinating dive into an often overlooked part of WW2 history. Maria and Kostya fall on two different sides of a complicated war, but working together is the only way for them to both get what they want. These rich characters immediately drew me into their devastating world, and I loved seeing how, in the midst of so much loss, they not only fought to maintain their humanity, but grew to realize the importance of it. And throug THE SILENT UNSEEN is a gripping story of loss, love, and hope with a fascinating dive into an often overlooked part of WW2 history. Maria and Kostya fall on two different sides of a complicated war, but working together is the only way for them to both get what they want. These rich characters immediately drew me into their devastating world, and I loved seeing how, in the midst of so much loss, they not only fought to maintain their humanity, but grew to realize the importance of it. And throughout all of this, McCrina deftly handled the complexity of their situations and relationships, propelling the story along at a breathtaking pace with her sharp, focused prose. I was lucky enough to read an advance e-book, but I’ve already pre-ordered a physical copy. I know this will be a book I come back to again and again, not only to read and enjoy, but as an example of quality fiction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Tara O'Neil

    Desperate, terrifying circumstances relieved by small acts of mercy -- these are McCrina's stock in trade, and she doubles down even more powerfully on them in this companion novel to TRAITOR. Maria and Kostya are fully-realized, deeply endearing heroes and I feared for their safety on EVERY SINGLE PAGE. Reading this book brought the dire realities of the time period to life, with McCrina's exquisite talent for historical detail. So glad I got to read this one early, and can't wait for the rest Desperate, terrifying circumstances relieved by small acts of mercy -- these are McCrina's stock in trade, and she doubles down even more powerfully on them in this companion novel to TRAITOR. Maria and Kostya are fully-realized, deeply endearing heroes and I feared for their safety on EVERY SINGLE PAGE. Reading this book brought the dire realities of the time period to life, with McCrina's exquisite talent for historical detail. So glad I got to read this one early, and can't wait for the rest of the world to read it. Also, there are several delightful cameos of characters from her first book, which came as a pleasant surprise each time!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Olesya Gilmore

    I read THE SILENT UNSEEN as a beta reader. This is a FANTASTIC companion novel to TRAITOR and, even if you haven’t read Amanda McCrina’s first novel, it is a great book on its own, too. McCrina’s prose always astounds me, it is clean and purposeful, and takes the story quickly from one heart pounding moment to the next. With this story, two unlikely friends set off on a journey through war-torn Eastern Europe to find a missing brother, and forgiveness and acceptance for each other along the way. I read THE SILENT UNSEEN as a beta reader. This is a FANTASTIC companion novel to TRAITOR and, even if you haven’t read Amanda McCrina’s first novel, it is a great book on its own, too. McCrina’s prose always astounds me, it is clean and purposeful, and takes the story quickly from one heart pounding moment to the next. With this story, two unlikely friends set off on a journey through war-torn Eastern Europe to find a missing brother, and forgiveness and acceptance for each other along the way. I loved seeing some of the characters from TRAITOR – and very glad I read this so soon after – and meeting the new characters. Of course, I loved Maria and Kostya, Tomek, and Kyryl the most. The relationship between the two main characters, Maria and Kostya, is poignant because it explores how two people who perceive themselves as enemies can grow and learn to see each other as friends, then as something more, as they not only learn to trust each other, but to see that they aren’t enemies at all, but simply on opposite sides of a conflict beyond them. This idea, of how war turns people against each other, is one of the most compelling themes of McCrina’s works because it’s so relatable to us today, when we look at people different from us. If I could have read this novel in one sitting, I would have. I can’t wait to read the final book!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    4.5 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. WW2 fiction has more or less dominated the historical fiction market for a long time, and I wasn't really looking forward to another book in the same vein. But this book... was not that. Sure, WW2 is the backdrop, but it's about a much more personal (and overlooked) conflict in a newly-Soviet region. T 4.5 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. WW2 fiction has more or less dominated the historical fiction market for a long time, and I wasn't really looking forward to another book in the same vein. But this book... was not that. Sure, WW2 is the backdrop, but it's about a much more personal (and overlooked) conflict in a newly-Soviet region. The characters were great. The narrative voice was excellent. And it uncovered a bit of history I knew little about. It didn't have much to do with the silent unseen, however. So the title's a bit misleading. Anyway, this book is excellent, and my full review will be available at Gateway Reviews on April 8, 2022.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I absolutely loved The Silent Unseen. It is an exciting, informative, and beautifully written piece of historical fiction. The story follows two teenagers Maria and Kostya as they experience enmity, loss, and love in their search for home in war-torn Poland. The story focuses on the complex relationship between Poland and Ukraine before and during WWII. As someone who knows very little about this aspect of WWII history, I found this book to be a very helpful introduction to the topic. The story w I absolutely loved The Silent Unseen. It is an exciting, informative, and beautifully written piece of historical fiction. The story follows two teenagers Maria and Kostya as they experience enmity, loss, and love in their search for home in war-torn Poland. The story focuses on the complex relationship between Poland and Ukraine before and during WWII. As someone who knows very little about this aspect of WWII history, I found this book to be a very helpful introduction to the topic. The story was immersive, containing beautiful and heartbreaking depictions of the landscapes and lives ruined by war. I could have read this book much faster, but I found myself intentionally showing down to savor the storytelling and feel the emotional tension of the characters. My only disappointment was with the abrupt ending. I do not mind when books are slightly open-ended, but I would have liked just a few more pages to resolve some of the conflict that was built up in the proceeding chapters. Otherwise, I thought the pacing of the story was great. Thoroughly researched and brilliantly written, I enjoyed reading this book and I will certainly come back to it again in the future. Note: This book depicts some of the atrocities of war and complexities of political alliances which might be difficult for younger readers of the genre.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shmuel Yaccoby

    Dynamic plot and remarkable main characters A turning point dialogue: “Tomek.” My heart was closed like a fist. “Tomek—they killed Mama and Papa. You told me. You told me what they did.” His face was inscrutable as always. “I know.” “How can you even think about working together? How can you even—” “Because it’s the only way we survive. Any of us.” The plot is dynamic throughout the entire book, with sharp, living dialogues, sometimes emotional, to the point you feel you become part of the scene. Dynamic plot and remarkable main characters A turning point dialogue: “Tomek.” My heart was closed like a fist. “Tomek—they killed Mama and Papa. You told me. You told me what they did.” His face was inscrutable as always. “I know.” “How can you even think about working together? How can you even—” “Because it’s the only way we survive. Any of us.” The plot is dynamic throughout the entire book, with sharp, living dialogues, sometimes emotional, to the point you feel you become part of the scene. The building relationship between Maria and Kostya is an artwork. The driven mission of each one of them was to find and take care of their beloved, close family members; missions that make all the characters living humans. A powerful, smoothly written story with engaging characters. More than Maria, as one of the main characters, her brother, Tomek, has a fascinating, pragmatic character as well. A minor criticism I have about Maria’s thoughts, some of which sound too mature to her age, but that could be authentic if she indeed underwent a life-changing experience during WWII at a young age. Soon as I started reading early on April 2022, the strong association with the ongoing, devastating war in Ukraine. What a timing! The tense relationships between the Ukraine and Polish resistance groups, while they are both facing the Soviet Red army in 1944, looks contrasting and different from the 2022 war whereby the Polish people do anything in their power to help the Ukrainians against Russia. This association gave the book an extra depth.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Larissa

    I wasn’t sure I could pick this one up with everything going on in the world currently. However, I’m so glad I didn’t put it off. I devoured this one in a matter of hours. I physically couldn’t put it down. This novel is brilliant. It shows WWII from a different perspective—a Polish and Ukrainian one. It reminded me of how far reaching the War was and how many different groups were involved. It taught me completely new things that I had never even heard of before. This book is emotional. It’s hea I wasn’t sure I could pick this one up with everything going on in the world currently. However, I’m so glad I didn’t put it off. I devoured this one in a matter of hours. I physically couldn’t put it down. This novel is brilliant. It shows WWII from a different perspective—a Polish and Ukrainian one. It reminded me of how far reaching the War was and how many different groups were involved. It taught me completely new things that I had never even heard of before. This book is emotional. It’s heavy. The loss, confusion, heartbreak, numbness, and hope are so tangible. I think this author helps the reader really understand the intricacies of these emotions, especially during a time where these emotions run very high. She also made me understand how things aren’t so black and white. Like, I really loved both characters and my heart broke for both of them. You can’t help but want them to overcome everything they’ve been through. You want them to understand and forgive, because you get the bigger picture of everything that led to that moment. She has a talent for capturing not just the horror, sadness, and grief, but also the hope, the desire to fight, and the will to survive. Seriously, this one will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Honestly, while I was reading it I couldn’t believe that I’ve been watching something similar start time unfold before my eyes. Unfortunately, we seem to be doomed to repeat our past. I think books like these force ourselves to confront the past, acknowledge it, and push us to do better. Be better. Strive to not repeat the same mistakes. I’m so, so glad I was able to read this book. Thank you for sharing it with me. I can’t wait for it to be released and shared with the world. I will also be purchasing this author’s first book, “Traitor”, because I was so impressed with her writing. If you’re a fan of Ruta Sepetys, especially her new book “I Must Betray You”, then I highly recommend this book! Or, if you’re a fan of “Code Name Verity”, then definitely give this one a shot. If you’re a lover of historical fiction in general, or even if you’re not, read this book. I truly think that every reader will not be disappointed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Permanently_Booked

    1940s Poland during WWII. It's almost a if there is no need to say more... but there is so much more. This beautiful work of historical fiction is told in dual POVs between Maria and Kostya. Maria is searching for her brother, Tomek, after she escaped a labor camp. I found her character easy to become emotionally invested in. The building connection between her and Kostya was well done and not overarching. Kostya played an integral role in breaking the bridge between enemy and connection during 1940s Poland during WWII. It's almost a if there is no need to say more... but there is so much more. This beautiful work of historical fiction is told in dual POVs between Maria and Kostya. Maria is searching for her brother, Tomek, after she escaped a labor camp. I found her character easy to become emotionally invested in. The building connection between her and Kostya was well done and not overarching. Kostya played an integral role in breaking the bridge between enemy and connection during wartime. Laura Jennings narrates the audio for this novel. While I loved the immersive experience, I felt some of the narration was read in the same manner across the board of characters. It was not a negative experience, I would've preferred more emotional depth and voice distinction however. This novel is a look into a part of history I have not experienced in most of my reading. It's also an unfolding maze of human character and the kindling of hope. I like having a sense for what the book is attempting to portray in the narrative but felt it didn't completely hit the mark for me in audio format the way I had hoped. Overall, I was gripped by the context and depth in this novel. I enjoyed the mixture of historical and suspense that kept me engaged and the beauty of connection. I can only imagine how captivating Traitor will be. Thank you to @macmillan.audio and Fierce Reads for providing me the ability to fully experience McCrina's work. All thoughts are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    Thank you to Bookish First and the publisher for my free copy of The Silent Unseen in exchange for an honest review! I don’t remember entering this raffle. I also don’t regret the read, even if it ultimately fell flat for me I am a terribly myopic history reader, so a book about WW2 era Ukraine + Poland + Russia was hard to put into context.  Apparently the Germans were mining the area for slave labor and worse, and once they left, the Russians were coming in to mop up the forces still fighting ( Thank you to Bookish First and the publisher for my free copy of The Silent Unseen in exchange for an honest review! I don’t remember entering this raffle. I also don’t regret the read, even if it ultimately fell flat for me I am a terribly myopic history reader, so a book about WW2 era Ukraine + Poland + Russia was hard to put into context.  Apparently the Germans were mining the area for slave labor and worse, and once they left, the Russians were coming in to mop up the forces still fighting (Polish transplants vs native Ukrainians)? This is the setting, with Maria and Kostya on two very different sides of what seem like the same page, yet having to work together. Both had villages ruined by war, dead family, and were fighting for whatever they had left. ... I feel like this book is SUPER YA and missed it’s emotional impact due to the rushed and somewhat silly romance and ending. While I learned of some of the horrors (forced labor and murders and kidnappings and such) that happened, I had trouble with the broader historical context. First let me say a few good things.  It was a quick read and the action (if not confusing at times) was constant.  I couldn’t keep the three resistance/military groups apart in my head very well without understanding their conflict and governmental reach.  It was an exciting plot though and I would like to know more about this area during the end of WW2. Also I liked the characters.  Maria was brave and a little silly at times (like a teen) but I liked that she and Kostya showed both their strong and scared kid sides.  That made them feel like real people. I wasn’t buying the romance though, not one bit, not at all. Even becoming friends would have been challenging for the two main characters, and meaningful, but they hadn’t even trusted each other before they started having feelings and it went from enemy to romance nearly instantaneously. I also think the book wrapped up super quickly like it just glossed over the plot points towards the end, not explaining a lot.of things, and then ended. Maybe there’s meant to be a sequel but this ending was just silly to me and felt like it shrugged off the gravity of the rest of the novel.  That said though, the author probably did not want to leave YA readers feeling depressed afterwards so she gave all of the characters something to be hopeful about. I didn’t dislike it but didn’t love it either. Would recommend for YA / WW2 readers who like YA romance elements.  The content (minus some violent acts and descriptions of violent acts) is appropriate for the age group and I think she left a lot of room for a sequel in Kostya’s storyline.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Thank you to Bookish First for a finished copy, I received it through winning a raffle in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This was fine. I feel like I was missing big pieces of history so I don't know how to place the events of the novel in the scope of the war. Rep: Polish cishet female MC, Ukrainian cishet male MC, various Polish, Ukrainian and Soviet side characters. CWs: War, death, gun violence, torture, violence, xenophobia, death of parent, murder, body horror, confin Thank you to Bookish First for a finished copy, I received it through winning a raffle in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This was fine. I feel like I was missing big pieces of history so I don't know how to place the events of the novel in the scope of the war. Rep: Polish cishet female MC, Ukrainian cishet male MC, various Polish, Ukrainian and Soviet side characters. CWs: War, death, gun violence, torture, violence, xenophobia, death of parent, murder, body horror, confinement, genocide, racial slurs, racism, blood, medical content, injury/injury detail, kidnapping, grief. Moderate: Cursing, antisemitism. Minor: sexual assault.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kera’s Always Reading

    I read this one in a day and I absolutely LOVED it. Kostya and Maria found this beautiful connection in the gravest of circumstances. Historical fiction isn’t something I gravitate towards and I am so glad that I did. Amanda McCrina wove a heart wrenching story about the cost of war, the love of family and what people will do to protect it. This really was a beautiful read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Becca Mee

    Okay, so I want to preface this by saying that I really think the story, the history and the themes of this book are so very important and need to be told. As a piece of historical fiction, you can tell the author does her homework with the research, and it brings to light a side of WW2 history that I never knew about before. And the author is a very talented writer, that is to be sure. The reason this book was rated 3 stars as opposed to 4 stars is that I listened to the audiobook ARC and the n Okay, so I want to preface this by saying that I really think the story, the history and the themes of this book are so very important and need to be told. As a piece of historical fiction, you can tell the author does her homework with the research, and it brings to light a side of WW2 history that I never knew about before. And the author is a very talented writer, that is to be sure. The reason this book was rated 3 stars as opposed to 4 stars is that I listened to the audiobook ARC and the narrator just didn't do it for me. The book lost my attention and didn't grip me for this reason, so I wasn't fully immersed in the story in a way that would make me give it a higher rating. I would have done A LOT better reading this in print, I think. And the ending felt really abrupt. Is this supposed to be a series? Because I thought it was a standalone which kind of threw me off.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Silent Unseen: A Novel of World War II by Amanda McCrina and audiobook Narrated by Laura Jennings is a gripping, complex, and fascinating book that takes us into a world that has fallen into chaos during and after WWII. This is the second book I have experienced by Ms. McCrina ( the first I read called The Traitor), and she takes us yet again into a place that just oozes instability, upheaval, confusion, loss, fear, and chaos. This book includes multiple political and idealogical groups such The Silent Unseen: A Novel of World War II by Amanda McCrina and audiobook Narrated by Laura Jennings is a gripping, complex, and fascinating book that takes us into a world that has fallen into chaos during and after WWII. This is the second book I have experienced by Ms. McCrina ( the first I read called The Traitor), and she takes us yet again into a place that just oozes instability, upheaval, confusion, loss, fear, and chaos. This book includes multiple political and idealogical groups such as the Polish Resistance and Ukrainian nationalists. This is a work of fiction, but the information included within the book gives us a background and insight into some of these real groups and people. It is told in alternating points of view, which really adds to the scope and the overall dimensions of the window that we get into peering into this world. There is mystery, suspense, a bit of romance, and I loved listening to it. The narrator did a fantastic job. 5/5 Thank you NG and A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 4/5/22.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristy Johnston

    This story is dual point of view from the perspective of Maria in first person and Kostya in third person. Each chapter has the narrator’s name labelled and this format works well with the story. Maria is Polish and has just been released from a German work camp, travelling home amidst the chaos of warring factions hoping that her family will still be there. Kostya has been working with his cousin and others with the Ukrainian nationalist movement. They meet under stressful circumstances and tho This story is dual point of view from the perspective of Maria in first person and Kostya in third person. Each chapter has the narrator’s name labelled and this format works well with the story. Maria is Polish and has just been released from a German work camp, travelling home amidst the chaos of warring factions hoping that her family will still be there. Kostya has been working with his cousin and others with the Ukrainian nationalist movement. They meet under stressful circumstances and though their nationalities mean they are sworn enemies they embark on quite the adventure together. I found their journey compelling and the best part of the book. While I felt the characters had strong personalities, I think they were also a bit contradictory, or maybe I was just confused by what was going on. I don’t think there were too many characters, but they all had unclear loyalties and relationships. The book included Germans, Polish, Ukrainians, Soviets and referred to several military groups NKVD, Polish Resistance, Ukrainian Insurgent Army, etc. There’s a good index and a list of the characters in the back of the book that is useful; however, it doesn’t explain the relationships between all the factions which was necessary for context and I don’t feel like the story satisfactorily explained those details that were needed to understand the motivations and loyalties of the characters, especially since several of the characters appeared to be spying on their own factions or just plain double agents. Overall, while well written with remarkable characters, the book read like a supplement to a history lesson that I didn’t attend. The story also ends rather abruptly. I was attracted to this book because I wanted to learn more about the history of the region, but I don’t feel like I learned anything significant. Thank you to Bookish First and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the free copy provided for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jacquelyn Covington

    This book was so amazing!! Told in dual perspective from both Maria and Kostya, this historical fiction read is a gripping story from two different sides of a complicated war. It is set in Poland during July 1944 and follows Maria, a 16 year old returning home after 3 years served in Nazi Germany labor camp. Returning home, she discovers her town has been destroyed and her parents killed in a war between Polish Resistance and Ukrainian Nationalists. When her brother Tomek also goes missing, Mari This book was so amazing!! Told in dual perspective from both Maria and Kostya, this historical fiction read is a gripping story from two different sides of a complicated war. It is set in Poland during July 1944 and follows Maria, a 16 year old returning home after 3 years served in Nazi Germany labor camp. Returning home, she discovers her town has been destroyed and her parents killed in a war between Polish Resistance and Ukrainian Nationalists. When her brother Tomek also goes missing, Maria has no choice but to leave her trust in her sworn enemy, Ukrainian born Kostya in order to find him. It is being advertised as a YA novel but is also a wonderful read for adult readers, as well! At 320 pages, this is a quick read that leaves a whole lot of impact. It's enjoyable, the characters are all well-developed and the pacing is fantastic! This book deserves to get so much attention right now--especially with what is currently happening in Ukraine. This book carries a lot of insight and history of the country. It not only taught me a lot about a different perspective from WWII but also left me with a feeling of hope and connection.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brinley

    Not sure why, but this one didn't resonate with me. I didn't have super high expectations for it, but I did expect to enjoy it. I didn't hate it, but I was also pleased to be done with it. I think my main problem with this was how chaotic it was. There were so many different militias and characters and allegiances running around. None of them were distinct enough to seem remarkable, they just existed. So the entire time, I was just confused. Twists didn't feel like twists because I didn't unders Not sure why, but this one didn't resonate with me. I didn't have super high expectations for it, but I did expect to enjoy it. I didn't hate it, but I was also pleased to be done with it. I think my main problem with this was how chaotic it was. There were so many different militias and characters and allegiances running around. None of them were distinct enough to seem remarkable, they just existed. So the entire time, I was just confused. Twists didn't feel like twists because I didn't understand their relevance. While partly due to a lack of knowledge on my part, I'd also attribute it to the messiness of the storytelling. As for the romance, it was utterly unremarkable. Somehow both instalove and nonexistent, it didn't bug me, but it definitely isn't a reason to read this. So, while not a bad book, also not a great one. I'm learning I'm not the biggest fan of YA Historical fiction, so part of that is on me. Thanks to BookishFirst for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maddy

    This book was a breath of fresh air. There are countless stories centered around WWII, but this is the first time I've come across that wasn't based around England, America, or Germany. Reading this book, though it may be fictional, enlightened me to aspects of history regarding both Poland and Ukraine that I never knew before. The American education system tends to be singularly focused, so I'm very happy this book landed in my hands and I was able to become familiar with another perspective in This book was a breath of fresh air. There are countless stories centered around WWII, but this is the first time I've come across that wasn't based around England, America, or Germany. Reading this book, though it may be fictional, enlightened me to aspects of history regarding both Poland and Ukraine that I never knew before. The American education system tends to be singularly focused, so I'm very happy this book landed in my hands and I was able to become familiar with another perspective in history. The story itself was gripping from the get-go. I picked up the book to get one or two chapters in before bed and found myself on the edge of my seat until the last page. The characters are immediately likeable, and their strained relationships make for great tension that carries through the entire book. I think my only gripe was the romance. I was definitely interested in Maria and Kostya's dynamic from their first interaction, but I felt the development of their romantic feelings was rushed. I wish there had been more time for their dynamic to develop since, even though I was rooting for them, I still feel like they could have just as easily remained friends. All in all, this is an extremely exciting, informative read. I'm happy I got the opportunity to read it when I did and look forward to diving into the author's backlist.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Patty (IheartYA311)

    Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina was was a mediocre read for me. I will admit I am not a big fan of the historical fiction genre, but overall the story fell flat. I did find myself unintentionally comparing this to the work of Ruta Sepetys as the tone of this book is very similar. The writing is decent but the character development was lacking. I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters, and they felt emotionless to the point of being mechanical. There were a few twists I did not see Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina was was a mediocre read for me. I will admit I am not a big fan of the historical fiction genre, but overall the story fell flat. I did find myself unintentionally comparing this to the work of Ruta Sepetys as the tone of this book is very similar. The writing is decent but the character development was lacking. I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters, and they felt emotionless to the point of being mechanical. There were a few twists I did not see coming that made it more entertaining. The world building and setting for the time period seemed to be fleshed out well, but unfortunately these were the only aspects of the book that I enjoyed. I am giving 3 stars for effort, as it seems the author really did try and had a unique idea for the plot, but realistically this would have been a 2 star rating for me. Thank you to Bookish First for offering this book in their collection. **Looking to make new book friends? Join LiterALLy BOOKiSh on Facebook to read reviews, play games, join discussions and more! **Bookstagram/Instagram: @Iheartya311

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    The Silent Unseen follows Polish Maria as she tries to track down her brother whom she thought was dead. Thrown into the mix is Kostya, a Ukranian, sworn enemy of Poland during World War II. They have to work together in order to find Maria's brother. To be honest, I had a really hard time getting into this book. I will admit that historical fiction isn't my genre, but I generally enjoy YA historical fiction. However, this one just didn't snag me like other YA historical fiction books. I don't kn The Silent Unseen follows Polish Maria as she tries to track down her brother whom she thought was dead. Thrown into the mix is Kostya, a Ukranian, sworn enemy of Poland during World War II. They have to work together in order to find Maria's brother. To be honest, I had a really hard time getting into this book. I will admit that historical fiction isn't my genre, but I generally enjoy YA historical fiction. However, this one just didn't snag me like other YA historical fiction books. I don't know if it was the writing. I think it was beautifully written. It could have been the characters or the narrator. I can't seem to pinpoint one reason why this book kept losing my interest. However, I read it because I think there might be a niche of students who will be interested in this kind of story and now I will be able to recommend it to them. In this end, while I appreciate the importance of a story like this, this book wasn't one of my favorites. Usually I don't have bad things to say about audiobook narrators, but I found Laura Jennings to be rather boring at times. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ALC.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    Can I just say I have never been so tense reading a book in my whole life?!!! This was a wonderfully executed, and gripping, fast paced story about two likeable characters who are pitted against one another because they are fighting on two different sides of the war. Both of our main characters felt like real people and I was terrified for them on almost every page. I have not read such "real" characters in quite a long time, and I was impressed with the authors ability to make me care about th Can I just say I have never been so tense reading a book in my whole life?!!! This was a wonderfully executed, and gripping, fast paced story about two likeable characters who are pitted against one another because they are fighting on two different sides of the war. Both of our main characters felt like real people and I was terrified for them on almost every page. I have not read such "real" characters in quite a long time, and I was impressed with the authors ability to make me care about them both. I'm not usually a fan of dual perspective books because I usually like one more than the other, and can't wait to get back to the one narrative that I like. This was not the case with this story! Both were excellently plotted and paced and I raced through to the finish line because I had to know how their story would work out. I quite like this cover and I think it makes the book look interesting enough to take off the shelf.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jan Miller

    The Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina is a gripping WWII novel. The author wrote the book with the setting of Poland/Urkraine/Russia area. The characters were remarkable with their devotion to country and family and need to survive. I really enjoyed how the author brought the area to light in this book. Typically I hear stories of other areas in Europe, and I appreciated this new view and perspective. Laura Jennings was fantastic performing the book. She gave the characters distinguishable voices, The Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina is a gripping WWII novel. The author wrote the book with the setting of Poland/Urkraine/Russia area. The characters were remarkable with their devotion to country and family and need to survive. I really enjoyed how the author brought the area to light in this book. Typically I hear stories of other areas in Europe, and I appreciated this new view and perspective. Laura Jennings was fantastic performing the book. She gave the characters distinguishable voices, and I could envision so many details and know who was speaking. The accents she gave the characters sounded authentic to my ears. Thank you #NetGalley and #Macmillan Audio for allowing me to listen to this pre-release audiobook! I loved it!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    Search for Tomak A story of war in all it's horrible cruelty. Heartbreaking and tragic it tells the story of the struggle between several different groups during the war in Poland. I didn't know there were so many different ones fighting against each other. It appears there was the German's, the Soviets, the resistance, The Polish Army, and the SOE trained agents known as the Silent Unseen. The time is 1944, the place is Poland. Maria is returning home after spending some years doing forced labor Search for Tomak A story of war in all it's horrible cruelty. Heartbreaking and tragic it tells the story of the struggle between several different groups during the war in Poland. I didn't know there were so many different ones fighting against each other. It appears there was the German's, the Soviets, the resistance, The Polish Army, and the SOE trained agents known as the Silent Unseen. The time is 1944, the place is Poland. Maria is returning home after spending some years doing forced labor in Nazi Germany. She finds her home has been destroyed during the war. She saves the life of a boy her age at a farm house and they are captured by a group of fighters. She learns he is the enemy and is taken prisoner. She finds her brother she was looking for is the leader. Then Tomak goes on a journey to try and make peace with another group and does not come back. Maria needs to journey to find him, but the only person that can help her is the young prisoner. This is a book of what war does to people, how it destroys homes, people and lives. It show the ugly of the war and the courage of those living in that time in history. How a person will do or say almost anything to save a loved one. I listened to the audio book and the narrator was excellent. The quality of the sound and the settings were very well described and the story was told in a way that I could understand. It is so sad in parts and happy in others. I loved the ending. It was an interesting book about the war in Poland and the Normandy landing of the allies. I did enjoy the book and I would recommend it. Thanks to Amanda McCrina for writing a great story, to Laura Jennings for an excellent narration, to Macmillan Audio for publishing it and to NetGalley for making it available to me.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.