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.Title: The Silent Unseen
Author: Amanda McCrina
Narrator: Laura Jennings
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Genres: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
A mesmerizing historical audiobook of suspense and intrigue about a teenage girl who risks everything to save her missing brother.
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.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: The Silent Unseen by Amanda McCrina
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.