Official Review: The Strength of Wills by Allen Walker

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
Post Reply
User avatar
Mercy Bolo
Posts: 1217
Joined: 31 May 2017, 03:44
2019 Reading Goal: 144
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 2
2018 Reading Goal: 48
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 118
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 10262">The Wisdom and Peace of the Teachings of the Tao Te Ching</a>
Currently Reading: Burn Zones
Bookshelf Size: 192
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mercy-bolo.html
Latest Review: Cracked Piano by Margo Taft Stever

Official Review: The Strength of Wills by Allen Walker

Post by Mercy Bolo » 12 Sep 2018, 01:15

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Strength of Wills" by Allen Walker.]
Book Cover
4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


In Allen Walker's The Strength of Wills, he takes the reader on a fictitious historical journey through Poland, Germany, and France at the height of WWII. The book's events span a period of 3 years, from 1939 to 1941.

The protagonist is Jedrek, a polish teenager who finds himself in a precarious position after a bomb destroys the only home he's ever known, taking his dear mother's life in the explosion. With nothing left, Jedrek has no time to grieve as he's injured and has to flee to save his young life. He teams up with Viktor, a much older ex-military officer with whom he journeys into the unknown. Although an unusual pair, the two form a bond that's as close as that of father and son. They learn from each other, with Jedrek doing most of the learning, they risk their lives for each other, and they look out for each other. Their resilience and ingenuity shine through, helping them overcome the challenges that life hurls at them.

The Strength of Wills being Walker's first novel, I was impressed by its quality of writing. He presents the story in the form of journal entries, which made it possible to put the events into perspective. Sprinkled throughout the book are hand-drawn maps detailing Jedrek and Viktor's journey. These add a personal touch to the book, and even those with limited knowledge about Europe's geography will smoothly sail through. The author's mastery of language will captivate any keen reader, especially when the naive Jedrek hears Victor use "big" words and can't comprehend them. The book also contains phrases in German and French, but these need not be a deterrent to anyone who isn't proficient in these languages because the author provides translations. I also found the many footnotes useful as they provided valuable additional information.

Outside the cocoon of Jedrek and Viktor's individual lives, the author paints a realistic picture of the events of wartime. Death and destruction are rampant; lawlessness prevails, and it all boils down to every man for himself. The author doesn't shy away from narrating the horrors that the Nazis rained on perceived enemies, even giving insight into what went down inside the concentration camps. The psychological torture that these events have on a young mind is also evident, and I couldn't help but feel sorry for the many who remained scarred for life after their innocence was ripped away by these harrowing events. Also explored is sexuality and how it manifests in times of war. On this topic, the author hits the nail on the head, telling of soldiers whose perversion led them to prey on young boys.

Overall, the book is well-edited with several errors, mostly misspelled words, which didn't detract from the story. It's an insightful read which deserves a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it to lovers of European history, WWII enthusiasts, and lovers of historical fiction.

******
The Strength of Wills
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like Mercy Bolo's review? Post a comment saying so!
"The minimum requirement for a dream is a safe place to lay your head."
~OluTimehin Adegbeye

User avatar
Debjani Ghosh
Posts: 670
Joined: 18 May 2018, 05:51
2018 Reading Goal: 24
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 162
Favorite Book: The Lord Of The Rings
Currently Reading: The Evacuees
Bookshelf Size: 86
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-debjani-ghosh.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Post by Debjani Ghosh » 13 Sep 2018, 01:29

I am sold on your review to pick up this book (if it's available at a discounted price :p). So many books pictured on WWII focus too much upon the war. I am glad that this book depicts an endearing relationship between a young boy and a middle-aged man, relying on each other to survive through the war. Thanks for the great review!

User avatar
Rosemary Khathibe
Posts: 493
Joined: 05 Jul 2017, 16:48
2018 Reading Goal: 55
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 47
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 66
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rosemary-khathibe.html
Latest Review: Robotic Warriors by Caglar Juan Singletary

Post by Rosemary Khathibe » 13 Sep 2018, 02:47

Wow,I wish I had a friendship like that of Jedrek and Viktor, the relationship so strong and inspiring! Even though I'm not a fan of historical fiction, the story seems interesting. Awesome review!

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 7034
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2019 Reading Goal: 95
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 17
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 94
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: The Royal Trials
Bookshelf Size: 253
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: Raven Dock by Sara Caldwell

Post by kandscreeley » 13 Sep 2018, 08:19

Wow! This seems quite well-done and realistic. I feel sorry for Jedrek and all he lost, but there are many that did lose much in that war. Thanks so much for the review. I'll have to put this one on my list.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

420waystoreachthesun
Posts: 200
Joined: 20 Mar 2018, 11:47
Currently Reading: Bomb Goggles
Bookshelf Size: 50
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-420waystoreachthesun.html
Latest Review: The Complete Thief Series: Boxed Set by Michael Dirubio

Post by 420waystoreachthesun » 14 Sep 2018, 08:08

I love war narratives and I love your review. definitely going for this one.

User avatar
PIerce32265
Posts: 11
Joined: 29 Jul 2018, 01:36
2018 Reading Goal: 1000
Currently Reading: Never Say Never - Free Preview
Bookshelf Size: 81
Reading Device: B00I15SB16

Post by PIerce32265 » 26 Sep 2018, 21:30

The characters were Jedrek and Viktor,their journeys into the unknown,limited to knowledge and Europe's geography will smoothly sail through their was a bomb that kill Jedrek mother's in the explosion.Viktor was an old ex-military officer,they going through this journey and hurls together.They also contains phrases in German,French.although the events of wartime,death,destruction. The book was telling how soldiers perversion to prey on young boysIn the war of time ,how it manifests in times of war.

User avatar
jemgirl202
Posts: 838
Joined: 17 Feb 2016, 15:33
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 12
2017 Reading Goal: 10
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 80
Currently Reading: The Fellowship of the Ring
Bookshelf Size: 826
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-jemgirl202.html
Latest Review: A Crowded Heart by Andrea McKenzie Raine

Post by jemgirl202 » 19 Jan 2019, 12:03

This sounds like a phenomenal World War II fiction that does not neglect the horrors that occurred in this time. I am glad the writing is realistic and goes into depth. Congrats on the book of the day! Great review.

User avatar
Ruba Abu Ali
Posts: 623
Joined: 01 Jul 2018, 09:47
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 85
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ruba-abu-ali.html
Latest Review: Unfinished business by Lacrecia Hillis

Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 19 Jan 2019, 12:06

I am a fan of war narratives and historical fiction. Thanks for the thorough review.

User avatar
Mabel6
Posts: 278
Joined: 23 Apr 2018, 10:35
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 60
Currently Reading: Final Notice
Bookshelf Size: 69
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mabel6.html
Latest Review: Toni the Superhero by R.D. Base

Post by Mabel6 » 19 Jan 2019, 12:08

Not a fan of historical fiction or books on WWII. With realistic writing, superb details, and lots of emotion I’m sure the right audience will appreciate this one.

User avatar
Mmg8464
Posts: 149
Joined: 02 Jul 2016, 10:46
2019 Reading Goal: 60
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 11
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Currently Reading: Gringo
Bookshelf Size: 283
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mmg8464.html

Post by Mmg8464 » 19 Jan 2019, 12:13

I love historical books and war stories. It breaks my heart to read about the people's suffering and at the same time I feel proud and inspired by stories of resilience and heroism. This seems like a good story about two unlikely people forming a bond during the world war. I loved your review!

User avatar
Kister Bless
Posts: 281
Joined: 16 May 2017, 10:12
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 36
2017 Reading Goal: 0
Currently Reading: Strong Heart
Bookshelf Size: 57
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kister-bless.html
Latest Review: The Lost Identity Casualties by Kim Ekemar

Post by Kister Bless » 19 Jan 2019, 12:18

Am intrigued by The Strength of Wills by Allen Walker because of the idea of the world war two in the book considering that historical fiction is my type of genre. Am thrilled by Jedrek's story and so I will definitely read this book. Great review!

User avatar
Kister Bless
Posts: 281
Joined: 16 May 2017, 10:12
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 36
2017 Reading Goal: 0
Currently Reading: Strong Heart
Bookshelf Size: 57
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kister-bless.html
Latest Review: The Lost Identity Casualties by Kim Ekemar

Post by Kister Bless » 19 Jan 2019, 12:19

Am intrigued by The Strength of Wills by Allen Walker because of the idea of the world war two in the book considering that historical fiction is my type of genre. Am thrilled by Jedrek's story and so I will definitely read this book. Great review!

User avatar
a9436
Posts: 214
Joined: 07 Jul 2018, 13:18
2019 Reading Goal: 12
Currently Reading: The Redbreast
Bookshelf Size: 71
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-a9436.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing

Post by a9436 » 19 Jan 2019, 12:20

Most stories set in WWII automatically interest me, but your review makes this one seem exceptionally good. I am looking forward to reading more about Jedrek's story.

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 1853
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 153
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: Animated Principle by Darin Graves

Post by Cecilia_L » 19 Jan 2019, 12:23

I really like the premise of this relationship-based novel. It's great to know the writing is well-done. Thanks for the recommendation!

User avatar
bb587
Posts: 441
Joined: 26 Mar 2018, 08:14
2019 Reading Goal: 60
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 5
Favorite Book: Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1)
Currently Reading: Flamecaster (Shattered Realms, #1)
Bookshelf Size: 65
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bb587.html
Latest Review: Sex, Lies, and High School Queens by Zachary Ryan

Post by bb587 » 19 Jan 2019, 12:24

This book seems well-written and thoroughly thought out. Unfortunately, I don't enjoy books about war times. Still, Jedrek sounds resilient and inspiring.

Post Reply

Return to “Historical Fiction”