*This is a spoiler-free review.
♡ Book Title: Max.
♡ Author: Sarah Cohen-Scali.
♡ Series: Standalone.
♡ Page Count: 432 Pages (Paperback).
♡ Genres: Young Adult & Historical Fiction.
♡ Rating: 🌟🌟 and a half stars.
*I was provided with a copy by Pan Macmillan SA for an honest review.
Meet Max—it’s 1936, Bavaria, and he’s still a fetus inside his blonde, blue-eyed mother. Utterly indoctrinated in the Nazi ideology, he will address you, tell you his story until 1945—his destiny as an exceptional being, the prototype of the ‘Lebensborn’ (Fountains of Youth) program, designed to produce perfect specimens of the Aryan race to regenerate the Reich. When Max meets Lukas, a young Polish boy who resembles him but who rebels against the Nazi system, cracks starts to appear in Max’s convictions…
I like reading historical fiction from this time period – World War II, I find it interesting and I am mostly interested in the German side of things. I don’t know why, just call me curious. So when I was presented with the opportunity to read more about the Lebensborn program and what happens afterwards I was totally intrigued. And so I began reading Max with loads of excitement, but the excitement quickly faded into disappointment.
Despite the range of receptacles, they’re all handpicked and the final result is a unique product: us, the army of the future.
The book starts of with Max being a mere fetus in his “surrogate” moms womb, were he proceeds to inform the reader about the program and how this will create the perfect and ideal German race. From the get go the language that is used is extremely crass and unappealing – rape is mentioned as if it is an every day occurrence and swearing is the norm. Normally swearing doesn’t bother me in books, but keep in mind that we are reading this from the perspective of a fetus.
Throughout the book the swearing and crass language gets worse and there are loads of talks about defecation and more rape. I felt that the importance of the situation would have come across just as clearly were there less swearing and even better explanations of events that occurred. Towards the end, I did however feel like the book started to redeem itself, despite the crass descriptions.
The second half is definitely more emotional and loads of character development occurred during this stage of the book.
Max is our main character and narrator of the story and it is safe to say that I didn’t like him. Even before birth he was brainwashed with German propaganda and once he was born he had this air of arrogance about himself. Max never learned how to think for himself, he was always given instructions and that is sadly how he lived his life. I do feel that he did experience some character growth towards the end, but that he’ll have a hard type adapting.
Lukas brought some body to the story. He was definitely a welcome addition and I really liked his character in the story. Lukas had a sad story, one that managed to evoke some emotion after the rest of the book left me with very little.
Perhaps, in the end, ‘men’ and ‘monster’ amount to the same thing.
This book and the story was good, but the way it was executed was just a bit too much. I wanted to have more emotions while reading, but I didn’t and that was kinda disappointing.
- The book and story was still good and learning about the Germanization process was interesting.
- Lukas was the saving grace in terms of emotions and characters.
- The language was unnecessarily crass.
- It was weird reading about rape and other such things from the perspective of a fetus, reading anything from that perspective was kinda weird.
- Max was a spineless character who I didn’t really care for.
- It had loads more potential.
*With better writing and more emotions.
If you are interested in this topic and don’t mind exuberant amounts of swearing then I think you might find this enjoyable.