The Book of Uriel is an intriguing blend of Jewish folklore and the tragic events of World War II seen through the eyes of a ten-year-old mute boy. A story like nothing I have read before that will keep you turning the pages.

This review is part of the amazing TheWriteReads blog tour and I thank the author and the organizer for sending me a copy of the book.

Title: The Book of Uriel

Author: Elysse Hoffman

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Publication date: January 26, 2021

Rating: 4.5



Book description

In the fires of World War II, a child must save his people from darkness… Ten-year-old Uriel has always been an outcast. Born mute in a Jewish village known for its choir, he escapes into old stories of his people, stories of angels and monsters. But when the fires of the Holocaust consume his village, he learns that the stories he writes in his golden notebook are terrifyingly real. In the aftermath of the attack, Uriel is taken in by Uwe, a kind-hearted linguist forced to work for the commander of the local Nazi Police, the affably brutal Major Brandt. Uwe wants to keep Uriel safe, but Uriel can’t stay hidden. The angels of his tales have come to him with a dire message: Michael, guardian angel of the Jewish people, is missing. Without their angel, the Jewish people are doomed, and Michael’s angelic brethren cannot search for him in the lands corrupted by Nazi evil. With the lives of millions at stake, Uriel must find Michael and free him from the clutches of the Angel of Death…even if that means putting Uwe in mortal danger. The Book of Uriel is a heartbreaking blend of historical fiction and Jewish folklore that will enthrall fans of The Book Thief and The World That We Knew.

My review

The Book of Uriel is an immersive historical fantasy set in Poland during the Holocaust. The story begins with a gut-wrenching scene. In the aftermath of a brutal attack, the angels from his tales need his help to save Michael, the guardian angel of the Jewish people. To save his people, Uriel needs to find the angel and free him from the Angel of Death while hiding among the Nazis.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first but the more I read the harder it was to put the book down. The world-building was wonderfully created with vivid imagery and the characters were endearing. I especially loved the companionship between Uwen and Uriel.

My favorite part of the story revolved around the folklore and fantasy aspects of Uriel’s quest, but that’s because fantasy is more up my alley than historical fiction. The theme of this novel is dark and gruesome, so I appreciated the lighter notes of folklore and fantasy in Uriel’s quest.
Melding the reality of WWII with Jewish folklore and fantasy makes for an intense read especially when presented from the point of view of a child.
I recommend The Book Of Uriel to historical fiction lovers of all ages.

About the author

Elyse Hoffman strives to tell historical tales with new twists: she loves to meld WWII and Jewish history with fantasy, folklore, and the paranormal.

She has written six works of Holocaust historical fiction: the five books of The Barracks of the Holocaust and The Book of Uriel.


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