All Is Fair
All Is Fair by Michael Kenneth Smith was truly an enjoyable read. The novel tells the story of Jan, a young polish fighter pilot in World War Two. Although a fictional story, the novel was inspired by real figures in this war, making it a meaningful tribute to those who bravely fought against the Nazis.
Jan comes from a poor family with nothing more to his name than his aviation abilities. Humble, Jan knows he has a lot to learn when he is accepted into a prestigious academy in Dublin. At this school, Jan learns how to fly different planes, meets his best crewmates, and partakes in many other festivities. Unfortunately, these happy days are numbered. Before long, the Germans attack Jan’s base, causing him and his men much harm. Between plane crashes, injuries, tension amongst the crew, and death, the reader is able to follow the highs and lows of Jan’s aviation career.
This novel does a wonderful job of documenting a pilot’s life from 1938–1944. The reader is able to see not only Jan’s work but also the emotional and physical toils of such a life during the war. I loved how the reader is given an insight into specific planes flown, the formation of the planes, and what exactly fighter pilots did up in the sky. You can tell from reading this novel that Smith did a lot of research; although fiction, he did a great job of making the story seem like a real account.
In addition to watching Jan’s career unfold (quite a story in itself), the reader also gets to watch Jan fall in love. After meeting Sophie, a beautiful, brilliant woman at a local bar, Jan cannot stop thinking about her. He daydreams of her in class, up in the sky, and continuously throughout the day, obviously head over heels for what he believes is his dream girl. Jan even finds unconventional ways to see her throughout the war, an ode to how much she means to him. Unfortunately for Jan, many circumstances do not play out the way he intends, both with Sophie and with his pilot career.
As previously stated, I really enjoyed reading Smith’s novel, All Is Fair. The only criticism I have is that some of the scenes seemed repetitive. Not much more can be said without giving away the plot, but I do think that scenes could have been varied more than they were. As a whole, this book was a great read, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially about World War Two.
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