Review: The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

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Last Updated on March 30, 2023 by Mary Elle

The Diamond Eye is another blockbuster historical fiction novel by Kate Quinn that was just published in March of 2022.

The Diamond Eye was published about one year after publication of The Rose Code which left me begging for more from Kate Quinn, so Kate’s been a busy lady. Both books are long and complicated, and leave you in the mood for more, more more, if you like WWII era historical fiction.

My review of The Diamond Eye will not only give you a short synopsis of the book but will also tell you how this book really made me feel. Read on to find out!

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

the diamond eye

The Diamond Eye is the second book I’ve read by author Kate Quinn, the other being The Rose Code.

I personally love WWII-era historical fiction, and to be honest, I expected another “The Rose Code” here, which I practically devoured in one sitting, despite the fact that it’s 646 pages long.

No, of course I didn’t expect the same exact story or subject matter as The Rose Code. That was unique. But I did expect that I would have that same urge to devour The Diamond Eye just as quickly, and it didn’t quite happen that way.

Here’s a short synopsis of the book, and then I’ll let you know all the specifics of what I liked and didn’t like in this latest from Kate Quinn.

Publisher’s Synopsis of The Diamond Eye

In 1937 in the snowbound city of Kiev (now known as Kyiv), wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son—but Hitler’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious girl to deadly sniper—a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.

Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC—until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness. But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons and enemy bullets in the deadliest duel of her life.

The Diamond Eye – What I Liked

Historical fiction set in the WWII era is one of my favorite genres to read. And The Diamond Eye certainly delivers on that score.

The book had me Googling facts like crazy – which for me is another measure of how great a book is. I like to learn new things, especially historical facts, so a book that makes me Google stuff is a sure win!

I actually didn’t research much about this book before I started reading it. For me, having Kate Quinn as the author was the only endorsement I needed, because of how much I loved her last book, The Rose Code. So I didn’t realize that it was based on a true story about a real woman named Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko, and that real woman was clearly an amazing hero!

The Diamond Eye really gave me insight into the life of this woman and I enjoyed researching her a bit more after reading the book.

And I feel that I learn some additional historical facts about WWII with every book I read, and this book was no exception. The Diamond Eye covered this time frame from a sort of a different angle that I’ve not read about before. So it was an excellent way to learn something new about the WWII era.

The Diamond Eye – What I Didn’t Like

Overall, I think The Diamond Eye is an amazing book, but there were some things I didn’t like. And, I’m afraid that some of the things I didn’t like were simply the result of my having incorrect expectations about what this book would bring me.

So in reality, I guess I’m saying it’s my fault I didn’t like certain things. Not the book’s fault, OK?

So here’s the thing. Throughout the reading of this book I had some feelings of dislike, I guess I would call them. Or perhaps discontent would be a better word. The book didn’t make me feel good.

Again, probably because I was expecting something different.

The first issue is that let’s face it, the subject of the book is not exactly a feel-good one. A sniper during a time of war. Duh! See? I didn’t do my homework very well before I read the book. And along with a sniper goes a lot of killing. A bit too much for my taste. So I didn’t like that part of this reading experience. Honestly, it wasn’t a book I wanted to read before I went to bed at night.

One more thing is that I just couldn’t warm up to the characters as much as I would have liked to. Part of the problem may have been the Russian names which can be difficult to pronounce and even difficult to hear in your own mind as you read. I guess for me it may have been difficult to warm up to any characters given the activities they were involved in.

And finally, given the current events happening in Ukraine, I think the subject matter, in general, is just difficult right now. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not an amazing read. I think for me, the current events are just so top of mind that it was a bit difficult to separate out.

The Diamond Eye – Read, ReRead or Reconsider

And now, for my 3 Rs of book reviews. Read, ReRead or Reconsider?


Despite the fact that I gave you a whole laundry list of things I didn’t like above, I still think this is a definite read.

What the heck, after the current Ukraine situation is resolved, and after I do a better job on my homework before reading the book, this could become a Reread.

You can check out The Diamond Eye along with all the other books by Kate Quinn on the Kate Quinn Amazon author page.

If you’re looking for more books in this genre, just head over and explore more historical fiction.

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