Review: Rose Under Fire by Ellizabeth Wein

March 2, 2014 Review 36 ★★★★

Review: Rose Under Fire by Ellizabeth Wein
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Electric Monkey
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 471
Release Date: June 3rd 2013
Series: Code Name Verity #2
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
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Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women’s concentration camp, Rose’s story is one of courage in the face of adversity.

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Confession: I’ve been really slack when it comes to writing this review because I’m not too sure what to say. Sure I really liked it, it’s a great read, but compared to CODE NAME VERITY (which Alise hated because she’s heartless and I LOVE) it barely had an effect one me.  I was left in so much awe and pain after CODE NAME VERITY and it’s a shame this companion/sequel didn’t live up to its predecessor.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good book. It highlights a lot of the horrors of WWII that I’d never heard about before. There’s always such a focus on the genocide of the Jews that we don’t often hear of the other atrocities that were committed (by both sides). The majority ROSE UNDER FIRE takes place in a concentration camp filled with women. Russian women, French women, Polish Rabbits. It highlighted heartbreaking events I didn’t even know happened, and the women and girls it happened too *shudder* Those poor girls… I’ve never been more grateful to live in the time I do (though from the sound of things on the news, sometimes it seems like WWIII could be right around the corner)

Rose Justice is our MC, an eighteen year old american pilot for the ATA who is keen to get closer to the war action. I think part of my issue with ROSE UNDER FIRE was that I found it a little more difficult to connect with Rose. At the start she’s still fairly naive. She just want’s to get to the battle front, to fly planes in France which I cannot fathom why. But she was also funny and gutsy even when times got harder when she finds herself in a concentration camp and I admired that.

The way the camps were portrayed… It sounds like such a terrible environment. There’s so much mistreatment and human rights are thrown right out the window. Standing for hours in all weather, no working toilets, over crowding… It’s a terrible reality. But it made what the characters in these camps did even more admirable. They were great characters, very distinct and unique. I don’t know how they survived it.

One of the main problems I had, which is a problem of mine and not the novels, is the poetry. Rose is an amateur poet and some of her poems are included throughout her tale. Poems Rose wrote for people and situations in the camp. I can’t tell you if they’re any good or not, because I can’t read poetry. Never have been able too, so I’ve never liked it. I ended up only half reading the poems and skipping back to the prose.

ROSE UNDER FIRE is filled with feels, as you can imagine. Not on the scale of CODE NAME VERITY which has me sobbing at the end, but hearing the tales of these women is heartbreaking. Fortunately this is set closer to the end of the war and most of the girls have a relatively happy ending. Still, I’m glad I read this. It taught me so many things about WWII I never knew before and I’m glad I had the chance to learn about these amazing (if fictional/based on real) women and their experiences.

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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 3.9

36 Responses to “Review: Rose Under Fire by Ellizabeth Wein”

  1. Angel (Spare Reads)

    I recently went on a spree with a lot of movies portraying WWII tragedies, like The Pianist and The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas. This topic seems to always be able to touch me in a different way, leaving me heart aching and pondering deeply at the same time. I still need to read Code Name Verity, and I’m nearly positive that it will be quite a though provoking journey. I will probably check out this one too if I enjoy that. Nice review Bec!
    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (10) : The Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown, #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

    • Bec

      I need to watch more WWII movies, but I read a fair amount of WWII books. They are very sad and definitely make you think. Code Name Verity is definitely thought provoking and I hope you pick it up one day :)

  2. Joy (Joyousreads)

    As much as I love reading books that part historical knowledge, I’m a little wary of difficult situations that characters may find themselves in. This one in particular is a harrowing tale that I may not have the guts for. I’m hoping to read them some time in the future, however.

    Great review, Bec.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 103

  3. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    Oh. Well in that case, maybe I should try it! I was kind of avoiding it because Code Name Verity absolutely destroyed my soul…and I can’t take that sort of emotional overload too much. XD It was soooo sad. I swear, I kept imaging the ending was going to be okay and — *bursts into passionate sobbing*
    So yes. Maybe I’ll try Rose Under Fire after all.
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…5 Ways of Self-Promo To Absolutely Avoid

    • Bec

      *stokes shoulder* Shhh, it’s okay. I understand. That ending was so shocking but good and sad and it had to many feels.

      Yay! I hope you like it and it doesn’t cause you too much pain…

  4. Katy

    I feel the same way! I loved CNV and didn’t quite connect with this one. I didn’t even end up reviewing it because I didn’t know what to say with it. My favorite parts were about Maddie. I think maybe since I’ve read some survivor stories the way the camps were written didn’t feel the same to me, I’m not sure. I was invested in her safety and definitely felt bad, but it just didn’t grasp me like CNV did. Glad I wasn’t alone in that!
    Katy recently posted…Hello March, Goodbye February

    • Bec

      It was really hard to figure out what to say because I really liked it but didn’t love it.

      Getting to see what happened to Maddie after CNV was really good. I’m glad she got to know some happiness :) I haven’t read any camp survivor stories because I’ve never seen any so I can’t compare…

    • Bec

      It is a really good way to learn about the world in the past. More entertaining than some textbooks XD

      Do read Code Name Verity! It’s marvelous.

  5. Kirsty-Marie

    I haven’t read much set in WWII(I mean, I probably have read some, just can’t remember), so not so surprisingly I haven’t read Code Name Verity yet, but shame you didn’t feel this one as much as it, but still sounds really emotional (when I do eventually read them, I bet I’ll cry, I cry at everything.)and I love learning through these type of books than textbooks. Glad you still enjoyed it though! :)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…ARC Review: Half Bad

    • Bec

      Rose Under Fire is certainly still very emotional. It just never hits you quite the same way Code Name Verity did (it just can’t beat that ending…)

  6. tonyalee

    I liked Code Name Verity, okay. (probably in the middle of you and Alise haha) But I don’t think I will be reading this one. It sounds good, based on your review. I probably would have skimmed the poems too LOL

    Great review lady

    • Bec

      Fair enough. It was pretty good, but I suspect anyone who struggled with Code Name Verity might have issues with this too.

    • Bec

      Good to know I’m not alone.. Rose Under Fire was told in a very different way to Code Name Verity and had a very different feel to it.

      I actually didn’t mind thos looks into the fanfic and Simon Snow world. I thought they were interesting, but I understand why you might skip them. Works of fiction in fiction are strange to read.

  7. Lauren

    I loved Code Name Verity and really loved Rose Under Fire too, just in a different way. I totally get what you mean about the poetry, it wasn’t my favorite part, but in the end I enjoyed some her poems. This book really made me angry, more than sad I guess. But it definitely got strong emotions out of me. Sorry to hear this wasn’t as strong a read as CNV for you, but I’m glad you enjoyed it. Lovely review!
    Lauren recently posted…Series Mini-Reviews: Mercy Thompson #1 – 7

    • Bec

      Her poems were interesting. And if I knew how to read it properly I dare say I would have enjoyed it more.

      It definitely draws out a lot of different emotions.

      Thanks :)

  8. Andreea

    Haven’t read anything by this author. Have to check out her other book you’ve mentioned.

    Thanks for this honest review!

    • Bec

      Exactly. It’s a real eye opener for how lucky we are today.

      It is a wonderful series. Both books very good in their own ways. But yeah, I think I loved Code Name Verity because it was such a unique way to tell the story and some of those twists were amazing.

    • Bec

      I was scared to read it for a similar reason. Code Name Verity was just… amazing. It’s a shame I couldn’t connect with this one as well.

      You won’t know if you like it better or not unless you try it!

    • Bec

      It’s not based on real life experience, but rather the… accounts and stories told by the women in the camps. They’re two very different stories highlighting different aspects of the war.

  9. Tirta @ I Prefer Reading

    Elizabeth Wein is one of the authors that I haven’t read any of her works eventhough a lot of readers have been saying so many praise about her books. I guess I’ll have to start on Code Name Verity first, but I’m a bit afraid of the emotional turmoil I’m going to experience, honestly…..

    PS: I really LOVE your blog design, Bec! :)
    Tirta @ I Prefer Reading recently posted…The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

    • Bec

      She does get a lot of love, and deserved it. I hope you enjoy it! All good books come with a little bit of pain XD

      Thanks! The design has actually been done by Alise. I know nothing about any of that stuff. I only know about reading and fangirling.

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