Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release Date: June 3rd 2013
Series: Code Name Verity #2
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
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.
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.