Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Author: Elizabeth Wein
Series: Code Name Verity
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Expected Publication: September 10, 2013
Copy Provided By: Netgalley

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

This is probably one of the hardest reviews I've ever written. Rose Under Fire was one of my most anticipated books of the year and when I learned I'd been approved to read it early I was beyond excited. Unfortunately for me expectation vs. reality can sometimes be a real bitch. Now usually I'd list what I loved about the book first but I think for this book I'll list the negatives first and then the positives.

One of my main issues with Rose Under Fire was the use of Poetry. Yes, I understand that Rose is a poet by nature but every single time she went into reciting her poetry it stopped the flow of the story dead in its tracks for me.  Now I will say that I am not an overly huge fan of Poetry to begin with so for me I wish there had been less focus on her writing and more on continuing the story instead. 

Another thing that I found to be a problem was the way the story started. Rose felt much more like a Narrator than a character in the story. I just didn't really understand why so much focus was given to her time as a pilot when it was obvious she was going to spend the majority of the book captured anyway. I personally think this beginning would've worked better in flashback. Also I believe the Author wasted Maddie and Jaime as characters. They merely felt placed in the story as a way to connect the first and second book vs. being important to the overall plot. 

Lastly, I didn't like how Rose Under Fire ended. Now this is an Arc so I'm fully prepared to change this if it has been changed in the final version. However, for all intents and purposes of my review it simply just didn't give me the closure I was craving. 

Now oddly enough my favorite parts of the story happened while the character was imprisoned in 
Ravensbrück. This section of the book is where Elizabeth Wein shined as an Author. The attention to detail and the sheer horror of it all combined to create some of the best realistic historical fiction that I've personally ever read. 

I loved that Rose was housed with the Rabbits. This is a Holocaust story through and through and the fact that the Author bravely goes where many haven't is refreshing and inspiring. The story of what happened in Ravensbrück and the experiments performed on the Rabbits is very real and one should not dismiss these accounts as sensationalized due to the graphic nature of them all. 

Speaking of the Rabbits I loved all of them from Lisette the den mother to spunky Roza whose legs were permanently disfigured due to the experiments the Nazi's performed. I even loved Anna!! If you've read Code Name Verity then you'll know why this is surprising. 

Overall, despite its few flaws I loved Rose Under Fire. The story of Rose and her companions is tragically beautiful showing the very best and worst that humanity can offer. I highly recommend picking this one up especially if you enjoy World War II based Historical Fiction. I suspect this book will be added to a lot of Teen reading list this year as it rightly should be.  With that being said, I'll be rating Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein ★★★★.

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  1. For some reason, books involving the Nazis always catch my attention. And I understand why it can be annoying for the protagonist to keep reciting poetry - it can be a nice literary twist or it can annoy the soul out of you if it's overdone.

    1. For me it was overdone but for someone else it might be fine.

  2. Even though there were a few negatives, Rose Under Fire sounds like an interesting read. It is probably not one that I would usually pick up though. I'm not a big poetry fan either, so it has less appeal to me. Good to see you enjoyed it overall Kristin!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace


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