Date of Publication: September 10 2013
Source: Library Ebook
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.
I'm not the first, nor the last to write this, but Rose Under Fire didn't have the punch of Code Name Verity. It was more of a cold heartbreak, and the end, especially the author's note, furthered the point.
Rose Justice is a regular girl, except she comes from a reasonably well-off family and is a pilot. She has worked hard to get to England, and is actually friends with Maddie from Code Name Verity. She's someone relatable and I liked that she always had an American perspective on everything. There are so many nuances to every culture and Rose Under Fire really emphasized that in the war, there were only individuals doing what they could.
The topic is harsh and well written. Rose's time at camp almost felt sensationalized, and I shivered when I read that all of the major events she experienced were real. They occurred, and those women were tortured. Humanity's capacity for cruelty was horrifying to read about, but it was also heartbreaking to read that midst all the suffering, friendships and families were still being formed. No one would have thought less of those girls if they broke, but they kept going. Their strength was incredible.
World building wise, everything felt well researched and real. Rose's story resonated because it was the story of someone who went through something awful, and she was a normal girl. Rose wrote poetry, and it's a big part of her character. I can't say that I was the biggest fan of the poetry, mostly because I was so engrossed in the story, but some will enjoy the multiple writing styles.
Plot wise, the story was rather slow. It was about Rose's journey from regular ATA pilot to Ravensbruck and it was very heavy on the details. It's not the type of book I usually read, and Elizabeth Wein didn't try to make the story overly emotional. A theme in Rose Under Fire is tell the world, and that's what I felt the story was doing: being a testimony of what happened to Rose and the other girls when they were imprisoned in the camp.
The character development was good because all the characters were a little different. Obviously, Rose was the character best known and that's because what we were reading was her narration through her journal. Still, every character was distinctive. I especially liked that Rose Under Fire explored an area of the second world war that I haven't really read too much about, and I feel like I learned something about that world. The Jews weren't the only targets.
My enjoyment of the story is not as high as I want it to be, but it's worth considering that this isn't the type of story to enjoy. It's rather bleak. It's more of a learning experience. I didn't have the greatest emotional connection, and I did feel some parts were overwritten and the book could have been shortened. So for that, I have to give Rose Under Fire 3 stars because it was a good book.