Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Title: Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity #2)
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release date: September 13th 2013
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult historical
Source: I received a free advance copy of this book at BEA - thanks!
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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?

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I think I would have enjoyed this book a whole lot more if it weren't connected to Code Name Verity. I probably wouldn't have read it at all if it weren't for Code Name Verity, but still. Code Name Verity is an amazing book, so of course I had to read the companion. And I really liked Rose Under Fire, too - I just think it pales in comparison to Code Name Verity.

What I loved most about Code Name Verity was the cleverness of the set-up - you have no idea what's going on and it doesn't start to make sense until the very end, making Code Name Verity an entirely suspenseful read. In Rose Under Fire, though, the set-up has the opposite effect: Rose is telling us about her time in Ravensbrueck after she has made her escape, switching back and forth between past and present, so we already know how things are going to turn out. I loved how Code Name Verity worked as both a historical novel and something like a thriller, and the thriller aspect was more or less missing in Rose Under Fire.

That being said, though, the historical aspect is still exceptionally well-done, just like it was in Code Name Verity. The details are thoroughly researched and expertly integrated into the story; Elizabeth Wein is most definitely a great writer. The stories of these girls are fascinating, in a completely horrifying way, and I loved getting to know all of them. I especially liked seeing how the characters in Rose Under Fire relate back to the story in Code Name Verity.

Rose Under Fire is a good historical novel, educational, emotional, and fascinating to read. But in comparison to Code Name Verity, I found it underwhelming. It lacks the spark and the thrill that every word in Code Name Verity held for me. The story felt a lot more basic than the captivating, crazy-plot-twists one we got in the first novel. I liked Rose Under Fire, but I will not be forcing everyone I know to read it, the way I've been doing with Code Name Verity.


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