Title: Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity #2)
by Elizabeth Wein
Publishing Info: September 10, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 17, 2013
Related Posts: Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1)
** This review is for ROSE UNDER FIRE, which is a companion novel to CODE NAME VERITY. Please be advised that while I try REALLY hard to keep spoilers for CODE NAME VERITY out of my review, sometimes they are impossible not to mention! **
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.
It took me a little while to organize my thoughts about ROSE UNDER FIRE, but here we go… So ROSE. The first thing I noticed about this story is that it’s in the same format at CODE NAME VERITY in the sense that what we are reading is not just a first person narration, but an epistolary novel. Rose Justice, our main character in this book, has to write down what exactly happened to her during the war and as we come to see throughout the book, writing is really the only way she’s able to tell her story to the world.
ROSE UNDER FIRE, although a companion novel to CODE NAME VERITY, was very different. We get a glimpse of Maddie and Jamie who I LOVED from CNV and yes, yes I know it’s a companion and not a sequel, but I really would have loved to see more of their stories actually intertwine with Rose’s as the book journeys on. As we find out exactly what Rose went through, I get why they didn’t but still. I was really hoping for that when the rumors were flying about Maddie being involved in RUF.
I will absolutely say that Elizabeth Wein has given us another fantastic historical fiction novel in which if I didn’t know it was fiction, I might believe this is actually a real person’s account of what happened in the German concentration camps. As I’m writing this review, I’m also finding it absolutely impossible to separate ROSE UNDER FIRE from CODE NAME VERITY. I honestly can’t help but compare so please bear with me as I compare the hell out of these two companion novels.
I thought I was going to be a wreck over ROSE. I blubbered at the end of CNV and honestly just starting ROSE and the mere mention of Verity, I honestly almost went to pieces. Along with that time I tried to explain to Shane what CNV was about and how it all went down. Literally almost went into tears like these were real people. ROSE UNDER FIRE was a tricky one for me. Since we didn’t get the actual account of what was happening AS it was happening, it actually made a big difference for me. Verity & Maddie pour their hearts our journalistically and are writing all of the god-awful things that are happening to them in that moment or merely hours later. Rose doesn’t have that opportunity until she has been through hell and back and must find a way to somehow record what she’s seen, the people she’s met and lost, and what she’s had to endure. The reason this was tricky for me is that obviously Rose has been extremely traumatized and she’s had to distance herself from so many things to keep from getting overwhelmed and completely swallowed by all the evil that was around her. While I completely understand that, there was a certain wall that was up that I couldn’t get around as a reader so I just wasn’t AS emotionally connected to Rose and I had been with Maddie and especially Verity. It ended up playing a bigger part than I thought because once I was done reading, while I did feel for Rose, she didn’t 100% feel like a real person like Verity & Maddie had so while I don’t want to compare everything to CNV, you can see why it’s a bit difficult not to!
I actually know embarrassingly little about World War II. Or history in general for that matter. It was never presented to me in an interesting form when I was in school so without a natural draw to it, it tended to fall into one of my less enthusiastic subjects. Reading books like CODE NAME VERITY and ROSE UNDER FIRE, however… If I could have read books like this in school and my teacher could have used historical fiction or even non-fiction but actual accounts of what happened in these wars, I feel like I could have a totally different opinion about the subject. Elizabeth Wein’s stats and research are fantastic. Yes, you’ll find minute differences here and there (which she also explains herself at the end of the book) but the point isn’t really to pick apart the tiniest details. ROSE UNDER FIRE involves the reader in a story and also educates at the same time. Sure, I knew the general idea of the insane destruction that went on during WWII, but there was so much I didn’t know that I feel like I got a better understanding of while reading ROSE.
If you like historical fiction, if you loved CODE NAME VERITY, and if you’re in the mood for a book that will astound and yet appall you, ROSE UNDER FIRE is the book you want to pick up. Although it wasn’t as emotional as I was expecting, it’s definitely a book that will open your eyes and break your heart.
Rose Justice // Character Obsessions: Flying, loyalty, survival, escape.
I liked Rose… But I didn’t like her as much as I was hoping! I felt such a strong connection to Verity and Maddie in CNV and yes, again, I can’t help but compare the characters as well. I think it was hard for me to connect with Rose because she herself was closed off. I mean, obviously for good reason! That just meant that I couldn’t jump inside her feelings like I like to with characters.
Roza // Character Obsessions: Survival, staying tough, escape.
Okay, well most of these characters are clearly all determined to stay alive and escape their camp. That much is obvious! But I wanted to talk about Roza because I really loved her spirit despite her awful, awful situation. As one of the “Rabbits”, she probably has it worse than a lot of those poor girls in Ravensbruck but her spirit never seems to waver. That may not always be happy, but she has an underlying determination that I really think helped Rose a lot too. I loved the friendship that formed between her and Rose and she was such a great character in this book.
Kept Me Hooked On: Historical Fiction. I don’t really know a ton about history, but books like CODE NAME VERITY and ROSE UNDER FIRE feel not only emotional and compelling but also educational. I know it’s historical FICTION but these books still are based on real facts and events. The notes from Elizabeth Wein in the back of the book explain how many liberties were taken with the fiction and how much was an actual fact or event and it’s so painful to know that although Rose’s story is fictional, this really happened. I actually got in a WWII discussion with my fiancé (he knows a lot more about history and wars than I do) and it was literally hard to talk about. Long story short, I’m really starting to appreciate historical fiction so much more when before I had written it off as “not for me”.
Left Me Wanting More: Raw emotion. For a book that was about WWII and takes place in a freakin’ concentration camp, I just was missing the emotional side of the book. I know that’s because Rose wasn’t really processing what was happening and when she did, it was better to just sort of block it out… But that was what made CNV so amazing for me. I really got to know Verity and Maddie and I really cared for them. I totally felt for Rose but I wasn’t AS invested in her character.
Despite what I’ve said about not connecting with this book as much, it’s still a recommended buy from me! It’s such a great story and honestly, Elizabeth Wein is so amazing for telling it. I’d recommend to keep this one on your shelves, right along side CODE NAME VERITY!
ON THE SAME PAGE
Since we all had copies of ROSE UNDER FIRE and let’s face it… We needed moral support to read this book, Alyssa from Books Take You Places, Amy from Tripping Over Books and I formed our own impromptu book club. We merely wanted to read ROSE UNDER FIRE together (which turned out to be a good plan!) but then realized how much fun it was reading the same book at the same time and how many MORE books we all wanted to read! After discussing what book we wanted to pick up next (yes, it was a group decision), we decided to make it official. THREE’S COMPANY was born (now called On the Same Page!).
So what exactly is Three’s Company? As far as ROSE UNDER FIRE goes, it’s just the three of us reading the book together and discussing as we go. All of our reviews are up today so be sure to check out Alyssa’s & Amy’s reviews as well! For future books, we’ll probably delve a little more into actual discussion between the three of us and bounce some questions back and forth in our final post. Really, the sky is the limit! Stay tuned for more Three’s Company fun & posts and in the mean time, don’t miss Alyssa’s & Amy’s reviews below!