Monday, December 30, 2013

[Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein]

"Rose Under Fire"
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Series: Code Name Verity
Pages: 368
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, War Books
Date Published: September 10th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format Read: Hardback from the library


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.

My Thoughts:

I feel like I could go on and on about how much I love this book, Code Name Verity and Elizabeth Wein.  I don't think there are enough words and or ways to control my thoughts, so this review will most likely be shorter then I want it to be.  But that doesn't mean that I don't love this book to pieces.  Sometimes the best way to praise something that gives you all the feels is with the simplest presentation. 

I don't know how Elizabeth Wein does it, but she makes you feel so many feelings within the pages of her books that at times you have to take a step back and let your mind settle and your tears dry.  Code Name Verity has to be one of my favorite reads of the year and I didn't know what I would end up thinking about Rose Under Fire?  I can now tell you that I'm blown out of the water by this book.  It's just as equally horrifying and beautiful as it's predecessor.  Wein doesn't even give you many chapters before she brings up the soul crushing events of her former novel.  But she does it in such a way that anyone who reads Rose first, wouldn't have anything spoiled for them.  Of course I had tears streaming down my face, because I knew the things that Rose Justice didn't, but I loved how Wein looked at the events of Code Name Verity through the eyes of someone who just didn't know and didn't really need to know what had happened.  You as the reader know and that brings on enough tears in and of itself.  This was also a wonderful plot tool that allowed us to see what became of Maddie and Jaime!  Oh, be still my heart! 

"Hope is the most treacherous thing in the world. It lifts you and lets you plummet. But as long as you're being lifted, you don't worry about plummeting."

The main theme in Rose Under Fire is hope!  The above quote is just one of the many that Rose says in the deepest and darkest moments of her existence.  I don't think that Wein could have picked a better main character to tell her story.  Rose is a creative and fiery American girl, who does what none of her friends would even dream of.  She gets herself over to England and starts flying planes for the war effort.  This girl is ballsy, but she also has this beautiful spirit that she clings to, even in the most dire moments.  She's one of the most layered and real characters that I've read in a long time.  
Wein doesn't hide the facts of what these beautiful, strong, heroic women went through when they passed from their exciting, yet seemingly safe lives, into the belly of the beast.  I applaud her for showing us a different side of the concentration camps.  Ravensbrück was not one of the camps that they sent Jews to, it was a political prisoner camp.  It doesn't make anything less terrifying.  It didn't make anything easier on these women and young girls.  They were treated so horribly that it makes you want to weep.

The addition of The Rabbits was a stroke of genius.  These girls were experimented on in ways that no one ever should be, but once again, their resilience gives your something to root for.  You become sisters with the characters in the pages and you feel all the things that they are going through like you were there with them in the barracks.  Perhaps that is why Wein's books have touched me and so many other people.  She makes you feel like you know her characters and she makes you feel like they could have been your Grandmother's or Great-Grandmothers or some other female relative.  They touch you and leave their stamp on your torn up heart.

It's amazing what people will do to survive and equally what they do to keep their humanity.  The story that Rose tells us of the girls who she met in the camp and the choices that she made while in it's walls points this out blatantly.  You do what you must to survive, but when is too far?  When do you make the hard choices?  

All I know is that I will be thinking about Rose, Roza, Karolina, Irina, Anna, Lizette and all the other girls who's fictional, yet all to real, stories were told in my white, tear stained copy of Rose Under Fire for years to come.  If you know what's good for you, you will read this book! 

5 Unicorns = Get your hands on this one now!

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Beautiful review for a beautiful book Christianna!

"All I know is that I will be thinking about Rose, Roza, Karolina, Irina, Anna, Lizette and all the other girls who's fictional, yet all to real, stories were told in my white, tear stained copy of Rose Under Fire for years to come." I will be doing the same!