Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein Review

"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 enjoyed Rose Under Fire more than Code Name Verity. Don't get me wrong, but I just think that concentration camps are more like my style than interrogation and etc. Actually, let me rephrase that. Concentration camps are more profound and eye-opening than war itself or so it seems. The experiences of the people in concentration camps seem to come to life when they are written by great authors like Elizabeth Wein. Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire are quite a pair, though I like Rose Under Fire more than the other. Still, if you like Code Name Verity, then you can read it. No one is stopping you.

Unlike Code Name Verity where there's two POVs, Rose Justice switches from present to past, past to present. It's basically set out like this. Some times both present and past merge together to make it confusing. It stunningly paints Rose Justice's somewhat unstable mind but also her mission to tell the world. I really like how Wein puts those words in big capitalized letters, so it would be like this: TELL THE WORLD. Isn't it amazing how powerful it looks among the simpler, more common lower-cased letters.

Rose Justice is an amateur poet. The fact that she's an amatuer doesn't stop her from writing poems about her experiences. She writes about her sorrows. She writes about her joys. She writes about the good. She writes about the bad. Normally, I would like to skip over the poetry sections of the book (because they are just annoying to my eyes), but I really wanted to read them. Something about them makes it inspiring. That might be the biggest reason why Rose Under Fire is a better book (in my opinion) than Code Name Verity. Anyway, I should talk more about Rose. She's determined, but she's also frightened by what happened. I'm pretty sure she has PTSD, although the book rarely mentions it. Still, she is an inspiration, more than Queenie I'm afraid.

The history notes Wein makes in the book are great. For many people, history is a boring creature with dull gray words and stinking ink. Well, I'm sure that's not how everyone perceives history. It probably, more like certainly, varies from person to person. But there are a few history words I want to point out. ATA is real, not fake. Real, spelled with a 'r' and ends with a 'l'. Go look it up. Check it out. It's awesome.

Overall, I think Rose Under Fire is certainly a good WWII book, even though it's historical fiction. Hey, sometimes you need a bit of fiction in the history. Just remember the fiction from the history, then you will ace the test. Just kidding. You won't, but Rose Under Fire is still a great book to read. There is definitely some valuable lessons learned throughout the course of the entire book, from beginning to end.

Note: I don't know why, but I'm wishing for some romance between Karl (that Nazi Officer) and Rose. I know he's a butt, but I'm interested in something interesting even though it probably won't happen in real life.

Rating: Five out of Five

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