Book Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Title – Author: Rose Under Fire – Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Series/Standalone: Standalone (Companion to Code Name Verity)
Format – Source: Hardcover – Bought

American ATA pilot Rose Justice is captured by Nazis on a flight from Paris and sent to Ravensbrück, a women’s concentration camp. What follows is her account of the atrocities she witnesses in the camp. But Rose finds hope, friendship, and loyalty in her fellow prisoners as they struggle to survive together.

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I unequivocally fell in love with Code Name Verity, so Rose Under Fire was one of my most anticipated 2013 reads. I had my worries, though. How could anything live up to the brilliance that was CNV? That’s a tough question for me to answer, because Rose Under Fire is just as good, but it’s a different kind of story.

CNV was about the big actions: daring rescue attempts, espionage, confessions under torture. Verity and Maddie are epic people. Tight, clever storytelling paired with an unreliable narrator make CNV a thrilling and tragic novel.

Rose Under Fire is a quieter story about survival. It’s in the little acts of rebellion, like stealing cigarettes to barter or switching prisoner numbers to defy roll call. Small things that bring small bouts of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. The bonds Rose forms with her camp family are unbreakable, even in the face of guns and gas chambers and carts full of dead women. They protect each other and risk much for each other because it’s simply the only way to survive.

What I think I love most about Rose Under Fire is that it illustrates the power in little things. No one doubts that Verity, a spy in the hands of the Nazis, is courageous and powerful. But Rose Under Fire has Lisette, the “Camp Mother” who has to take care of the younger prisoners in her block to keep her sanity. Rosie, who laughs when terrified or angry and was captured when she was fourteen. Irina, a hero fighter pilot from the Soviet Union who can never go home. Karolina, who sacrifices herself to protect Rosie. This book shows how power and courage comes in many forms. 

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Rose Under Fire is a heart-wrenching novel about survival and loyalty.

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10 – life-changing and perfect – Severus Snape



5 thoughts on “Book Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

  1. I totally agree!! These two books are definitely very different, despite being set at the same time with even a little overlap of characters. I think that’s why I didn’t quite fall in love with it… I was expecting more surprise like CNV, but don’t get me wrong — Rose Under Fire was still pretty shocking. Just in a totally different way. Excellent review! 🙂

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