Rose Under Fire
by Elizabeth Wein
This is a difficult book to review, and surprisingly that's not because of the subject matter. It's because when it comes down to reviewing it, I can't seem to explain my thoughts without comparisons to another book.Summary: Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women's concentration camp, Rose's story is one of courage in the face of adversity.
Code Name Verity (the book this one is a companion novel to) kind of took me by surprise. I started out not really liking it, was thoroughly bored through half of the book, but then loving the book kind of crept up on me and when I finished it, it was placed on my favourites shelf. It got under my skin, it made me really care, it made me cry, and it still makes my heart kind of achy to think about it.
This book...I liked it from start to finish. It never bored me really, like Code Name Verity did in the beginning, but it also didn't get under my skin the way Code Name Verity did either. I'm not sure why that was really, I can't pin point a reason. I'm not sure if my feelings towards the book ever became love instead of just like.
This book - it was good. Really good actually, but it didn't earn its place on my all time favourites list. I finished it a little over an hour ago and I already feel totally distanced from it (while books like CNV - the all-time favourites - linger in my thoughts for days after finishing them and leave me with that Amazing Book hangover sort of feeling).
Do you see what I mean now about this being difficult to review? It's not fair on this book for the review to be all comparisons, but I just don't have much to say about this one specifically. I really liked it, it just didn't get to me in the way I was hoping it would. The first book gave me ridiculously high expectations and this one didn't reach them.
The writing in this book was good. The characters were good (very...human, flaws and all), I cared about them. I loved the cameos that characters from the first book had in this one. But even though the subject matter was awful, it never really managed to move me--I felt sympathy for the characters, but didn't really come close to crying for any of them (although, I'm not sure if that was because of the book itself, or because I was kind of desensitised to the subject matter having read a lot about it pretty recently).
And that's all I really have to say about the book.
I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5 (would've been lower but I tried not to let the expectations I had influence my rating). It's a good book, but just...don't go into it expecting another Code Name Verity (if you loved CNV, that is). Maybe it will be just as good or better for you, but it's better to go into it without those expectations.