Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Published: September 10, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: ARC from publisher
Given my absolute, totally consuming love for Elizabeth Wein’s other novel (Code Name Verity) it would be an understatement to say that I was excited for Rose Under Fire. Unfortunately I didn’t feel the same love for RUF that I did for CNV. I still thought the book was amazing, but it didn’t quite live up to CNV.
I absolutely love Wein’s writing style, how everything may seem a little disjointed at first but as you keep reading things just come together. She tends to throw you right in this other world and you have to do the figuring out of who’s who and what’s going on. Her writing isn’t fancy and buttoned up, it’s raw and emotional and in the moment.
The characters always play a major role in Wein’s books it seems, and the characters in RUF did not disappoint. I love the friendship that was built up under awful circumstances, and everything they had to do for each other just to survive. It was intense and again, in the moment. But it was also witty and funny and sarcastic, just like friendships are. As for the plot, it drew me in from the beginning. I can’t say that will happen with everyone, I’m just a huge reader of everything WW2. Although, I couldn’t help but compare the plot, the characters, everything, to Code Name Verity. They just seemed so similar… both set in World War 2, both focusing on friendships. And while I love every aspect of these books, and they definitely differ in many ways, I couldn’t help but feel like I was just reading a modified version of Code Name Verity. And for me, CNV was better. The emotion in CNV was so overpowering and consuming, but in RUF, while it was still emotional, I barely shed a tear (and I was bawling when reading Code Name Verity). I know it’s wrong to compare these books because they are separate works and should be seen that way, but when you write two books with this many similarities, I think you have to realize that it’s impossible not to compare them.
I think that if I hadn’t read CNV and just went into RUF not knowing what to expect, I would have loved it a lot more. But the fact that I was comparing both books made me more critical and CNV just did not fully live up to my expectations.
Overall, I did love this book. I completely recommend it if you’re into historical fiction like I am, because it’s really great. Elizabeth Wein writes books you want to savour and read slowly so that you can absorb every last detail, and if you haven’t read one of her books yet, you need to do that ASAP (but I recommend Code Name Verity to start).
PS. I’m sorry this review is so awkwardly written, and I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long. I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen to this blog but that’s another post. For now I’m just trying to push forward. Baby steps is becoming my motto.
Absolutely adore this book! Would fight dozens of flocks of crazed birds to read it!