Book Review: Underground Rose
Author: Sara Burr
Published By: Astraea Press, LLC
Publication Date: 20 January 2015
Page Count: 275
Source: ebook provided by author
Audience: Young Adult – Urban Fantasy/Witch Craft
From the moment I read the synopsis, I was intrigued by this story and could not wait to read it. And I can honestly say, I was not let down.
Underground Rose is about a 14-year-old girl, Rose Wilson, and her – in a sense – coming of age. Rose's family, along with many others, has a secret. They are all witches – though they don't like to use that word – and usually come into their powers around fourteen years old. Rose and her cousin, Megan, visit their grandmother over the summer and learn about their gifts. They are excited about them and love learning to use and control them, becoming stronger, but they soon realize their gifts come at a cost. A group of evil men, witch hunters, are hunting all witches down and killing them. These hunters soon find Rose's family and send them on a terrifying journey, hiding, sneaking from place to place, trying to get away. They are soon part of a “Witches' Underground Railroad'” where so many witches and their families are trying to escape. They meet many new people along the way, some good and some who mean them nothing but harm. The two girls grow closer as they travel and become stronger, until a final battle of good versus evil threatens everything they hold dear.
I think what I love most about this book is the idea. I love the idea of taking the Underground Railroad and using it in modern day times with witches. I can honestly say I was a bit leery of the idea, not seeing how it could work. How, in modern day times with modern day technology, can you have masses of people hiding and traveling and sneaking from one place to the next, all together? I am happy to say that Sara Burr made me a believer.
I can easily imagine these groups of families, some broken, banding together to escape the evil that is chasing them. All the characters are well-rounded and many of them I would want to be friends with myself. I would also love to take a trip one day and follow their path from Utah to Washington, just as if it were a real underground railway.
There were a few things brought up in the story that I thought would develop into something more, but never did. One example, without giving too much away hopefully, is a mention of some of the witch hunters having powers themselves. It is only briefly mentioned in passing, and one man uses his often, but nothing further is written about it. That could have added a very interesting twist to the story.
The writing style of the story is definitely more for a younger audience, I would say 12-15 years. But in saying that, it is very well written. I enjoyed reading all about Rose's adventures. I would happily read more if there was a sequel in the future.
One Last Thought: Sometimes it is hard to believe how easily Rose accepts everything thrown at her. She doesn't act like I feel a normal teenage girl would act. She does cry and freak out a couple times, but for the most part she goes along relatively easily with every move, every kidnapping, every new person she meets, every new gift that she develops.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I love the loyalty and comradering shown by all these families of witches. They band together like one big family, supporting each other and taking care of each other when so many of them have been killed or captured. I don't know if you would get that in the real world in the same situation.
First Sentence: Staring into the shadowy woods through the wooden bars of her cage, the girl vaguely wondered if they would burn her at the stake, or if they would sink her into the lake with stones in her pockets.
Favorite Character: Rose
Least Favorite Character: Malleus Archibald
After her surprise discovery of a mystical gift, fourteen-year-old Rose Wilson thinks her life is ruined. It turns out she comes from a long line of gifted women, and despite her protests, Rose’s mom ships her off to her grandmother’s house to spend the summer learning about her family’s well-hidden secrets. To make matters worse, Rose is expected to carry out this tradition alongside her mousy, bookworm cousin, Megan. What a waste of a summer.
With some effort, Rose and Megan manage to find common ground and by the time they get home, they’re working together to adjust to their new life. But everything is turned upside down again when their families are exposed by witch hunters who call themselves The Witches’ Hammer. With killers on the loose, their tiny town isn't safe anymore. Rose’s entire family is fragmented and forced to flee through a network of hiding places, dubbed The Witches’ Underground Railroad.
As she journeys to the sea, Rose learns more and more about who she really is. The closer she gets to her destination, the more danger she encounters, until she is forced to make the ultimate decision: follow her family’s edict of non-violence and become an orphan, or save her mom’s life.