Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog Book One
Author: Anne Blankman
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.
Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.
And Gretchen follows his every command.
Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.
As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?
From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.
A copy was provided through Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray in exchange for an honest review
Prisoner of Night and Fog seemed like it would be great, but I was hesitant because it was during too during World War II years. I just don't like reading about it. It was horrible and what's going to be said about this time period has been said a million times over and some authors seem to use it simply for the emotional string pulling, I thought Prisoner of Night and Fog would be different since it was in Gretchen's PoV, 'Uncle Dolf's favorite niece'.
The good things: Blankman obviously did her research in regards to facts, names and events, which was nice, although at times it did feel a bit too much, we don't have to know every single detail about a person that's just been introduced. So the historical aspect was very well done. Check.
Another good thing was the relationships. More specifically the dynamics of Gretchen's family. Having to read about her psycopathic brother and how her mother just went along with whatever he said and did to Gretchen or herself was hard. It also pissed me off that Gretchen wasn't more careful. You do not play around with psycopath and just sneak into his room, multiple times, without some serious preparation and help, specially after she got caught the first time. I also liked how Blankman showed both coins of a psycopath, the charming, brilliant one and the cold, calculating quiet one.
Now what I didn't like. The mystery? Laughable. It was obvious what had happened and what the doctor had said about Hitler so long ago. At one point I thought the doctor had said something different because of all the mystery surrounding it, but not it was what I thought. Disappointing. The amount of writing time the plot actually got was barely 30% in total the rest was just Gretchen sneaking around with Cohen and having her eyes opened.
I also didn't like Gretchen. Look I know she was Hitler's favorite niece and that Hitler was obviously quite charming and persuasive, but for someone who was with him so often and spoke privately with him, she just came across as an airhead. She obviously couldn't read between the lines, like she had absolutely no mind of her own. And she didn't even start questioning everything because things started clicking in her mind, no it was because Cohen just told her and she went along with it. It wasn't till the very end when she started truly seeing him for what he was and started analyzing their previous encounters. I even understood Geli and Eva more than Gretchen's naivety.
The romance. Wasn't really feeling it. At first I was proud of Gretchen for at least thinking of bringing a weapon, but honestly Cohen came off as a major stalker and while my curiosity would have been peeked I would not have approached him as Gretchen did. She was again entirely too trusting and naive.
The ending. This right here was what really disappointed me. The ending was one coincidence after another that lead to Gretchen and Cohen being saved. It was absolutely absurd. Even Gretchen points out how lucky they were. It wasn't. It was just ridiculous and unbelievable. Done only so the next two books could be possible.
Looking around at the reviews I'm in the minority about how I feel about this book, so I guess if you like historical YA novels you should still give this one a try.
Would I Recommend it?
Other books in the The Prisoner of Night and Fog trilogy:
- Prisoner of Night and Fog