ARC Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)Rating: 2/5
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog #1
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss
Check out on GOODREADS

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.


This would probably be an incoherent review as I can’t really express why I felt nothing. It was just that. A reading slump, maybe?

First off, I expected to love this one so much, since most early reviews have given this either 5 or 4 stars. I’ll admit–I understand why they gave these sort of ratings. Things were very well thought of the plot (even if there was very little of it, honestly) flowed smoothly with just the right pacing, but the thing was, I couldn’t connect with the characters at all.

Let’s start off with the positive things about the novel. I found it to be really believable and authentic. I don’t know a lot about Hitler’s story, aside from the fact that he was a dictator. Hitler’s character was portrayed so well in this story that I felt like I knew everything about him without knowing him. I’m not making any sense, right?

“He is a volcanic eruption, a lightning strike in the desert, a man perhaps with several different mentally diseased conditions. By all rights, he should be impossible. And yet he exists.”

Now, let’s get onto my first problem. I don’t know any German, at all, so some of the terms got me confused and I’ll never bother to Google them because I’m lazy like that. But I read Kathylill’s review on Goodreads, and she said that there were mistakes in the usage of the German language in the novel.

Nothing even happened in the first half (maybe?) of the novel. Mostly, this book was about character development, relationships with various people (the romantic interest, her friends, family, etc), but I needed more action. More mystery (the mystery aspect was good, thank heavens!). More everything else.

Those, with the addition of the essay-like writing style, made the book a pretty boring one for me. Don’t get me wrong–I love essays. There were just too many descriptions for my taste. I guess this is also why I wasn’t able to really get into Gretchen’s character.

Ah, Gretchen. I can’t even state how indifferent I was to her character. Sure, she wanted to solve the mystery of her father’s murder, which was pretty “brave,” but then she would make the most stupid, unsafe choices like hanging around her totally violent and irrational brother. And I think she accepted the facts Daniel Cohen (the love interest, a Jew, an enemy of her dearest Uncle Dolf) threw at her. Once he mentioned that her father was murdered, she began suspecting things too easily and she solved the mysteries way too fast. Super smart girl, huh? I would’ve liked it more if she slowly started realizing things.

And the romance. *shudders* It was so stiff and odd. It was definitely not love at first sight–quite the opposite, actually. BUT! I felt like the actual time where they started getting “attracted” to each other came so abruptly and suddenly. It might just be my opinion, since everyone else seems to love the romance!

Overall, this is a book I thought had so much potential, but I myself couldn’t enjoy much about it. It all depends on the reader’s tastes, so I still recommend giving this one a shot if you’re into historical retellings and such.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.1
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Aimee is a sixteen year old bookworm from the Phillipines! She reads any book that catches her attention, but she mostly reads YA. She's into graphic design, writing and sleeping. You can find her at Deadly Darlings, The Book Geek, Goodreads and on Twitter.

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    • Aimee says

      I haven’t read that one yet, but I’ve heard a lot about it and I’m sorry you didn’t like it, Emily. Maybe this one’ll be a better fit for you. And I hope so, too! :)

  1. says

    If I can avoid historical fiction, I would. But I am actually fascinated with stories from the Nazi time, I even watch documentaries about it. Maybe this will be a good book for me to read, but we’ll see. I am not a fan of essays, either, so that might put me off, but since the topic is interesting to me, I might enjoy it. Brilliant review!
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  2. says

    I’ve read so many rave reviews for this, it’s nice to get a different perspective! I’m sorry this didn’t work for you, I”m not sure the essay style will be my cup of tea either. And I’m not a fan of the heroine working everything out super quickly like some kind of super sleuth. I’m definitely curious enough about this book to give it a go, but I’ll adjust my expectations now. Thanks for your thoughtful honest review!
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  3. says

    I’m sorry you didn’t like this book, but sometimes I feel just like you. Everyone seems to really like the book, and then I don’t like it. Even though I do hope I’ll like this one, as it’s the next book on my list, I hope there won’t be wrong usage of German as I speak German.
    Anatea recently posted…Review ~ The Immortal Rules by Julie KagawaMy Profile

    • Aimee says

      I hope you don’t find anything wrong with it, Anatea! If I ever come across a book with the misuse of Tagalog or even Chinese, I’d be pissed.

  4. says

    Oh this is disappointing /: I was really looking forward to this one, I adore well written historical fantasy. Sadly, the Prisoner of Night and Fog doesn’t seem to fit that bill, at least in the character department. When you can’t connect to the characters in a book at all, it definitely hinders your enjoyment of the book, I hope I have better luck than you in that department. The romance doesn’t sound like my cup of tea either. Honestly though I do enjoy lengthy descriptions, especially historically accurate ones. I’m also okay with little plot occurring in the beginning as long as the plot does come eventually and a lot of character/setting development happens in place of plot development. That’s why I think I’ll still be giving this one a try.

    Lovely review girl! (: It was nice to hear a new perspective on this story.
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  5. says

    Aw man! I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one, Aimee! :( This was actually one of my favorite reads of the year, but I’m sorry you found it dry! Definitely when you can’t connect with the main character that’s where all the problems start D: But it’s always great to see different perspectives, and I definitely acknowledge that :) But I still love this story and hold it very closely to my heart!
    Fantastic review all the same, Aimee!! :D Thanks for being so honest with us! :3 <33
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  6. says

    I’m so sorry this didn’t work for you as much as you wanted it to! :( I can definitely see where you’re coming from though…the essay-like writing and the indifference to the main character definitely sounds unnerving. I think I’m going to still give this one a try because it sounds so up my alley personally, but I think I might lower my expectations a tad.

    Thanks so much for sharing Aimee, and, as always, brilliant review! <3
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    • Aimee says

      It all depends on the reader, honestly. I’m not very into serious reads, so this one wasn’t very entertaining for me. I definitely see the hard work that was put into it, though, so I hope you enjoy it Zoe!

  7. says

    I’ve seen some conflicting reviews. This isn’t the first ho-hum review, and, if I am honest, if the romance is that bad, then I might end up taking this off my list. I am done and over these crappy, forced romances, because everyone feels that they are a MUST in any book.

    However, shedding some light on Hitler sounds very fascinating, on the other hand.
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    • Aimee says

      Other reviews have said that the romance is subtle and not very swoon worthy, but that they liked the slow development. It isn’t bad–it’s just not amazing, which is really sad since I’m a huge fan of romance.

      Everything about Hitler was definitely fascinating!

  8. says

    I’m sorry it wasn’t that good. You’re right I saw some great reviews about this one but well it’s normal it’s not for everyone. I agree about the german thing, I have some notions in French, english, spanish, so it’s ok with these languages but german… well not at all. It’s sad to be lost like that sometimes.

  9. says

    I actually just got a copy of this one sent from the publisher, and the premise sounds really good. I like the setting of the wartime era, it feels almost like a historical dystopian ) I’m pretty sure that’s not even a thing), but it sounds good. I think these days, authors just include a romance to appease what they think the audience wants. I like a romance, but would rather just have an attraction that leads no where than anything forced. I’ll tread lightly with this one. Awesome and fantastically honest review Christie.
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    • Aimee says

      If you’re a fan of historical novels, this one’ll probably be a better fit for you. I find that I mostly enjoy only historical fantasies, or historical romance (the humorous kind), so this one was a miss for me. The romance did feel a little off for me. I hope you enjoy it more!

  10. says

    I definitely understand where your thoughts are coming from! I think it’s important to connect with the characters to like this book: which is why I end up loving it so much. I thought it felt very realistic and I liked the slow set-up, which showed the first side of Hitler: the charming Uncle Dolf. I never noticed the German terms, but perhaps that’s because I had German for a couple of years and I read it like English. I’m sorry to hear you couldn’t enjoy it as much as I did.
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    • Aimee says

      How you connect with the characters really affects what you think of the overall book. I’m glad you were able to connect with them, Mel! I really did like everything that had to do with Hitler. :) I wish I could learn a load of languages!