Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog #1
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Check out on GOODREADS
Pre-Order on AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY
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.