Thursday, April 17, 2014

BLOG TOUR REVIEW: PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG by Anne Blankman




Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1
Author: Anne Blankman
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by: Angie Edwards
Source: From publisher for review
My rating: 4/5

SUMMARY

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.




REVIEW

One thing that is crystal clear right from the start is that tremendous amounts of research, time, and effort went into creating this novel. Most of the ideas Hitler expresses in this book are based on things he said in real life. Certain themes he discussed in speeches early in his career are also touched upon in one of his talks. Most notably, the very apt title of the book is derived from the infamous “Night and Fog” decree of 1941, as well as the famous literary ballad by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Originality is this novel’s forte, and the author deserves a standing ovation for creating such a spectacular work of fiction while staying true to the facts.

I found Gretchen and Daniel’s story terribly hard-hitting because of the true historical background it is set against. The terror of Hitler’s rise to power, and the inevitable horrors suffered by the Jews, remained at the forefront of my mind the entire time I was reading this. At its core, this is a love-story between two people from completely different worlds and opposite political views. Their love just shouldn’t be. Yet, they brave the odds and take impossible risks to be together. I was afraid that the romance element might be the main focus of this story, but surprisingly it wasn’t. Gretchen and Daniel fall in love slowly and gradually, and amazingly the romance is more a sideline to the plot than the main theme. I was incredibly relieved to find that the author balanced the romance with the rest of the happenings in the book instead of using it as a backbone for the novel. The reason I wanted to read Prisoner of Night and Fog in the first place was to experience what it must’ve been like to be a youth during Hitler’s rise to power.

Geli Rauban (Hitler’s half-niece) and Eva Braun (who eventually became Hitler’s mistress) are included in this expertly written tale, and both feature a great deal in Gretchen’s life. Geli’s eventual suicide is also included. What I enjoyed most about this novel is how Gretchen and Daniel’s lives are intertwined with these historical characters and several historical events. The downside for me was that I didn’t really connect with the fictional characters, but the historical figures really stood out for me. For example, Geli is portrayed as lively, friendly, caring, and fun, while Gretchen seemed dull in comparison. The only fictional character that came to life for me – and not in a good way – is Gretchen’s psychopathic brother, Reinhard. He was simply terrifying, and his character added to the suspense in leaps and bounds.

In the first half of the book, Adolf Hitler is a bit of a gray character, meaning he seemed very flat. But a little more than halfway into the story, when the pacing picks up, he comes to life as the well-known narcissistic, hate-filled Fuhrer. Kudos to Blankman for sketching this Austria-born madman in a light where readers have to make up their own minds as to what drove him to do the things he did. The most memorable scene for me near the end was the epic and adrenaline-fueling showdown between Gretchen and Hitler when she confronts him with the truth. The last twenty-five percent or so of the book had me clinging to the edge of my seat.

Overall, this is a terrific read. I strongly advise readers to read the Author’s Note after finishing this excellent read (it contains spoilers), as it is quite insightful as to how she put all of this together. I can’t wait to read the next book, and if it’s as choc-full of historical figures, facts, and events as this first book, it will definitely be at the top of my book wishlist!




PURCHASE LINKS



ABOUT the AUTHOR


Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.


Website    *    Twitter    *    Goodreads







Follow us with: 

No comments: