Tuesday, April 15, 2014

[Review: Prisoner Of Night And Fog by Anne Blankman]

"Prisoner of Night and Fog"
Author: Anne Blankman
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog #1
Pages: 416
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Date Published: April 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review

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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.
-Goodreads 
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My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To Prisoner of Night and Fog,

BOOK!!!  I can't get over how much I love you.  I didn't know that you would end up giving me a history lesson in such detail that I would also read the author's note, wanting you never to end.  Needless to say, that's what happened.  Even though you're a work of fiction, you gave me so much insight into the beginning of The Nazi movement.  I didn't want to get sucked into the glamor or brutality of it, but alas I fell into the rabbit hole that you dug up for me.  Book, I'm a huge fan and I want everyone to read you and the other books that will come later, continuing your story.

-The White Unicorn

Prisoner of Night and Fog is one of those magical books that comes around every once in awhile.  It hits you like a fly ball to the face and makes an impact that's sure to stay with you for a very long time.  It's one of those books that is more history than fiction and that in and of itself makes it a horrifically intriguing read.  So many WWII books come at the war from the view of the oppressed, but Blankman dares to do something different with her narrative, she drops you into the lion's den, she drops you right into Hitler's lap.

It's evident from the first page all the way through the author's note that Blackman didn't mess around when it came to researching the Nazi party and all of it's early key players.  The book is drenched in real historical facts, that are so bluntly stated that you have to remind yourself that most of these things and these people existed and this is indeed how they acted.  The added fictional characters only add to the excitement of the story, instead of covering up the historical elements.

Gretchen is one of my new favorite characters.  The ways that Blackman used her to get us inside the workings of Hitler and his Socialist Party were daring.  She's one of those characters that grows so much in one book.  Of course she's put through the ringer as she learns that she can't trust anyone that she once considered family.  It's through her eyes that we get to see the human parts of Hitler and how, after the layers are pulled back that he was a monster in human form all along.  You know it's coming, but Gretchen doesn't and seeing things through her eyes is a strange and terrifyingly awesome experience.

The characters (whether fictional or not) are all written with such care.  Gretchen's brother Reinhard will make you squirm as you read.  He's evil in it's most pure, natural, human form.  He and Hitler are cut from the same, yet altogether different piece of fabric.  The chills and the shock that these two men (as well as the rest of the Nazi party) give you hang over the book.

The softer, yet still intense part of the novel was the love story between Gretchen and Daniel.  It was awesome to see the two of them come together in a way that didn't drowned out the rest of the plot.  The romance is needed and it is really well written, but it's not the main focus of the novel and I really liked that.  Daniel gives us incite into the reporting side of things and gives a strong sense of the Jewish community in Munich in the 30s.  He also gives Gretchen a chance to grow and change. Confusing the Jewish propaganda that she's been fed for years by her darling Uncle Dolf, and forcing her to start making her own assumptions about what really happened the night her father died.

In short, what I'm trying to say is that I haven't read a historical fiction novel like this in quite some time and anyone who is interested in what really happened in the beginning of Hitler's reign should give this fantastic novel a good ol' read!

Rating:
5 Unicorns = Get your hands on this now! 

2 comments:

Natalie Natflixandbooks said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. I'm just about to start it and was kind of unsure if it was going to be something I'd enjoy. It is amazing to think that the Nazis really existed. I'm glad that the author doesn't shy away from the truth of the horror this evil created, and am equally excited for the love story that brings some needed levity. Great review!

Nicole said...

I am almost finished this one and I pretty much agree with everything you've said, especially this "It's one of those books that is more history than fiction and that in and of itself makes it a horrifically intriguing read." And that I hate Reinhard with every fiber of my being (and Hitler of course). So interesting to see this side of things. Great review!