Sunday, 30 November 2014

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author: Anne Blankman
Publisher: Headline
Buy this book: Amazon / 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?

Prisoner of Night and Fog was a read that is really hard for me to review and sum up my feelings for. That always seems to be the case when it comes to books that I'm unsure about. You know the books, the ones that you didn't loathe or love. They're the middle ground books, the 3/5 reads that leave you feeling like you don't have a lot to say about them. Prisoner of Night and Fog is one of those books, and I'm really struggling to review it.

It's a book that had aspects that I enjoyed, but it definitely didn't wow me or grab my attention the way I wanted it to. It didn't leave an impression with me, I forgot about it the instant I put the book down. I can already say that I won't be continuing the series. It's not a terrible book, there was a lot about it that really interested me. But it left me with the feeling that I wanted to go pick up a history book, not add the sequel to my TBR.

This is a historical fiction story set in Germany during the 1930s, and in this we are seeing Hitler during his rise to power. Gretchen has known Hitler her whole life, he's Uncle Dolf to her, the man her father died trying to protect. He's been a constant presence in her life and she adores him. To her he is a good man. That is until she meets Daniel Cohen, a Jewish reporter who believes that her father didn't die protecting Hitler, but was murdered by a member of the National Socialist Party. Gretchen agrees to work with him to uncover the truth, despite the fact he is Jewish and she has always been taught that the Jews are subhuman. I've always been fascinated with Nazi Germany, I took History at college and that was always my favourite subject to study. It's a very important part of history, there's a reason why you get taught about it over and over again, year after year. So that whole aspect of this series really appealed to me, especially because of how much of it is based on fact and real events that happened.

As I've mentioned previously, there were things I liked about the book and things that didn't really work for me. I'm becoming rather fond of lists so let's get to it.

What I Liked

The history: It's such an important and fascinating part of history. This is a work of fiction, but contains a lot of historical fact and events that happened. It's also about Hitler during his rise to power, which we don't see much of. The historical fiction is usually set during WWII, so I did like the fact this concentrates more on how Hitler came to power. 

Gretchen: She goes through a large amount of character growth during this book and who doesn't love that. She decides to do what she thinks is right, even when she's scared of what the consequences for that might be. She's a strong character and I liked that she was willing to stand up for what she believed in.

Gretchen and Daniel: Someone who's been raised to hate Jews and  a Jewish reporter falling in love, what's not to like. Yes, these two could be quite cute. 


What I Disliked
All the psychopaths: There are multiple psychopaths in this book, I was starting to feel like maybe all the Germans were going to turn out to be psycho. This is probably a more personal thing though because I don't agree with the analysis that Hitler was a psychopath. There have been those who argued he is and those who argued he isn't. But there are many things about him that would argue that he isn't and I agree with that side of the argument. People, completely sane people, can do the most disgusting and horrific things. I liked that Gretchen herself questioned whether he was a psychopath and didn't just immediately agree with the diagnosis.

The comical baddie: Hitler isn't the main bad guy in this book, believe it or not. It's actually Gretchen's brother Reinhard, who she's very afraid of. She was afraid, I wasn't. He was such a comical bad guy. It was like someone had tried to draw a caricature of some evil Nazi, who likes to beat Jews, play cruel tricks on his sister and kill small animals. I mean... really. I found him absolutely comical, it was like he was too bad

Gretchen: Yes, you read that right, the girl makes both lists. I thought she was a strong heroine at times, but there were also times where she frustrated me. She had such hate and fear for her brother, but so much love for her father. Her father who used to beat her brother, he'd literally beat him with his fists because he felt there was something wrong with him. Why does she idolise that guy again?

Gretchen and Daniel: They make both lists too. Yes they could be quite cute, but I didn't really care about the romance. It's obvious it will eventually happen but they both change their minds about each other far too quickly.

Doesn't go deep enough: I just didn't feel like it went deep enough for me, but that might be coming in later books. We concentrate to much on the comical baddie and the murder mystery aspect, which didn't interest me very much. I just wanted it to go a little deeper, for Gretchen to go a little deeper. We see a lot of the higher level people within the National Socialist Party and the things they do, but I wanted to see more of the German civilians during that time.



3/5 Butterflies

This is an okay read, but it didn't leave a lasting impression or a desire to read the next book. There were a few things I enjoyed, but felt there was so much that could have been improved on. I really liked seeing the rise of Hitler, and how much Gretchen changes over the course of the book. But I felt like we barely scratch the surface on some really important issues and parts of history. Hopefully they look into it more during the next book, but I won't be reading it and so I won't know. The pacing wasn't too great either, there was a lot of times when I was zoning out because not much was really happening.



*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

22 comments:

  1. Hmm, I've been wanting to read this book for a while - mainly because of the historical aspects, so glad to see you loved that about this story. :) I'm really looking forward to reading this and seeing what I think of Gretchen and Gretchen and Daniel. Do you plan on reading book #2, Charnel? Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

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    1. Well... I didn't think so. Then I saw Emily's comment about how much she loved book two and now I can't decide. Part of me is now slightly tempted.

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  2. YESYESYESYESYES!!!!!! I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU'VE SAID!! I rated this one 3 stars to, and wasn't that keen to read the second one but then I got a review copy of the second one AND IT WAS OH SO BRILLIANT!!! Definite 5 stars from me! Hopefully seeing as we both rated this one 3 stars, you'll love the second one as much as I did if you read it!! :)

    Frabjous review as always!

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    1. Oh no, now you have me actually considering book two! Now I am torn and unsure what to do. I really wasn't that impressed with book one, but if book two is amazing then maybe I don't want to miss out.

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  3. I hate books like this simply because they are so hard to review! Sorry this was such a tough one for you in all aspects.

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    1. Thank you. It wasn't a terrible book, it just didn't blow me away or leave a lasting impression.

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  4. Ahh the dreaded 3/5 star books! I get so frustrated with reviewing those as well as I never know what to say as I have no strong emotions about them. I was actually going to get this book to read, but then I never did and I'm not sure if I'd really enjoy it that much. It sounds like an interesting story and I quite enjoy historical fiction but the characters seem a bit meh, we'll see! Great review. :)

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    1. The characters were very meh, I never felt very much of anything about any of them. They were all just there. 3/5 reviews are the hardest, I need it to be a loved or loathed book for it to give me a large amount to say about it.

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  5. bummer! This has been on my TBR list for a while, thanks for the insightful review!

    Emily @ Follow the Yellow Book Road

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  6. This seems like it has a bit of a meh kind of feel to it. I always like a good historical fiction, and I like the idea of it being told by someone who is so close to Hitler in relation but then is also a book which sticks to the facts. Not sure about picking this one up or not because there are some elements there I know I won't like... but there are some I know I will like as well!

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    1. I know, this one was a hard one for me. There were a lot of aspects that I liked, but then those that just didn't work for me.

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  7. I was so looking forward to this book but like you, I wish there had been more to it. Instead I was super disappointed :(

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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    1. Me too, it just wasn't what I was expecting at all. Happy to see you're back as well :)

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  8. I read this book too. I liked it, but I agree with a lot of what you said. My expectations for this book were far higher than what I got. Still, I did love the history. I don't know why, but WWII books always seem to draw me in. Although this wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be, I think I will still read the next book.

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    1. I don't think I'll read book two, I might wait until I see more reviews. If it's better than book one then it could be worth my time. I'm just unsure at the minute.

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  9. I've read a lot of positive reviews about this book, but to be honest, I'm not a big historical fiction fan so I keep putting it off. I think I checked it out from the library at some point but when it sat on my shelf unread for months and months I finally took it back. I'm sure it would end up just being okay with me and with so many other books that I'm excited to read, this one just doesn't make the list anymore. Thanks for the thoughtful review! ~Pam

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    1. You're welcome. It was an interesting and enjoyable read, but it didn't impress me as much as I wanted it to. It hasn't left me with a desire to continue, so that's pretty bad.

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  10. My thoughts exactly Charnell! This had such a fabulous premise and I adored how Blankman incorporated history into the story, but for some reason or another I just felt a bit...emotionally distant from it as a whole. I am looking forward to seeing what the sequel has in store though! Thanks for sharing and fabulous review! <3

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    1. Me too now, especially with people saying that the sequel is a lot better than the first book. I am now becoming more tempted to give the sequel a go myself.

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  11. I definitely agree on many points that you raised here! I wasn't 100% sold on the romance either--even though they were awful cute. I heard there's a sequel, so I'm really interested to see what happens next--though I never thought it truly required one.

    Great review! <33

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    1. I'm curious about the sequel too! I hope the sequel is better than the first but I am still unsure whether I want to read it.

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