Prisoner of Night and Fog
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1
Released: April 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Rating: 4 stars
Word Rating: Pretty much in love
Reviewed by: Mel
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.
For so long, she had believed in Hitler’s lies, seeing shadows where there should have been light.
Set in Germany during the rise of Hitler’s power, Prisoner of Night and Fog was a beautifully told story. I loved Anne Blankman’s take on this time period. The main character, Gretchen Müller is actually from Hitler’s inner circle—she refers to Hitler as “Uncle Dolf”. Instead of a conniving and cruel image of Hitler that we normally see in other YA historical fictions, Gretchen idolises and sees him as a good and all-round loved and charming man. This was truly refreshing and transcended my expectations.
It’s apparent that there was a lot of research to make it such a brilliant novel. I seriously cannot image how the author did it. Research is highly important when tackling the historical genre, and the author really went out of her way to make us readers feel like were back to the years when Hitler was alive. Anne Blankman wove her novel around some real events that happened in history such as the Beer Hall Putsch event and Hitler being treated for his ‘hysterical blindness’ during Germany’s surrender. Even some of the characters in Prisoner of Night and Fog were actual people (such as Hitler—duh—Geli, Eva, Hess and Putzi). Hands down to this author.
All the characters here fantastically created. Gretchen was a competent and determined young lady who really grew onto me. When she discovers that her father's death may not have been as heroic as she thought, but a murder by one of his own comrades, Gretchen is desperate to uncover who killed him. Even if it means to trust a Jew--Jews which she had been taught to fear and look at with disgust. It’s amazing how learning the other side to a story can change your view and open your eyes to the whole picture. Daniel Cohen was a sweet and ambitious Jew, and worked as a newspaper reporter. I loved their honesty towards each other and their undying trust. Their romance was pleasantly devoid of instant-love however I wasn't exactly shipping the two even though I am not against their romance.
The only niggle I have towards Prisoner of Night and Fog is it's plot and pace. I felt that the plot wasn't very strong and could have done with a little more focus and a little more importance because sometimes I felt that Gretchen wasn't really interested/desperate to discover the truth about her father's death. As for the pace, things only really picked up till the halfway point. The first half was just setting up the characters on the board. The second half though, I found to be gripping.
Atmospheric and engaging, Prisoner of Night and Fog has found its place as one of my favourite historical novels ever. I recommend this to lovers of Elizabeth Wein's novels.