Book Review – Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

Author: Anne Blankman
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Release Date: 21st April 2015
Publishers: Headline
No. Pages: 384
Source: BookBridgr
Buy at: BookDepository

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: she used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year ago, she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich to live in Oxford, posing as an ordinary German immigrant. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town, and Gretchen is content. Then a telegram sends Daniel back to Germany, and her world turns upside-down when she learns that Daniel is wanted for murder. To save him, she must return to her homeland and somehow avoid capture and recognition by her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as she and Daniel work to clear his name, they discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and escape in time – or will Hitler discover them first?

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for Prisoner of Night and Fog

Anne Blankman’s debut novel, Prisoner of Night and Fog, left me in awe. The blend of fact with fiction resulted in a heart-pounding story of murder, deceit and one girls quest to discover the truth. After learning Blankman was working on the sequel, it quickly claimed the top spot for my most anticipated releases of the year, and it did not disappoint.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke picks up a few months after Gretchen and her Jewish love, Daniel, have fled Germany and Hitler. Gretchen is living with her new family in England, and for the first time she is content. However, a telegram sees Daniel return to Germany. Not long after, Gretchen’s world is flipped upside down when receives news that Daniel is wanted for murder. Determined to help clear his name, Gretchen is forced to return to her homeland.

Gretchen’s voice has matured since the first installment. She’s no longer the manipulated favourite niece of Hitler, but a headstrong, determined individual, who is willing to sacrifice everything to protect those she loves. This made her far more relatable than in the first book.

The relationship between Daniel and Gretchen was much more forefront in Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke than in it’s predecessor. Their mutual respect and unwavering support for one another is a refreshing rarity in YA. Despite what seems like a perfect relationship, it was not all plain sailing. Their struggle to stop Hitler from seizing complete control over Germany and the knowledge that they both wanted separate things caused many strains on their relationship. This, however, didn’t prevent me from rooting for them.

My only disappointment with this sequel was the psychological aspect that made Prisoner of Night and Fog such a unique and singular read, was not as prominent in this book.

The paranoia and danger Gretchen felt as she desperately tried to remain undetected had me on the edge of my seat. I was completely immersed and captivated by this book. This is what Blankman does well; she writes character and stories a reader can’t help but become invested into. And the time and effort spent researching shone through just as strongly in this installment as the first.

This is a duology that will remain with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

4stars

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