Prisoner of Night and Fog
by Anne Blankman
So... This book was pretty disappointing. It was one of the books I'd been most looking forward to reading this year, and everyone seems to be raving about it in their reviews (or in the ones I've seen at least) so my expectations were high. Unfortunately, it didn't even come close to meeting those expectations.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?
The biggest problem, probably, was that the first 65-ish% of the book was about as interesting to me as watching paint dry. It shouldn't have been that way, given the subject matter, I should have been unable to put it down but instead I was struggling through it and it took me weeks to get through that part (and the drive to keep reading was purely because I wanted to be done with it and kept waiting to see the amazingness everyone else was talking about).
It got a bit better after that point but it didn't really hook me until the last 50-70 pages but not quite enough to sway my opinion of the book overall too much.
The romance was...well, it was okay. I didn't like the beginning of their relationship, it was dull and seemed kind of rushed but nearer the end, I did like them together. It just wasn't one of those swoony, epic, I-ship-it-so-hard kind of relationships that I love so much in books. That may have been because the characters in general only created a lukewarm reaction from me--I liked them, but I didn't really care too much about what happened to them, they were just there.
I feel like I need to comment on the Hitler stuff. It was - interesting? And quite well executed. I just didn't like it. I've loved books before where real people from history make an appearance (e.g. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh), so I know I could love it... I just didn't in this case.
I don't know if it was because of who the people were (Hitler, Geli, Eva Braun, other famous Nazi's, etc.) or because instead of the characters just making an appearance, it made the main character have a really close relationship to them (I cringed so much every time she called him "Uncle Dolf"), but something about it just didn't sit right with me and I can't pin point why. But, other people love it, so it really is just my own issue and not the book.
Basically, I was bored through a lot of the book and didn't start enjoying it until it was too late. In the end, I guess I liked it, but I'm not sure I liked it enough to want to read the sequel (right now, I'm thinking no but maybe I'll change my mind later). I'd rate it 3 stars out of 5 (but for most people, Julie included, it seems to be a 5 star read).