ARC Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog

April 26, 2014 Review 34 ★★½

ARC Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Source: Publisher
Pages: 416
Release Date: April 22nd, 2014
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog #1
Genres: Historical, Social Issues, Young Adult
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


After being disappointed with CODE NAME VERITY, which I considered a fluke,  I was ecstatic for PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG. Especially since this one had somewhat of a focus on Hitler, who is probably the most grotesquely fascinating human in the WWII era. Unfortunately, all I felt for this one was indifference.

Characters in a gif:


Poor Gretchen, seriously. Her father was supposedly shot protecting Adolf Hitler, her mother basically couldn’t care less about her, and her brother amuses himself by playing cruel tricks on her that often go way too far. She is Hitler’s golden girl, and he appears to love her like a daughter. However, when things start to hit the fan, Gretchen realizes who is truly on her side: almost no one. So yes, things really can get worse for Gretchen.

Gretchen was kind of hard to relate to, which in turn made me care less about her overall. Her “brave” decisions seemed the opposite, and she kept throwing herself into danger to find out the truth about her father’s murder. (Which isn’t going to bring him back but I guess that’s not really the point here) I did find myself really feeling for her situation though, particularly when she was at rock bottom.


adventure time animated GIF

Daniel is a reporter, and a Jew, so there is a whole forbidden romance angle that I usually eat up. However, I found that their “enemy to something more” relationship seemed to develop a bit fast. They meet twice and then all Gretchen can think about is kissing him and she’s suddenly smitten when before she didn’t even want to touch him because she had been taught to see Jews as monsters. The relationship aside, Daniel is an easy character to like. He’s kind, empathetic, and handsome-which never hurts.


Anyway, the thing I probably enjoyed most about this one was Hitler’s portrayal. You got a see a different side of him-a side his friends and family most likely did see. It was amazing to see how he changes through Gretchen’s eyes as the story goes on and we see him as we really knew him to be.

As for the plot, there was not a whole lot going on for this one to be four hundred pages. It was very slow at times, and the chunky paragraphs loaded the pacing down even more. The descriptive writing is really beautiful for a while, but page after page of it and it became tiring when there was no dialogue to break it up. I think it was much too long for what it was.

It’s a good historical read if you are interested in the era and have some patience to spare.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.6

34 Responses to “ARC Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog”

    • Alise

      Yep, that’s pretty much it exactly! It’s a shame because there are historical books out there can have good pacing but this wasn’t one :/ Ah, well. Thanks!

  1. Eugenia @ Chasm of Books

    This sounds like an interesting read, and since I’m usually a fan of historical fiction I might give it a try. I’ve read from other reviews along with yours that the pacing is a little slow, but hopefully the characters make up for it.

    Great review and love the gifs! :)
    Eugenia @ Chasm of Books recently posted…Discussion: Organizing Books

    • Alise

      Same for me, I really like historical fiction too! Daniel and Hitler were super interesting so yeah, the characters definitely make it more entertaining! Thank you :)

    • Alise

      Haha! I kind of wish I had done that, sadly. My co-blogger wanted to finish it all the way through otherwise I think I would have dropped it too!

  2. Tanja

    I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much. I as hoping it would be an amazing read but then again I didn’t enjoy CNV either. I’ll still give this one a try. I love that this book gives somewhat different portrayal of Hitler and now I’m really curious. Great review! :)
    Tanja recently posted…Sunday Post (#4)

    • Alise

      Yeah, still give it a shot! It has a different feel, for sure. I’ll be wanting to know what you think if you ever read it ;) Thanks!

  3. Melliane

    The idea is really interesting because I don’t think I’ve ever read something like that. But It’s already really difficult when we can’t relate to the characters… I’m sorry it wasn’t really for you. I’m not sure it’s for me now.
    Melliane recently posted…Les Stagiaires de Samantha Bailly

    • Alise

      Yeah, it’s pretty unique in respect to the stuff I’ve read in the time period or about Hitler. Yeah that’s always disappointing. If you like historical fiction you can always give it a try!

  4. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    I’ve read some reviews gushing about this book, and found it fascinating because it focused on a different side of Hitler. It sucks you didn’t enjoy it, but I totally agree. Sometimes the flowery language gets annoying when nothing else happens. I think I’ll still pick this one up because it sounds truly fascinating. But I’ll definitely read it with lowered expectations. Wonderful review xx
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…ARC Review: Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

    • Alise

      That’s probably my number one favorite thing in this one-the depiction of Hitler! I’ve seen a few documentaries where he was said to be friendly with some people which I just thought was so interesting because I think some people forget he was real if that makes sense. I hope you like it!

  5. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    You didn’t like Code Name Verity?!! I LOVE that one…although I think it was a tad bit slow and I originally DNF’d it. Hehe…weird book. (And soul crushing). BUT AHEM. I want to try this one, but I have heard very mixed things about it. I’m interested in the different view of Hitler, but the 400+ pages of nothing-much-happening is kind of scaring me…
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Fire And Flood by Victoria Scott (Not Really A Review)

    • Alise

      No one is more disappointed in me than Bec, she loves that book too xD Yep, the pacing got me in both this one and Code Name. It really does lack a lot of plot and the mystery isn’t really a mystery at all but some people just love this one so I would say give it a shot!

  6. Incredibrarian

    I read it and I loved it instantaneously. I love historical fiction, so that may have swayed me a bit further. The cover is gorgeous.

    I like that that’s the beauty of reading though: it’s all subjective. One person’s 5-star review is another’s 2.6. I’ve jumped on a few bandwagons lately for books that are all the rage on blogs, and I ended up hating them. Different strokes for different folks.
    Incredibrarian recently posted…Teaser Tuesday: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

    • Alise

      I love historical fiction too but I’m beginning to think my love for the genre stays in the Victorian era because I’m not having any luck with WWII so far.

      True! I wish more people would realize that. So many variables in play too, and like you said-everyone is different.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Summer/Sunny

    YES! I’m always a fan of gifs, as you know, but I agreed with what you said about the characters and Hitler’s portrayal really was amazing. I fell in love with this book, but the length probably should’ve been trimmed down some. Hopefully that’ll be fixed in the sequel!
    Summer/Sunny recently posted…Review: THE HUNT by Stacey Kade

    • Alise

      Glad you like them! I’ll have to look more into the sequel, I didn’t know about one! He really was so interesting.

    • Alise

      No worries! Ha, there’s probably a lot of truth in that. Yeah, if that interests you I think you will like this one! Sigh, me too :)

  8. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    Yeah, I think I might pass on this one. I like a good historical fiction every now and again, but WWII is NOT my favorite period of history. Give me ancient Greece, or the Celts, or the Victorians, and you’ve got a better than average chance that I’ll like it . . . WWII not so much. Sorry it was so MEH for you :(
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

    • Alise

      I’m beginning to learn that too, love the Victorian era but WWII books are almost always a bore to me even though I like the era in real life. Strange! Thanks!

  9. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Honestly, as much as I’m bummed that you didn’t enjoy this one as much as everyone else seems to, I’m glad to read a more balanced review for it than what I’d been seeing so far. It sucks when one of the main characters is difficult to relate to. For me it can more or less ruin my experience with the book. At least the boy in question was likable. Given the topic at hand, I would have hoped to see the romance develop slowly but it doesn’t seem like it was the case here. >.< I'm still a bit curious to see Hitler's portrayal but now I know not to rush into getting my hands on this one just yet. Thanks for the lovely review ^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Allegiant

    • Alise

      Thank you! I always try to talk about both the positives and negatives. I’m the exact same way, especially since I prefer character driven books. The romance was super promising at first and then all the sudden it wasn’t, it was almost kind f random. Sure :) Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

    Aww…I’m sorry you didn’t like this one as much as you hoped you would Alise! I personally loved it, but I can definitely see where you’re coming from. There are definitely times when Gretchen can have the potential to be hard to relate to, so I can’t blame you there.

    At least you liked how Anne portrayed Hitler! I agree…it was such an interesting take on him, and I loved how we got to see so many different sides to him.

    Anyhow, sorry you didn’t like this more. :( Hopefully your next read is better! Thanks for sharing and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…Love Letters to the Dead

    • Alise

      I wish I would have liked it more, too. I think the biggest thing was the pacing which I really didn’t want to deal with because I was in a slump.

      Ooh, definitely! So awesome seeing a unique, yet still realistic, depiction of him.

      No worries, thank you so much :D

    • Alise

      It’s not my favorite historical read but it does have some interesting and entertaining parts. Thank you!

    • Alise

      Haha, the opportunity is definitely there to love it ;) It was so cool to see a different side of Hitler that was still pretty realistic.

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