Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog, Book 2
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Book
Source: B&N
Buy: Amazon ● The Book Depository ● B&N ● iTunes ● Kobo
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The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

Prisoner of Night and Fog was one of the best books I’d read last year. I was a little bit afraid though going into this book, because at this point, I had really high expectations. Glad to say, I wasn’t disappointed! While I did miss the thrill of finding out everything in the first book–the tension between Gretchen and Daniel as our main character decides which side to pick, learning about Hitler’s ‘condition’, and escaping Munich–this was a brilliant follow-up. New players enter this deadly game and there are a lot of twists and thrills that make this a gripping novel from start to finish.

The publication of this book seriously could not have been better well-timed for me personally. It just so happens that currently we’re learning about Fascism and Naziism in a social science course, and many of the events and people mentioned in this book–or even characters part of this book–have come up. The burning of the Reichstag, for instance. I would have had no idea what that was if I wasn’t learning about it at this point in time, so I felt that knowing a bit about Hitler’s rule as chancellor and his transition to dictator really helps with reading this book. There is a lot of history packed in this novel, and while you could get by without really knowing the roles that many of these characters played in real life, knowing about them makes this a more impacting read.

Then he kissed her. His lips on hers were as light as a breath. And she couldn’t stop the horrible thought that his touch felt like a farewell.

My thoughts about Gretchen and Daniel’s characters haven’t really changed since the first book. Both are such great characters, determined to find out what happened at the Reichstag. Definitely a lot of fantastic tense moments between them too (and I don’t mean just romantically!). I also really enjoyed the addition of Gennat’s character–I love detective fiction and detectives in general and his addition into the book made my day. I hadn’t really heard about his previously and reading about him totally made me want to find out more about his time with the Berlin criminal police. Tons of other new faces as well, especially a certain underground crime ring that takes an interesting turn.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is an action-packed sequel that had me on the edge of my seat. Blankman’s blend of fact and fiction is absolutely mesmerising and the writing really makes you feel as though you’re really there during this terrible time in history. I hope there’s a third book coming soon, even though the ending seemed to be perfect and sounded like there wouldn’t be another book, but nonetheless if there is I’m ecstatic to read more about what happens after. If not, I’m glad to have been on this journey navigating one of the biggest turning points in European and World history through the eyes of an amazing and relatable protagonist.

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