Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman – Review & Giveaway

April 18, 2015 Giveaways (Ended), Reviews 4 ★★★½

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman - Review & Giveaway

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman – Review & GiveawayConspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog #2
Also in this series: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Published by Balzer & Bray on 4/21/15
Genres: Death & Dying, Europe, Historical Fiction, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Source: Blog Tour, Edelweiss
My content rating: YA (Some references to prostitution, but nothing more than kissing shown)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

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?

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My Take copy3
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is the second installment in the Prisoner of Night and Fog series (a duology, I believe?). This book found Gretchen and David back in Germany, attempting to clear David’s name when he is accused of a murder. It soon becomes apparent that the murder is just part of a larger cover-up, and Gretchen and David hope to uncover the truth and ruin Hitler’s chance at leading Germany down a horrific path.
What I loved:
  • WWII background.  Just like in the first book, it was interesting to learn about the Nazi regime and what was happening in Germany just before the war (as well as in England where people like Winston Churchill were just starting to speak out about Hitler). Gretchen and David were right in the middle of the action, while they were trying to clear David’s name, and they were discovering more and more how Hitler was gaining his power and winning people over to his side (or forcing them to his side, in many cases). The brutality of that reality was painful but incredibly intriguing.
  • The romance. At first I didn’t think much was going to happen in the area of romance in this book, since Gretchen and David were already together. But it soon became apparent that everything was not as perfect for these two as it first seemed. Gretchen discovered that David hadn’t been completely up front with her about his happiness – not with her, but with their situation, and they were suddenly faced with a situation where they began to worry that there was no real solution and that love might not be enough on its own. The romantic elements to the book were my favorite because I was incredibly invested in these two as a couple!
The negatives:
  • Not much Hitler.  One of the things that I loved most about the first book was the interesting perspective that we got on Hitler, seeing him through the eyes of someone who was close to him. This book didn’t really focus as much on Hitler himself, and he was more of a peripheral character, so the some of the magic was missing for me.
  • The mystery. Like in the first book, the mystery in this book wasn’t that exciting to me. It was one of those cases where you could figure out, at least generally, what had happened pretty early on – obviously the murder and the fire that’s also central to the book were somehow Nazi related and were being covered up, and I just wasn’t quite interested enough to care about the minute details of how and why. This is just me, though, because mysteries aren’t my favorite, in general.
  • Slow beginning. The first half of the book was definitely slow for me, and I had a hard time really connecting to the characters again. I didn’t quite think that David had a compelling enough reason to go back to Germany in the first place and then I was having a hard time understanding why he was so desperate to stay and clear his name. It hardly seemed worth their lives, which they were obviously risking. I did understand why Gretchen and David wanted to expose Hitler, though, so that eventually convinced me that they were doing the right thing – I just had a hard time agreeing with their reasoning at first. The book picked up in the second half, but the first half felt like it dragged a bit.
While I enjoyed the second installment in this duology, I didn’t love it quite as much as I did the first. I think this one will really appeal to people who are fans of historical fiction and mysteries, which aren’t normally my preferred genres (though the first book definitely won me over). Still, Blankman did a great job of setting the atmosphere of oppression in WWII Germany. For me, this one was 3.5/5 stars. 
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn’t writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.After earning a master’s degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she’s not writing young adult fiction, she’s playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

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4 Responses to “Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman – Review & Giveaway”

  1. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    Not enough Hitler?! That’s a shame because the Hitler-related aspects were the only ones I actually enjoyed in book one. And I’m not too sure if I’ll appreciate the romance too much in this one since I wasn’t all that invested in Gretchen and David in Prisoner of Night and Fog. 🙁 I’m glad you enjoyed this book for the most part, though! Lovely review.

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted: Review: The Awesome by Eva Darrows / Not Enough Awesomeness
    • Nicole

      Yeah, I really loved getting that in-depth perspective on Hitler in the first book, so I missed that in this one.

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