I read, and was not blown away by, Code Name Verity last year. I know, I know -- it was THE BOOK of last year, and how could I not have loved it? I think it was a victim of the dreaded book hype and it just didn't live up to my expectations. And I love WWII stories; I really, really do.
So I decided to take a chance on Prisoner of Night and Fog, since I had access to an e-galley from Edelweiss and could experience this book with no expectations from other bloggers' opinions. When I read the first chapter, I was immediately intrigued and drawn into the story. The narrative is told from Gretchen's perspective, a family friend of Adolph Hitler. The story begins as she is on her way to visit "Uncle Dolf" with some friends and witnesses her friends attacking a Jewish man on the street. She has an internal struggle as she wonders how to react. On the one hand, she's been told that Jews are awful people, but on the other hand, "Uncle Dolf" is trying to maintain the respectable image of his political party and doesn't want his colleagues to be engaging in street brawls. Finally, she decides to intervene in the attack and the story takes off from there.
I liked, but I didn't love, Prisoner of Night and Fog. As mentioned above, I really love stories set during WWII, but I'm starting to wonder if no other book will really live up to The Book Thief. It's unfair of me to compare everything else against that book, but I've read a few other WWII-esque stories since that one, all of which have fallen a bit flat.
With that being said, Prisoner of Night and Fog is definitely still a unique spin by virtue of its narrator. While reading it, I compared it in my mind to All Quiet on the Western Front, which I read in high school. It's always interesting to read history from a different perspective, especially since history is usually recounted from the perspective of the "winners." So, if you're looking for a unique historical tale, be sure to check this one out!
Note: I received an e-galley of this book from Edelweiss. The fact
that I received this book for review did not influence my opinion of
this book in any way.