ARC Review – Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

22838220Title: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

Author:  Anne Blankman

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: 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?

Huge thank you to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for this ARC!

River’s Review:

I remember reading Prisoner of Night and Fog last year and LOVING it so I was REALLY excited to read this. And while it was good, I don’t feel that it was AS good as it’s predecessor.

Overall this book was wonderful. I loved the mix of fact and fiction, the little ‘fill in the gaps with my own story’ parts that the author did, and the writing. I loved Daniel and his swoony-ness, Gretchen and her badass-ness, and all of the characters in between (I LOVED Iron Fist Fredrick. A kind gangster. So awesome.)

My biggest issues were the pacing and repetition. I actually think that we could have done without the first 20% of the book. Yes I see that it’s setting up Gretchen’s new life so that when she has to leave it everything feels more devastating, but it’s obvious that she’s going to go to Germany anyway, so I think it would have been better if she’d just gone with Daniel from the start.

And then later on in the book things were very repetitive. Gretchen would often re-hash the same things about her and Daniel’s relationship, about the conspiracy about the fire, and about how if they solved things how it would affect Hitler. It got to be at times I would just say ‘I know!’ because… I did.

Thankfully the pacing got better in the second half and things really kicked into gear. The first half they traveled a lot and significant things were glossed over while other times it felt like insignificant things were given too much attention. I would have liked more time with Daniel’s family, for one. I would have liked less ‘omg we love each other but can’t be together because we want different things’ moping from Gretchen.

But damn, I love Gretchen and Daniel. They’re just so well done and they work so well together and I just love it. Probably one of my favorite YA couples.

The ending of this was really good and made me very happy. I don’t see another book coming and that’s fine, I think that this story is indeed finished. I LOVED the author’s note at the end, and read to the very, very last page.

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