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Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke


Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

evaluări:
4/5 (12 evaluări)
Lungime:
11 hours
Lansat:
Apr 21, 2015
ISBN:
9780062365835
Format:
Carte audio

Descriere

Acclaimed author Anne Blankman returns to the shadowy and dangerous world of 1930s Germany in this thrilling sequel to Prisoner of Night and Fog, perfect for fans of Code Name Verity.

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 in England, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel, 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. 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, 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?

A HarperAudio production.

Lansat:
Apr 21, 2015
ISBN:
9780062365835
Format:
Carte audio


Despre autor

Anne Blankman is the acclaimed author of Prisoner of Night and Fog, which received a starred review and a Flying Start from Publishers Weekly. When Anne was twelve, she read Anne Frank's diary and has been haunted by World War II ever since. The idea for Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke came to her after she read about a real-life unsolved street assassination from January 1933, which was the inspiration for Monika Junge's murder. To research this book, she studied a wide range of sources, including biographies, memoirs, social histories, psychological profiles, old maps, photographs, and video footage. Anne lives in southeastern Virginia with her husband, Mike, her young daughter, Kirsten, and, of course, lots and lots of books.

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  • (4/5)
    I loved Anne Blankman's debut novel last year. "Prisoner of Night and Fog" was one of my favourites for 2015, so I was keen to read its sequel. "Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke" was well written and extensively researched, but it started slowly and I felt it lacked the nail-biting tension of the first book as Gretchen and Daniel were more distanced from Hitler in this one. However, despite missing the intensity of the first book and learning more about Hitler's psyche, "Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke" was still a worthy sequel, full of intrigue, drama and suspense.
  • (4/5)
    For more reviews, gifs, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.Anne Blankman’s debut novel, Prisoner of Night and Fog, is perfection. I loved every single bit of it to pieces: the darkness, the terror, the psychology, the history, and the romance. The characters, the plot, the writing, and the setting were all on point. My expectations for Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke were absurdly high, so it’s not surprising that it fell short, if only slightly. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke lacks the charisma of Prisoner of Night and Fog, but it’s still brilliant, well-written, and deliciously scary.Set two years after Prisoner of Night and Fog, Gretchen and Daniel are living in Oxford. Gretchen’s found a loving, supportive family at last with the Whitestones. Daniel, however, hates it there, because he’s stuck working the society beat. On top of that, he doesn’t know any Jewish people, and he lacks that connection he’s had all his life. Unlike Gretchen, he was leaving behind friends and family, people he still loved and trusted. For her, it was pure escape, but he feels like he’s wasting away without really journalism to sink his teeth into.In Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, Gretchen and Daniel really have to evaluate their relationship. They fell in love in Prisoner of Night and Fog, and it was very sweet. Now, though, they’re past the honeymoon phase of the relationship and they’re no longer in danger all of the time. It’s not daring and intense. She’s all he’s got now, and it’s not enough. What I like about this is that, though the circumstances of their lives are so out of the ordinary, their relationship problems are very much realistic and their own. Their relationship was obviously forbidden by the Nazis, but the biggest issues they’re dealing with in Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke don’t have anything to do with external censure.As anyone could predict, Daniel and Gretchen end up heading back to Germany. He hears that one of his cousins had been attacked, and off he goes to Germany. Gretchen follows to save his ass, which has been charged for a murder it did not commit (well, not just his ass—his whole person). It’s cool that the girl’s going to protect the guy, but such a bad idea. Once in Germany, shit hits the fan. They once again set out to investigate, hoping to stop the Nationalist Socialist party’s rise to power by proving that they framed Daniel. History tells us that they will have quite the struggle doing so.Like Prisoner of Night and Fog, the writing and action is strong. This series gets so dark, as dark as it has to in order to capture the time period. Daniel’s crippled from the events of the first book, for fiction’s sake. Blankman shows the brutality openly. Plot-wise, my favorite part of Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is when Gretchen and Daniel get caught up with German mobsters and prostitutes, who turn out to be way more honorable than the government. It’s also pretty cool that there’s a Nazi who still tries to help Gretchen. Things are never completely black and white or easy to pin down, and I love that Gretchen has to shoot people in this book. Her hands are bloody too.Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is, almost entirely, a great novel. However, I can’t get past the fact that it’s also somewhat pointless. A lot happens, don’t get me wrong. The book’s action-packed and full of historical intrigue. The thing is that Gretchen and Daniel had managed to escape to England together; they had new identities and safe lives. There’s no reason for them to go back to Germany; even without the hindsight of a reader, they knew that their lives would likely be forfeit if they went back while Hitler was still in power. Sure, Daniel’s family member had been attacked, but it’s not like he’s an expert surgeon, the only one who can help the guy. Like his family would want him to die coming to say his last respects or sit at his family member’s bedside. No. It’s a ridiculous, trumped up excuse to get them back into Germany. It just feels like the extra book was tacked on, since they could have had trouble getting out and just still been there.Despite the fact that I don’t think Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke quite lived up to its predecessor, it’s still amazing. Even with those reservations, I would read ten more books about Gretchen, because they’re fabulous.
  • (4/5)
    Daniel and Gretchen are back, yay! After fleeing from Germany and Gretchen's ties to the rising Nazi Party, the pair of them have established themselves in England. Gretchen has reinvented herself as a Whitestone (the psychologist who was staying in her mother's boardinghouse in the first book), becoming an honorary member of his family and deciding to follow into his footsteps professionally. Daniel, on the other hand, has become a society reporter - a far cry from breaking important news stories, as he did in Munich. He's also feeling increasingly isolated from his family and cultural identity. Daniel's cousin, Aaron, whom we briefly met in the first book, is beaten by the SA and put into the hospital. He later dies. Sadness. He wasn't a "main character" by any means in the first book, but he did make an appearance, and I was saddened by his death. Daniel is determined to hunt down those responsible - rather foolish of him, really, considering that they barely escaped from Germany with their lives a mere eighteen months before. But, coupled with his unhappiness in England, Daniel leaves and becomes embroiled in a murder. Gretchen, of course, has to go back to Germany as well to clear his good name. First, I want to go with the good. And there is definitely a lot of good in this book and the series (I am hoping that the author continues the series, and considering the trend for trilogies in young adult fiction, I think the odds are pretty favorable). I love how much history is packed into this book; the history nerd in me delights in every little detail. For those who are less historically inclined, it might feel like an overload of information that can detract from the story, but as for me, I love it!The relationship between Daniel and Gretchen is a real standout to me because of their maturity levels. They aren't kids; although they're young, they've grown up fast, and it shows, particularly with Daniel. I think the scene that captures this best is on page 122, once Gretchen discovers how unhappy Daniel has been in England (which he has been trying to keep hidden from her, because she is very happy in their new lives). He explains that he misses having a Jewish community, friends, family, and a rewarding job. When Gretchen protests that she could fill all of those roles for him, Daniel states: "We can't fill all the holes in each other's lives. That's too much to expect from one person. Love isn't enough. There needs to be more - friends, a satisfying job, school, family."YES. That is an incredibly mature and thoughtful take on a relationship, something that many YA books are seriously lacking. Too many YA books have the love interest being everything - two people against the world - and while I can sort of appreciate that, at least in fiction, it just isn't realistic. And even though Daniel and Gretchen are quite isolated and have to rely on one another quite a bit, there's still a community surrounding them, both in and out of Germany.But while the book does have high points, it just didn't capture my interest like Prisoner of Smoke and Fog did. Daniel has lost his confidence and swagger that I loved so much in the first book, which is understandable considering the circumstances but still disappointing. The threat level simultaneously felt greater (they are now both enemies of the Nazi Party, which has only gained more power since they fled to England) and less (they were both working on the outside of the Party now, instead of being thrust into the middle of it and trying to keep two fronts going). And the whole "Daniel needs to go to Germany again" thing, coupled with Gretchen following him, just felt a little forced and convenient. I understand that part of that is because I am looking back in hindsight - we, the readers, know just how bad things are going to get in Germany, while Gretchen and Daniel don't have the luxury of that knowledge - but, personally, if I had barely escaped a country with my life (which is what happened in the first book), I'd probably not be rushing back into it any time soon. The whole diversion into the criminal underbelly of Berlin was interesting enough, but I felt that the story kind of lagged until they were accepted into the group. Once I was about halfway through the story, I really got invested in it and the characters once more, but getting to that point felt more like a slog than anything else. Something just wouldn't click until then, and I had to set the book down several times.And now come the spoilers. Okay, when Daniel sacrifices himself so that Gretchen has a chance to escape, I almost cried a little. Almost. And then I did cry a little once Gretchen is told that Daniel is dead, shot to death unceremoniously in a basement after being tortured. But, no matter how sad this made me, I kind of wanted it to be true (although I was sure that Daniel wasn't really dead).Does that make me sound like a sadist? Let me explain. Daniel is an amazing character and I love him, but...it feels to me like Gretchen relies a little too heavily on him. I'm not suggesting fridging him by any means, but...I think that it would be interesting to see what would happen to Gretchen if her support system was ripped away from her. I'd love to see her turn all badass and getting involved in some crazy resistance organization, especially since she didn't have a problem shooting a couple of SA soldiers (non-fatally). I'd just like to see what her character exactly is; while Daniel is there and the loss she feels isn't exactly fresh, she's very docile because she's safe. What happens if she's alone in the world? She's never been. And that is what I would like to see. Heck, I'd even like her to find love again.But, of course, none of that happened because Daniel is still alive. And while I'm sort of glad about that...I'm sort of not.Also, how in the world do two unarmed teenagers manage to escape a building full of SA men? Seriously. That just felt highly unrealistic.Also, one of the things that bothers me is that it is famous-people-palooza. Okay, I get the Hitler thing, since Gretchen was his "sunshine" and that she would be exposed to the notorious people in the Nazi Party. However...the whole thing with Winston Churchill just felt unrealistic, especially with him offering to get Daniel a new job in London and a new identity. All because Dr. Whitestone vaguely knows Churchill's cousin? Give me a break. No.Nevertheless, I will pretty much read anything and everything that this author produces in the future.
  • (4/5)
    This is one of those books I thought I would like better than I did. The premise seemed right up my alley, but I just couldn't connect with it the way I wanted. The writing is good, the story line is good, I just couldn't get attached to it, so for that reason 4 out of 5 stars. I would still recommend it though for people that like historical fiction.
  • (3/5)
    Stories about the Nazis are perennial favourites: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is the second of a series by Anne Blankman set in pre-war Germany, after Hitler comes to power but before the full horror of his ideology is widely known. Young Gretchen Whitestone and Daniel Cohen having escaped Nazi Germany and live quietly in Oxford: despite Gretchen having been one of Hitler’s favourites and Daniel being Jewish, they are in love and want to put the past behind them.But then Daniel receives a telegram which makes him return to the Reich and Gretchen, when she hears of his arrest for murder, hurries after him. Against the backdrop of the arson attack on the Reichstag, and while hunted by Nazis and aided by gangsters, Gretchen and Daniel have to prove his innocence and escape back to England. An exciting young adult read with new and interesting insights into life under Hitler, this book can stand alone in an engrossing series.
  • (4/5)
    ‘It was starting. What Hitler had always promised – the Party and Germany were becoming one. The union that she had once thought sounded so perfect. Now it terrified her.’ The year is 1933. Gretchen and Daniel have managed to extricate themselves from the dangers of Germany and have been slowly rebuilding their lives in England. Their lives are far from perfect and they both miss their families, but they’re at least safe. When Daniel receives a telegram with terrible news about an incident involving his family he rushes back to Germany without a second thought. Gretchen, being unable to remain sitting in safety while constantly wracked with worry, packs her bags and follows him straight back into danger.Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke centers around the mystery behind the factual Reichstag fire. Gretchen and Daniel feel that if they can expose the lies surrounding the fire that they can hopefully put a stop to Hitler’s rise to power. I actually knew very little about the fire prior to this read so a little investigation of my own was needed. It was shocking to learn just how important that fire became in establishing Nazi Germany because as a result of the fire, Hitler was able to get the Reichstag Fire Decree passed which subsequently suspended civil liberties of German citizens. This Decree remained in effect throughout WWII, technically legalizing many of Hitler’s actions according to German law. That time in history will never cease to shock me.This second installment in the duology was a solid one with the inclusion of actual historical events adding some legitimacy to this tale. The characters seemed to be constantly placing themselves needlessly in danger but I can’t decide whether it was actually or the fact that we know the outcome of it all made it just seem like a lost cause. Akin to horror movies where people are constantly making the worst possible decisions and you’re screaming at them to stop, I was begging them to stop from the very start when Gretchen and Daniel both travel back to Germany and right into Hitler’s dangerous hands. But considering it from their point of view, they may have understood the danger as it was during that time, but they couldn’t even begin to understand just how terrible it would truly get.Equally knowledgeable and thrilling, this is a must-read for historical fiction fans. What I loved most about this duology is how interesting it was to read a story that was set well before the war, just as Hitler was first gaining power. While we are all cognizant of the occurrences of WWII, it was still hard not to hope that Gretchen and Daniel would actually succeed.
  • (5/5)
    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: Well researched, captivating, and fascinating; an impressive sequel to an already gorgeous first book.Opening Sentence: The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone bicycled down the country lane.The Review:Gretchen and Daniel escaped from Germany, and now live a content life in England. For once, Gretchen doesn’t have to fear her brother’s dangerous moods or her mother’s biting words – most of all, Gretchen doesn’t have to fear the man who she used to call “Uncle Dolf” . . . Hitler. She was his “sunshine” for years and used to be in his inner circle, but after uncovering the plot that got her father killed and realizing the true extent of his plans for the Jews, she has escaped. The Whitestones are a loving, kind family.Then Daniel gets word about a family member dying, and he rushes back to Germany to see them. Gretchen fears for him; if he is caught than it will mean certain death after days of torture. When he doesn’t come back, she takes matters into her own hands and goes back to her homeland to find the man she loves so dearly. What she doesn’t expect is to find him with a false murder charge over his head, and to become knee deep in another scandal. They have thirteen days before the Enabling Act is passed and Hitler assumes dictatorship. Can they uncover the layers of secrets and expose him as the man he is, before he takes total control over her country?I hadn’t read the first book in a while prior to reading this, so I was a little worried about diving right back in to Gretchen and David’s story. Luckily, Blankman flawlessly delivers a recap into the first couple chapters and it came back to me. I fell into her gorgeous writing, the melodic flow of her sentences, once again. I was enchanted by the detail in both the history and the imagery, and fascinated where she would take Gretchen and David this book. I love them as a couple and was rooting for them one hundred percent, so I was devastated when their relationship got rocky, but at least it was for realistic reasons. I like how they accepted that the other person wasn’t the only thing they needed in the other’s life, but still worked to make the romance work.The secrets were even deeper in this second novel, and I was again impressed by how each clue led to another. It was a perfect blend of mystery and thriller, and the tension got thick enough to cut with a knife. New characters were introduced, each of them with complex personalities and all of them giving something new to the story. Hitler was terrifying to me, and Gretchen as well – he left an imprint on her psyche that she can’t erase. He was the most interesting character, because there were so many different layers to him, and I liked how the author explored each facet of the dangerous man.This novel was another delicious installment in the Prisoner of Night and Fog series, and I enjoyed it immensely. I’m not a huge historical fiction reader, but I was still swallowed into this novel, and I loved that I now feel very informed about that period in history. Blankman truly covered all her bases. If you enjoyed the first, I promise that the second gets even darker, more dangerous, and more high-stakes than before!Notable Scene:When she’d first moved to England, sometimes she missed her old hate. Back when she’d been Uncle Dolf’s darling, she’d wrapped herself in it like a coat, and felt warm and protected. Safe. Without it, she’d been stripped bare. Vulnerable and aching in the cold.Hate had made her life easy. Hitler had taught her so carefully. Any of the wrongs done to her could be traced back to Jewish or Communist hands. A poor exam mark meant her teacher didn’t approve of her political beliefs; a slight from friends on the playground meant the Jewish students had turned their classmates against her. Nothing was her fault.Love was so much harder, messy and complicated and confusing.FTC Advisory: Balzar+Bray/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.