Book Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Posted June 19, 2015 by Stormy in Books / 4 Comments

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

by Anne Blankman

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

Original Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Length: 406 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Obtained Via: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
#2 in Prisoner of Night and Fog
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thestory

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?

mythoughts

I read Prisoner of Night and Fog last year and loved it, so of course I was hopeful about Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke. . . but not gonna lie, this book made me wish Prisoner of Night and Fog had been a standalone. It’s not a bad book, but for me it didn’t add a whole lot to Gretchen and Daniel’s story, and definitely didn’t need as many pages. If anything, this could have been a sequel novella and still had the same storyline and emotional affect.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke finds Gretchen and Daniel going back to Germany and getting wrapped up in a mystery when Daniel is framed for murder. There are side points to this mystery as well, including an arson that really happened in history, and Daniel and Gretchen trying to figure out who is behind what. There’s a lot of political intrigue, which sounds exciting, but isn’t always. There are some great parts, don’t get me wrong, but on the whole I thought Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke lacked the page-turner pacing that was a huge selling point of the first book for me.

I think my main issue is that the characters felt a bit. . . stagnated. It’s not that they didn’t grow or change, because they did, but they didn’t get the same growth process that happened in the first book. Prisoner of Night and Fog was so character-driven by Gretchen’s shifting opinions and allegiances. It was interesting because we got to go along the journey of Gretchen realizing how much she had been influenced by the people around her and how much that impacted her thinking, and often just how immoral it was. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke focused more on the plot and mystery. There are a LOT of scenes of character introspection from Gretchen, don’t get me wrong, but it takes them awhile to go anywhere.

One aspect I did really enjoy was the romance. It’s rare to see this kind of romance in a sequel in YA. Books need conflict, but to often when that comes to romantic relationships things tend to get big and dramatic. There are issues that Gretchen and Daniel have to work out, but the whole thing is handled so maturely for the most part. I don’t mind when characters in YA are immature because it IS YA and we all have those growing periods, but I think it would have felt weird if Blankman had gone that route, so I’m glad she didn’t. Daniel’s a little bit older and while Gretchen’s still in school she’s also been through a lot, so the way they approach their relationship is a different dynamic from what you usually see. *THAT* was great and kept me reading.

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 This book was good enough that my feelings about it tip towards the positive side, but I didn’t love it at all like I did with the first one. Some of the plot points felt force and the book as a whole felt kinda unnecessary, but I did love where Blankman took the relationship between Gretchen and Daniel. 3/5 cupcakes.

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3 Stars

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4 responses to “Book Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

  1. It’s too bad the sequel fell a little short of the first book for you, but glad it wasn’t a total waste. I still need to check out the first book!

    • Stormy

      The first book is one of my favorites–I’d definitely recommend it! This book wasn’t bad, it was just. . . unnecessary?

    • Stormy

      Hmm, that’s a good point! I’m not sure I would have as a teen(I’m way more into romance plots in books now then I was back then), but the target audience in general might enjoy the romance more.

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