The Only Thing to Fear



Goodreads Summary:

In a stunning reimagining of history, debut author Caroline Tung Richmond weaves an incredible story of secrets and honor in a world where Hitler won World War II.

It’s been nearly 80 years since the Allies lost WWII in a crushing defeat against Hitler’s genetically engineered super soldiers. America has been carved up by the victors, and 16-year-old Zara lives a life of oppression in the Eastern America Territories. Under the iron rule of the Nazis, the government strives to maintain a master race, controlling everything from jobs to genetics. Despite her mixed heritage and hopeless social standing, Zara dreams of the free America she’s only read about in banned books. A revolution is growing, and a rogue rebel group is plotting a deadly coup. Zara might hold the key to taking down the Führer for good, but it also might be the very thing that destroys her. Because what she has to offer the rebels is something she’s spent her entire life hiding, under threat of immediate execution by the Nazis. 

In this action-packed, heart-stopping novel of a terrifying reality that could have been, Zara must decide just how far she’ll go for freedom.


DNF, and I should have known better. As a historian “what if” history is something I usually stear clear of. But I decided to give this a try (I mean, the authors name is Caroline!). And I thought the Captain America esque fantasy element would help. I didn’t even get far enough to get to those parts.

I know this is aimed towards the younger end of the YA spectrum, and that certainly had an effect on my enjoyment of it, but should it be? I mean, I don’t know about you all, but I didn’t learn about WWII in school until my Jr. year, and not really in depth until college. So should we be giving alternative versions of history to kids who haven’t even learned about it? I’m sure a lot of this is just the historian in me, but I’m not completely crazy right?

What really made this a no go for me was the excess of superfluous words and paragraphs of tweeked history. I don’t like how much info is being loaded onto us. Chapter one we learn about the genetic modifications, divisions in the US, and that the MC is a rebel (which I feel like should be obvious going in so we could have had some of that later). I didn’t feel like I connected with the main character at all, and the to-be romance was so cliche.

I keep trying to read a chapter here and there, and it’s hard. I skim it mainly. I don’t like hating books, but it’s painful for me to read this – though I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am a historian – so I feel like history is being regurgitated and not interpreted, and I hate the “modifications” to it.


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