The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond It is 2025, eighty years after the Nazis won World War II, and Zara St. James is struggling to find her place in a world controlled by the legacy of Hitler’s regime. On top of being a mischling, a person of mixed heritage, in a world obsessed with purity, she has a secret that – if discovered – could give her Nazi overlords the excuse to kill her that they’ve been waiting for.
When that secret becomes clear to the Alliance, a group of rebels working to fight the Nazis, Zara is allowed into their ranks. Finally, she has the acceptance she’s always craved – but what price is she willing to pay for it?
This book is ok. It’s reimagining of history is intriguing and Zara is a well-written, complex character. However, it cuts to backstories incredibly often, especially in the first half of the book. Zara has an obvious personality, but the rest of the characters are cardboard cut-outs who exist only to make things happen in the story.
The book also exposes Zara’s secret too early, then never goes into it again until the end; it was as if the writer was trying to rebuild suspense on a plot-point she realized that she had revealed too soon.
Overall, the idea and main character are interesting, but the story is slow and the supporting characters are not developed enough to keep a reader’s attention.
This book is for people between ages 13 to 20. It has some intense moments (such as torture and execution), but nothing too graphic for a PG-13 movie. There is no bad language and no sexual content beyond a kissing scene. Unless parents have an issue with allusions to violence, they should find nothing wrong with their children reading this book.