Book Review: Wolf by Wolf
I read this book as part of a read along hosted by Mariam at Flying Through Fiction. We had a lot of fun, so you should check her out!
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.
Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
I got really excited when I read the synopsis for this book because what could better than a YA book version of The Man in the High Castle, which, I admit, I have not read, but I watched the Amazon Prime series, and that was outstanding. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it immediately! You don’t need to know much about World War II to enjoy it, but the more you know, the more interesting it becomes.
Wolf by Wolf did not disappoint. The characters are complex, the main character has a really interesting backstory that drives the plot, there are flashbacks built in to explain the backstory (I’m a big fan of a flashback), there is suspense and an air of mystery, and there is an ending I was not expecting, which is always a good thing.
There is a plot hole or two that I am hoping will get wrapped up and addressed in the second book, Blood for Blood, which is supposed to be released November 1st, 2016. I’m really excited to read it!
Yael – The main character of the story. Yael is Jewish, tested on in a concentration camp that put her through so much pain, emotional and physical. She is strong and independent, sometimes to a fault. While she questions right from wrong as well as her motives and moral compass throughout the story, she is probably one of the least complex characters mainly because we know the most about her. We know her background, we know why she joined the resistance, we know why she wants to kill Hitler.
Since we don’t know what Yael looks like in her original body and true form, we do know what she looks like as Adele Wolfe, so here is how I see her throughout most of the book. She definitely doesn’t have Taylor Swift’s personality, but I pictured her with the fierce blue eyes and the almost white blond hair that Taylor Swift has.
Felix – He is a protective older brother, and doesn’t want his sister to participate in the Axis Tour at all. He thinks it’s too risky, so at the last minute he joins the race to try to protect Adele throughout the race in any way he can. As we learn more about Felix, we see that he is willing to do anything for his sister, even keep a very risky secret and help her carry out a very risky mission. I am interested and hoping to learn more about Felix in the next book.
Luka – Oh, Luka, how delightful and charming you are. Luka is exactly how I like my fictional male characters: sarcastic and kind of a jerk, with a hard candy shell on the outside, but melty and sweet on the inside. In this particular case, he might be served with a side of poison. Luka is interesting and complex because we are not really sure where his loyalties lie, so we can never really trust him.
Ryan Graudin’s writing is really easy to follow considering she is working with a character that changes form and is having flashbacks. In addition, the book is historical fiction which can be challenging to read anyway. Luckily, I never got lost due to seamlessness of Graudin’s writing. Her ability to pull you into a somewhat complicated plot and create such a thrilling and beautiful story, and leave you wanting more at the end is outstanding. Graudin’s ability to do all of these things causes Wolf by Wolf to earn an A- from me. I have already recommended this book to several students and friends.