Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1)
Author: Ryan Graudin
Publication: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
Read: April 2016
Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.
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?
Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
This is the kind of book that grabs your attention from the instant that it starts. The plot is intense straight off the bat: action packed, filled with mystery, suspense, adventure and lots of twists and turns. While it’s not as fast paced as some other books, it is steady and it is constant so it never feels like it’s dragging or boring in any way. The world building was great! It trickled in a little at a time as the story went on and felt very concrete. I did not except the ending to be what it was and I am now dying for the next book!
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is quite interesting, it’s a mix of simple and powerful but at the same time, poetic and emotional. There are different moments for specific parts of the story. Some things are detailed, descriptive and engaging. There are others that are lyrical and engaging and completely captivating. It was so easy to read and to get caught up in and I loved it.
Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
This is definitely my favorite part of the book and what really sold it for me. I love character driven books and this is one of them. Yael, our main character, is something of an enigma. You don’t really know who she is in the beginning because she doesn’t either. Part of her characterization is this feeling of confusion and lack of identity and all that comes with it and that was really interesting. She’s incredibly strong, physically and emotionally and has the right determination for the task she’s setting out to do. While she’s very powerful, she’s also torn and confused and at some points vulnerable and I loved how well rounded she was. She’s kind of a tough girl, with a take no shit attitude but we get to feel more of her since she’s the narrator and that made it easier to connect with her. There’s a lot of different side characters, from the competitors in the race, to people from Yael’s past and present and I found them all to be very interesting and complex. The racers were really hard to figure out, you don’t really know what everyone’s motives are and the lines quickly become blurred in the process of the story. I really want to know more about everyone in the next book.
The hype for this book is incredibly well deserved and it impressed me so much and I need more!!
The plot is intense. We follow Yael, who escaped a concentration camp when she was young but not before being experimented on and turned into a skinshifter. She is now part of the resistance and is now on a mission to kill Hitler while posing as a past winner named Adele Wolfe. This is one of the most fascinating premises I’ve ever read. Not only because the re-imagining of Hitler winning the war is just scary as shit but the way the world is set up and what happened after he won the war. It’s so realistic yet mind blowing that it freaked me out yet kept me hooked the whole time I was reading. The world building is extensive, there’s a lot to learn, and its revealed slowly but surely, which definitely helps to immerse the reader into the story as well as get used to Yael’s narration. I’m not a car/vehicle person, I know how to drive but I don’t have a license and don’t ask me to fix your car because I won’t know how, yet this book is about a motorcycle race. Yet that was a really interesting part of the story, at all the mechanical stuff wasn’t that complicated to follow which I appreciated. The plot is a lot more savage and cut throat than I thought it was going to be, which was stupid because I mean, Hitler is in charge so. Various things took me by surprise and there’s a lot of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. But nothing blew me away more than that ending. I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING! Like what?!?! I need more of this series!
Yael is amazing. She’s tough and determined and kick ass. However, she’s vulnerable and confused and lacks a concrete identity. I loved her development, you get to see a lot of her past and how she got to the place in the rebellion. I found her way to be interesting, she has a way of trying to keep her focus that connects back to the title of the book and it was impressive and unique too. She’s a very well rounded and developed character and yet I feel like there’s still so much more to explore about her, her past and what she expects to do now. I want to see more development, more than what she already has and to see how her relationships with the other characters will be like now after the ending of the first book.
There’s a lot of side characters, the competitors in the race, people from the rebellion, characters from Yael’s past and so on. Luka was one of my favorites. He’s another competitor in the race and I found him to be super funny and honest. He’s charming and kind of a douche at times. The relationship he has with Yael is very complicated and messy and we don’t know the half of it and I want to know more! Felix is freaking intense, I didn’t expect him to show up or to take such a big part of the plot. He freaked me out at first and then I felt bad about him and then he annoyed me again. He and I have a love and hate relationship. I want to know more about Adele. Her life is taken over by Yael and I have no idea where she went to or what will happen to her life now that this HUGE THING HAPPENED AT THE END!
Overall, this is one of the best books I have read this year. I loved the plot and all the background and world building of this story. The characters were amazing, complex and intense. I want to see more of the relationships between them and just generally want to know WHAT HAPPENS NOW?!
So that’s it for this review! Let me know what you think of my thoughts. Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it. I need more people to chat about Wolf by Wolf with! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!