Book Reviews

Wolf by Wolf * Ryan Graudin

It’s 1956 and Germany has won the second world war. In this alternate timeline, Hitler’s Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. In celebration of the Axis powers’ victory over the Allies (mainly Great Britain) and Russia (who the Axis powers turned against), Hitler and the Emperor of Japan put on an annual motorcycle race from Germany to Japan. This race is a symbol for the new order’s strength and right to rule the world. The victor has an extravagant ball thrown in their honor with both leaders in attendance.

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“She-wolf. An interesting choice.”
“I didn’t choose it,” she told him. “It chose me.”

In the 1940’s Yael was living in a Nazi death camp where she was selected for an experiment. She starts receiving injection that are suppose to help erase her Jewish traits. They wanted to turn her into the perfect Aryan specimen. What they didn’t expect was that it would turn her into something more.

Yael is now someone she doesn’t even recognize. A girl who can’t even remember her own face. She goes from living in the camp to living on the streets. Pick pocketing to survive, until she is recused by the resistance. Once she’s with them she is 100% committed to the cause. She starts studying, training, and preparing. All of this so she can join a motorcycle race, in hopes that she’ll win, so she can get in the presences of Hitler, and kill him.

Blonde-girl-HarleyYael is one of the most unique females I’ve ever read. She is the perfect balance of all things. She is vulnerable but strong. She is smart but has moments of doubt. She is wild but knows when to be tamed. You’ll feel like you know her without ever really knowing her at all. It’s wonderful. She is as unique as the storyline. She is a character that has known true torture, has been willing to be patience, and is now ready to seek revenge. We get to go on the journey from her from start to finish. The side characters in this book do a good job of adding angst without overshadowing the true message of this story. Felix is the kind of brother most wish for and Luka is the mysterious hooded bad boy that we all love to read about.

This is what leads me to what was truly amazing about this book… A plot that is unlike any other. It was so unique. I usually hate stories that bounce back and forth from the past to the present. I always feel like they never flow well. This wasn’t a problem for Wolf by Wolf. It flows back and forth seamlessly and always transitioned at the right time. I also thought that I was going to love the action packed race moments (I really enjoyed those moments), but I found myself looking forward reading about Yael’s youth. Those moments were so heart-wrecking and real. Truly heart-punching. We get a look into how could have continued and would be if Hitler would have stayed in power.

“Not everything was gray ashfall, yellowing weeds, withered blue hands, crimson rivers of blood….There was still beauty in this world. And it was worth fighting for.”

Wolf by Wolf surprised me. This was a slow burn of a book with so many twist and turns. With the ultimate betrayal that will come out of nowhere. It was suspenseful, gritty, and intriguing. All these things combined together bring for on a powerhouse jaw dropping ending that I did not see coming!

**** SPOILER ****

She kills a shape-shifter like her. She was the first in Experiment 85, but she wasn’t the last. After many fails and unsuccessful attempts, they managed to produce a few good soldiers that will behave as clones for the most prominent dignitaries. And her killing the look-alike on TV sparked the revolution that might bring down the empire.

The ending of the book does not show a clear result – just that she fulfilled her mission to bring down Hitler at the dance in Japan. Whether the revolution succeeded or not, it is possibly subject for another book – much like The Hunger Games.

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