by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf (Book One)
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Little Brown, Books for Young Readers (October 20, 2015)
Audiobook Publisher: Hachette Audio
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
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?
Wolf by Wolf is one of my absolute favorite books this year. Want to know why? Here's eight reasons! Also, Andye pops in at the end with a review of the Wolf by Wolf audiobook (and a sample!) Do you feel peer pressured to read Wolf by Wolf yet? :)
1. Yael. She is this incredibly badass character. Her strengths, flaws, losses, loves, and did I mention her amazing powers?! I don't know what it says about me that I love to read about World War II survivors so much, but Yael isn't just a survivor. She's a fighter, and I honestly could not put her story down. It fully encompassed my thoughts, dreams, and free time. If you need only one reason to read Wolf by Wolf, Yael is your reason. Trust me.
2. Oh, you probably want more than one though, right? Well the secondary characters blew this book out of the playing field. Felix, LUKA (OMGOMGOMG SWOOOOON). These two boys like to put on the charm, annoy Yael to no end, and basically thwart all of her plans at every chance they get (even if they don't know what her true intentions are since she's not really Yael around them; she's skinshifted into Felix's twin sister, and Luka's former love interest. Ooooh, talk about some drama, am I right?
3. Which brings me to reason number 3. DRAMA, SUSPENSE, CRAZY RACERS, EDGE OF YOUR SEAT ENTERTAINMENT. Basically, Wolf by Wolf is everything you would want to see in a great, high stakes action movie, with a little kissy kissy on the side, because every one loves a kissing book (duh).
4. The setting. Given how many books I have read that have surrounded the events of World War II, I, myself, have actually wondered what exactly would have happened if we didn't win. I mean, really. Think about it. The thought terrifies me. The events in Wolf by Wolf so easily could have turned into reality. It breaks my heart knowing what all of those people went through, and to think that it could've eventually become our future is horrifying. Ryan Graudin did a fant-ab-ulous job bringing this story to life. A story that was based on our past, and thankfully didn't become our future.
5. THE SKINSHIFTING. Okay, so not only are we dealing with World War II, Nazi's, Hitler, but also someone who can skinshift into ANYONE they want?! This fascinated me! Very Mystique from X-Men, but ugh, I ate it all up. Yael's flashbacks to how she became this way were my favorite to read (besides the scenes involving Luka, because duh).
6. Motorcycle races. I can say I've never been to a legit motorcycle race. Around here in good ol' Oklahoma, the closest you get to a motorcycle race is a couple of boys racing their dirt bikes on the river bank. Not as exciting as a race across the continents, and I doubt the sights here aren't near as beautiful as Yael's were.
7. The espionage! Yael is an undercover spy. So there's lots of things going on behind the scenes, and I felt like she could easily get caught at any time, which definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, biting my finger nails. If someone finds out about her not really being Adele before the race ends, well....... that would really, really suck.
8. The flashbacks. I know I sort of mentioned them above, but I kind of wanted to again, because they are just so important to the overall story. By including them, Ryan Graudin made me instantly care for Yael, and every single person that she cared about. All of her decisions later on in her story are justified, and I completely understood why she made them, because of the included backstory.
Bonus Reason - THAT COVER. Really, though, isn't it amazing?
PS - I don't know if it's because I've been living under a rock, but I so did NOT know that this was going to be a duology until I finished Wolf by Wolf and was left with a lot of unfinished business. PRAISE THE LORD THAT WE GET MORE (MOSTLY BECAUSE YAEL & LUKA AND THE POSSIBILITY OF MORE KISSY KISSY SCENES)
Audio Review (from Andye):
The Audiobook was fantastic! I loved all the accents that the narrator, Christa Lewis, was able to pull off. It was also really nice to hear all the proper pronunciations of the character's names, since I was definitely butchering them when I tried to read it. Her male and female voices were well done and distinctive. Christa really brought this book to life and I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a new audiobook. Listen to a sample here!