Title: Wolf by Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
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 need more. Oh my God, this book was absolutely phenomenal. I came in knowing next to nothing about what it was about and I’m really happy I did. It allowed me to be surprised and enjoy all the little things the blurb may have hinted at. I love that this book had me hooked from the very beginning. I love the concept of it and how beautifully it was executed. I wasn’t happy with how it ended, I think there should have been more. Actually, I’m going to go check now to make sure there isn’t a sequel before I start moping about it…
YES. YES. YES. A SEQUEL IS IN THE MAKING! I’M SO EXCITED.
Ok, so it’s supposed to be a duology and the author is thinking about making a novella set in the world!!! The sequel is supposed to come out this FALL!!!
So, since we’re already on the topic, I’m going to start here. I finished this book last night. As I was reaching the end, I kept thinking to myself, no this can’t be it, this isn’t the end, how?!
Now that my worries aren’t valid anymore, we can talk about the literal adrenaline rush I was getting because of everything that was happening near the end. Yael raising her hand that’s holding the gun meant to end Hitler’s life, her finger pulling the trigger, the bullet meeting Hitler’s chest, him falling to the ground… only to realize it’s not Hitler but another skinshifter?! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that.
Which leads me back to the beginning the way I should have started this review. Like I said in the beginning, I picked this book up knowing only that it was set in an alternate past in which Hitler and the Axis powers won the war. I’m extremely grateful that I only knew this much. I knew nothing of the skinshifting and it allowed me to wonder about it and how Yael came to possess such a skill. At first, being the fantasy lover that I am, I thought it was magic or something fantastical. Of course, it turned out to be science. Nevertheless, I loved this ability (though not at all how she got it) that Yael had and how it was written into the plot line.
I loved the motorcycle race and how Yael was to impersonate former Victor Adele Wolfe, win, and kill the Fuhrer. When I read the bit about the motorcycles in the blurb, I was a bit worried and thought it might bore me. It turned out to be much, much more exciting than I pictured it to be.
I feel like I really related to Yael, and felt for her. Like Yael, I’m confused by the actions of Luka Lowe. It’s clear he deeply loves Adele but sometimes he’ll do something that speaks the opposite. I’m excited to see how his character develops in the sequel (the sequel!!)
A small thing I didn’t like was the way the German was incorporated in the book. As a native German speaker, reading it in the book, it sounded forced and didn’t fit with the rest of the sentence, in my opinion.
There’s something strange with Katsuo. the speed at which he reached the checkpoint doesn’t make sense. He must have done something and again, I’m excited to see how this is explored in book two.
I absolutely adored this book and I’m ridiculously happy at the prospect of a sequel. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy this fall.