I’m so excited to do today’s review because (if you didn’t see yesterday’s post) I have decided to try out a new star rating system to make things much more accurate and detailed for you guys! I have also decided to add a Spoiler Thoughts section at the very end of the review. I saw this on Anna – The Reader and Proud, she writes great reviews so you should check her out if you don’t already. If you are not interested in anything spoiler-related, you can avoid it, but sometimes I have things I want to say but can’t so hence why I thought it was such a great idea. Enough rambling from me. Let’s get into it!
Title: Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1)
Author: Ryan Graudin
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20th 2015
Her story begins on a train.
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, they host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their combined continents. The prize? An audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball in Tokyo. Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael 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 racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele’s twin brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and stay true to her mission?
From the author of The Walled City comes a fast-paced and innovative novel that will leave you breathless.
My Goodreads Review:
*February 28, 2019 – page 110 28.35% “So far I am loving it! The writing is incredible, the use of repetition is stunning. And the dashes of light humour are entertaining. I love the mix between history and dystopian.
The plot is extremely gripping so far and I am falling for all of the characters. The way Yael speaks is so relaxing and profound. I love the way she is trying to stumble her way through the relationships. So far incredible.”
* February 28, 2019 – page 196 50.52% “Its still as incredible as before. The story is getting more tense as the characters get closer. I really want Yael to tell Luka the truth but i know she never will, unless she is forced it but unforeseen circumstances. She may come to love him but the pressure of the world and her previous losses will weigh on her more.
I want to know what happened last year between her and Luka next!!”
* February 29, 2019 – page 252 64.95% “Its just getting more gripping and intense as it progresses. I am in love with it!”
* March 1, 2019- Finished 100% “This book was incredible. The way the plot ebbed and flowed and how the characters were constantly adapting and changing. It was permanently unpredictable and had me itching to read word.
The way in which it was written is some of my favourite writing I have ever read. Something about it drew me in and held me there from the first word till the last. Entirely invested in whatever was happening.
I cannot wait to read the second book because if its anything like this, then it might be in the running for all time favourite book series.”
Characters: I adored Yael. I loved her motivations and internal conflict about herself. I personally do not connect with character who have tough lives and spend the book complaining about their past: Yael was a breath of fresh air. She had possibly the most traumatic past I have read in a book for a long time and yet she has come out stronger for it. She uses the past to bolster herself and give her a goal for the future. Not to say she does not think of her past and what she has lost, because that is her motivation. She is creating a better world for them because they believed in her and would have wanted that for her. Her internal conflict of who she really is was an element I loved because it was far from the traditional finding herself story but it definitely held similarities to it, reminding me she was really just a girl going through hell, no matter who’s face she was wearing.
I really liked Luka and I need to know more about him. His character arc (more web of intertwining personalities) made him a joy to read about, I was constantly curious. He was determined and strong-willed, yet funny and sardonic that you couldn’t help but love him every time he was there.
Felix was another very interesting character. Unquestionably loyal to his sister and willing to do anything to protect her. I just wanted to hug him and tell him to go away and be safe. He was so sweet and kind and I need more of him.
Character Score = 10/10
Humour: Despite the subject matter, this book was surprisingly funny. I found myself laughing frequently. It was always perfectly timed. Never too close to something serious to take away from the severity of a situation, but also not so infrequent that it felt out of place when it did occur. It was often very sarcastic – my personal favourite. So, for me it was incredibly well done. It only drops points for me because I wished there was more of it, but I can understand why she didn’t because it is handling a tough subject matter and too much humour could come across as insensitive.
Humour Score = 7/10
Atmosphere: I had never read a book like this, I had read historical-romances before but nothing that changed history like this. I love the way she took elements of Germany pre-war, such as the Gestapo and curfew, and implemented them into her post-war version. It made everything feel so much more real and believable. I am horrific when it comes to geography so while they are racing and travelling through these prominent cities I have to trust Graudin is accurate in the distances they travel etc, but I completely do. There is nothing to suggest that I shouldn’t. Believablity oozes through the page, only making it far scarier to consider that this could have been a possibility.
Atmosphere Score = 8/10
Writing Style: This is where this book head-and-shoulders above every other book I have ever read. I have recently started reading my books aloud as a way of making sure I take in every detail and when you read this aloud – it is a ethereal experience. Graudin used repetition so successfully. It is unlike anything I have ever read. It gripped me, wanting to read every word. Delve into the deeper meanings of each sentence. It was like a perfect poetry-prose baby!
Sidenote! Congratulations to Ryan Graudin who had her baby girl just last week! Sabriel Dawn is such a beautiful name! ❤️
Writing Style Score = 10/10
Plot: The plot was incredible. So many genres in the one story could seem overwhelming and unnecessary. However, this was nothing like that. Everything mentioned had a purpose and furthered the plot. It is such an interesting concept and so beautifully woven together you would believe it to be true. I enjoyed the jumps between the race and her past, although as it progressed into the plot I just cared about what was going on in the race and less about her past making them a little more annoying to get through before I could get back to the intense stuff! But that ending!! MY LORD DID I NOT SEE THAT COMING! It was unbelievable! More on that in the spoiler section though 😉
Plot Score = 8/10
Intrigue: This book had me on the edge of my seat (more accurately, my bed) from start to end. It was perfectly paced so you never felt it sag in plot or momentum. Even in the flashbacks which I found not as intense as the race sections, they still were far from dull. Constantly gripping me and pulling me into this unthinkable world.
Intrigue Score = 8/10
Logic: For a book with fantasy elements, I never felt like something was unbelievable or inconceivable.
Even the characters actions were true and logical to their characterisation and never done to further the plot. Which almost became infuriating at points because I just wanted Yael to tell someone; Felix, Luka, literally anyone!!! But I knew she never would because of how strong her beliefs were, which is down to how well this was written because if I thought Yael would waver from her convictions, I wouldn’t be dying for her to tell someone her secret.
Logic Score = 10/10
Enjoyment: This is an easy one. If you couldn’t tell already, I thought this book was incredible. Pure magical literary genius. It has easily shot up into my top 5 reads of all time. And I can’t recommend it enough.
Enjoyment Score = 10/10
Relationships: This was not a crucial element to the plot, but I am so glad it was there. Not only because I am a little obsessed with romance and books without it feel slightly empty to me but because it was so integral to the plot and I had never seen a character use their feelings in that way. Often in YA, it is the romance that defines the characters choices, in this she used it to her advantage and even though that sounds manipulative, it didn’t feel like that. It felt true and strong and supportive and cute and it made my heart melt. I wanted them to be happy so much it hurt me.
I also adored the relationship between Felix and Yael. Obviously she’s pretending to be his sister, making it odd because their familial relationship is so one sided it verges on humorous but then there is the odd moment when Yael reciprocates as if she is family and it is so heart-warming. I love it!
Relationships are a key part of Yael’s motivation. All the relationships she’s lost drive her forward and to see her coming out of her shell for these new relationships is beautiful and it makes me love her as a character even more!
Relationship Score = 10/10
Overall Score = 81/90 aka 9/10
Star Rating = ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
There is so much to this book that there are definitely things I’ve forgotten about which I adored or thought to be incredible. If I think of anything I will add it in later. I just started Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf #2) yesterday and I want more already!
That’s the end of the review, unless your sticking around for the spoilers. I hope you liked this new style, it is clearly far more in depth and I think it will be better for helping you guys decide whether to buy or not. I’ll see you back here tomorrow 🙂
Firstly, I can’t believe Hitler wasn’t Hitler!! Of all the cliff-hangers and plot twists I have read nothing has ever had me as shocked as that did! I don’t know why though, because if I was a evil dictator, what else would I do if I had the ability to create skinshifters. I loved it and hated it simultaneously because I wanted her to succeed but I loved that it meant there would be another book!
Secondly, I loved that Luka asked her to the ball rather than have her win herself. I preferred that because I felt like he deserved it more. Not that I didn’t love Yael, but I didn’t love Adele and her motivations. Luka on the other hand was so perfect I wanted him to get everything he wants in life and hence why I am happy he won!
I was in complete shock when she left Felix in the desert to die. Then when she hid him under the bed, I was like have you not learnt your lesson yet Yael!! I was so mad cause he was such a wee gem and I love him.
Also when Luka was jealous of fake Hitler at the ball OMG I was so gone. I didn’t know whether to die of laughter or whether to combust from cuteness of him. He’s perfect!!
And when she killed that guy! Lordy, Lord I was upset cause even though he was a douche, the way it was written made me so sad because he knew his death was coming and that is like the biggest fear of mine.