Series: Wolf by Wolf #1
Also in this series: Blood for Blood, Iron to Iron
Genres: Alternate History, Paranormal, Young Adult
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
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 alternate history with a paranormal twist. The book asks the question, What if Hitler had won WWII – a question that’s been asked before – but it’s told from the perspective of a shapeshifting Jewish girl (who is turned into a shapeshifter due to a doctor’s experimentation on her in one of the concentration camps). Yael can take on other people’s features, and because of that, she is chosen by the resistance to get close to Hitler and kill him. The only way to get close to him is to take on the persona of a prestigious motorcycle racer (Adele Wolfe) – and win it. But the task is made much more difficult with Adele’s brother and boyfriend watching her very carefully.
What I enjoyed:
- Alternate history. I’m not a huge history buff, but there’s so much about the WWII era that’s fascinating. This is one time period that I enjoy reading about. I found it really intriguing to imagine what might have been – the world would be a scary place if Hitler had gotten his way!
- The paranormal element. The paranormal part of the story wasn’t actually huge (well, unless you consider the fact that the plot couldn’t have even happened without it), but it added another dimension to it that I definitely enjoyed! I especially loved the parts of the story that flashed back to the past, allowing us to learn exactly how and why Yael gained her ability to shift into another person. I loved how Graudin wove the racial fears and prejudices of the time into the shapeshifting aspect of the story (she actually talks about that further in the author’s notes).
- The race. I didn’t think I’d be all that interested in a motorcycle race, but this was not just a boring drive across the country. Yael’s life was pretty much in constant peril – for many different reasons. There were some heart-pounding moments, and I never got tired of the journey!
- Relationships. Adele’s relationships with both her brother and Luka were complicated – and Yael had to figure out how to navigate both of them. This wasn’t something she was really prepared for, so it made her job that much tougher. I found myself incredibly invested in both of these relationships, and I really wasn’t sure where it was all headed!!
- Not much. Um, it ended? And I have to wait for the next one? Yep, that’s about it.
If you’re a fan of paranormal stories OR alternate history, I would definitely pick this book up. This is just another example of why I love Graudin! I give this book 5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
I was born and raised by the sea in Charleston, South Carolina. I grew up on a steady diet of fairytales, salt-marshes, music and brothers who would reenact Redwall battles with me in the backyard. I went to an artsy sort of high school that allowed cello recitals in the hallways and impromptu poetry slams in the cafeteria. It was there I decided that writing was what I wanted to do more than anything.
So I wrote. I went to the College of Charleston and graduated in 2009 with a degree in Creative Writing. I met the love of my life and got married at 21. We started traveling the world together and never really stopped. We’ve taught English in South Korea, farmed in New Zealand, hiked through Peru, spied on lions in Kenya. Country number 19 is next on the docket.
I still live close to the sea, with my husband and my wolf-dog. We try to grow gardens, but haven’t had much success. Sometimes I get bored and give myself dreadlocks or pierce my nose. One day I’ll be brave enough to commit to a tattoo.