Review number 4: Wolf by Wolf
Hello everyone, here I am with another book very close to my heart, Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin. It's an alternative universe where Hitler didn't lose World War II and every year his triumph is celebrated through the deadly motorcycle race Grand Axis. Yael is a jewish girl who escaped the camps and joined the resistance after experiments done on her left her with the ability to morph her features however she likes. It's in this way that she takes the identity of Adele Wolfe, the only girl racing in the Axis Tour, with the sole objective of winning the competition and killing Adolf Hitler at the Victor's Ball.
First off, the research behind this book is amazing and actually taught me several things I didn't know about the terrible events of World War II. The setting really got to me because that world could have easily been ours if things had gone just a little different and Graudin isn't gentle about delivering her message. Yael is the perfect main character for this: she is strong, she has had to be to survive, but there are deep scars inside her heart, scars she must face however hard it is to do so. I also liked the recurring theme of Yael's troubles with her identity, being that after the experiments in the camps she can wear any face but her own, so much so that she has forgotten what she actually looks like. The only constant of her appearance are the five wolves tattoed on her arm to remind her of the people she has lost. Graudin's style of writing really helped me get inside Yael's thoughts and understand the hardships of her situation and at the same time the strength of her actions, without ever making it too heavy or boring of a read.
During the competition there are many dangers Yael must face, so many moments left me with my heart racing, watching Yael risk her life again and again while fighting to come first at the finish line. The plot twists in this book never allowed me to put it down and never let me forget what was at stake for Yael and her mission. Along with accidents, kidnappings and the many dangers of the race itself, the girl also has to guard herself from Luka Lowe, the boy from Adele's secret history, and Felix Wolfe, Adele's brother and possibly the one person Yael hasn't been trained to face. These two characters are completely different from one another but they both end up being complications for Yael and the heart she thought she could control. They also add a bit more lighthearted tone to the book, especially Luka and his sarcastic swagger.
The story draws to a conclusion that leaves a heart stopping cliffhanger and the reader ready for the sequel, Blood for Blood ( which is also a very good read). The ending, however wildly unexpected, made perfect sense and left me satisfied and eager to read more.
This book as well as the sequel aren't pretty. They're heartbreaking and make you smile and cry and think. They make you feel, which is what made them so good in my opinion.