Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Review by Lauren
source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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 conjoined continents. The prize?
An audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball
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
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?
Review: With Halloween tomorrow, I thought this was a great time to share my thoughts on Graudin’s latest novel. This is the first book in what I believe will be a duology, but it does a fantastic job not only setting things up but giving us a complete story of intrigue, deceit, and suspense.
Yael used to be in a death camp when she was younger, where a doctor took notice of her and began to experiment with a way to create the look of an Aryan in a non-Aryan. What the doctor did not realize is that while Yael’s looks began to change, she could also change her own looks by will as long as she knew who she was trying to impersonate. It’s not long into the book when you learn about Yael’s skin-shifting (plus, it’s mentioned in the summary) so hopefully this won’t be viewed as a spoiler for those of you reading. There is a lot more to the skin shifting throughout the book that you’ll have to read to find out about!
I loved the idea of the motorcycle race and I was definitely worried about Yael keeping her secret of being someone else with two boys seemingly knowing more about Adele than Yael does. Yael studied all she could about being Adele, but there are some things only certain people could have filled Yael in on and now she has to navigate these secrets while staying alive. It’s a treacherous road these racers are on and you start to care about more than Yael and hope that they will make it through and start to fight for the resistance. Hitler needs to be stopped and Yael hopes to be the light that sparks the revolution – if all goes to plan.
Wolf By Wolf is an imaginative re-imagining of history that is terrifying to think about but as Ryan Graudin states in the Author’s Note at the end, at a point in time, this was our history.
This does sound like an unique way to explore history although skin shifting gives me the creeps – so glad you enjoyed it Lauren
I've always been intrigued by shapeshifting – I'm actually re-reading Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver right now. Not sure if this is one I would pick up, but the concept does sound interesting.
Someone else recently read and reviewed this as well and really enjoyed it. So happy to see another good review for this, it sounds really interesting!
I really loved this book! Informative! Engrossing! Sad!
I never read Ryan Graudin's previous book, The Walled City partly because of the mixed reviews.. When I saw this one, the premise got me all interested. Reading your review kind of made me want to try it. And it sounds like it has an interesting new perspective on history. Great review 🙂
czai @ the Blacksheep Project
There's so much more to this book than what I first gleaned from the reviews. Thanks for the insight!
It sounds so interesting! Happy Halloween!
Oh I am SO glad you liked this one! I was a little worried about it because I wasn't quite a fan of The Walled City, but this just sounded way too unique to pass up! I'm also glad to know it's a potential duology, thanks for that! I love reimaginings of history, so I am so excited for this one! Fabulous review!
Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight
Fascinated by the death camp feature and liking that this is one of only two books rather than a long series which I'm temporarily avoiding.
I have this book on my October reading pile (which obviously I missed unless I manage to read it all today lol) but I didn't really realize what it was about. Sounds great!
Karen @For What It's Worth
I'm always intrigued by what-ifs in history, and shape-shifting is another cool twist 🙂
I wasn't a huge fan of Ryan Graudin's debut novel but I can't help but be intrigued by this one. This period of history is fascinating to me and I like the shape shifting concept as well.
I'm SO excited for this book, so it's great to hear you liked it! The last line of your review also applies to Ryan Graudin's The Walled City, which is based on a real historical city without laws. And skin shifting? That sounds fascinating. Somehow you made me even more excited for Wolf by Wolf than I already was!