Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

25907472Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Genre: Historical
Published by: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 390
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

WOW. Like, seriously. Wow. Wolf By Wolf has to be one of the best books I read in January. I was hooked from the very beginning, and I have a feeling that Yael will quickly become one of my favourite heroines. Luckily for me, this is going to be a trilogy – even though I do have some concerns about where this could go – so we’ll be seeing more of Yael soon! If you haven’t heard of this book, it’s about Yael who is a skin-shifter, after being experimented on in a concentration-camp-like environment, and as part of the rebellion against the Nazi regime, she is going to adopt Adele Wolf motocross champion’s identity and try to win the race from Germany to Japan, because it will give her the perfect opportunity to kill Hitler. If you don’t think that sounds like a crazy wild time, definitely worth a read, then I don’t know does!

For one thing, I really loved how this story was structured, with interspersed backstory of the five people Yael cared most about – her wolves – and how that revealed how she became to be a shin shifter. I think it really helped that there were checkpoints for the different cities because it really meant that something had to be happening in every leg of the race. There was not one dull moment.

The pacing was excellent, I constantly needed to know what was going to happen next and for once for a book with motorcycles in it, the author actually seemed to know what she was talking about! Obviously Graudin did a lot of research in preparation for this book, and the Author’s note at the end explains how she came up with the idea and fills you in on the wider context just incase you weren’t completely aware what was happening, but even the little things seemed so well researched – like the landscapes and the motorcycles – that even though there’s a paranormal element with the skin shifting there is still an overwhelming sense of realism.

I was constantly on edge because although Yael knew the facts about Adele she didn’t really know what happened in the previous race. So when her brother and Luka, another previous Victor, question her on what’s happened to her, it doesn’t seem like Yael will be able to blag her way through. But Yael knows what she has to do to complete her mission, and that is 100% her focus throughout the entire book. She never lets herself forget what she’s really there to do, so even though there are some romantic undertones with Luka, they’re not overpowering or cliche. Phew! Still, I have to admit that I was completely enticed by their dynamic and can’t wait to see how it progresses in the sequels.

What will happen to the rebellion after Yael’s mission? Will she survive whatever onslaught is coming? Primarily, I think Wolf By Wolf deals with identity and how what we do shapes who we are. As a skin shifter Yael has lost a sense of herself, and through the process of become Adele and continuing the relationships she has in her life, Yael comes to learn important things about herself. Her character development in this trilogy is bound to be outstanding!

Lastly, I have to comment on the ending. What a surprise! I mean, I partly guessed what was going to happen – that much was obvious – but the actually ending ending was such a surprise. Before reading this book I thought it was only a standalone, and I think I would have almost preferred if it was? I don’t know, it was just such a successful book that I don’t want the quality to lessen in the sequels with the cursed second book syndrome! No doubt, I will be reading the second book, but I think if you’re happy with ambiguity it’s the kind of thing that you could probably read and let go, although I promise you’ll be hooked and begging for more! A well deserved 4 stars!

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