Hello everybody! How is your day going so far?
I am here with a spoiler-free book review for a book I recently read, called Wolf by Wolf. My sister read it back in 2021 and has been bugging me to read it since then. After finally getting around to it, I realize what all of her hype was about!
Title: Wolf by Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Genres: Alternate history, historical fiction, young adult, adventure
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5/5
Summary from Goodreads
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, 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 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 twin’s 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 bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
I was hesitant to read this book, just because of the fact that my sister rated it so highly. She continued to recommend it to me, yet I just didn’t get to it until now because of that, and the fact that it didn’t sound like anything I’d read before.
After reading the synopsis, I thought that it sounded interesting. But, a fast-paced alternate historical fiction book about a girl who can “skinshift” doesn’t sound like something I’d normally read. So, I sort of put it off, always telling myself that I’d read it later sometime.
I liked the characters quite a bit. I found them interesting, especially the main character, Yael. She had a very tragic past, and I was always anticipating reading more about her backstory. She was a very unique character! She was strong, yet her vulnerability showed several times, reminding the readers that she was still human.
There were many characters that I didn’t know what to make of, such as Felix and Luka. They had this past with the real Adele Wolfe that the reader knows nothing about, but that just kept me reading, trying to figure it out. The side characters were well-developed and included in the book at a perfect rate, none of them overpowering the story, but still being included enough to be a part of it.
At the start of this novel, I did have a bit of trouble remembering names and which characters they went to. In the first few chapters, quite a few names are introduced, and I found myself flipping back through pages to discover who was who again. It’s not a big deal, and probably just my fault for being bad with names, but it is just something to note.
Plot and story
The plot, as I mentioned, sounded interesting. I haven’t ever read any alternate history before, and I initially thought the story sounded different from anything I’d previously read (and it was.) I read a lot of historical fiction, but not alternate history. I think that it was quite interesting to think of the “what ifs”: what if Hitler had won World War II, or what if terrible experiments in concentration camps had led to the ability to skinshift?
I had had a bit of trouble getting started out with the book. I find that this happens to me quite a bit: I will read the first hundred or so pages of a book more slowly, and then zoom through the remainder of the book. It was definitely no different with this one. I’m sure that it took me the same amount of time to read the first quarter of the book as the remainder.
The writing in this wasn’t my favorite. I feel as if writing is really a personal preference, though, and just because I didn’t particularly enjoy the writing style, doesn’t mean that everyone won’t. There were quite a few metaphorical terms, and it is a bit poetic, which I don’t often enjoy. This, however, didn’t ruin the book for me. It was just a slight bother to me, and lots of other people, I’m sure, enjoy the writing quite a bit.
I liked this book immensely! It was a real page-turner, and had me on the edge of my seat for the latter chunk of the book. It was packed with action, but I wasn’t constantly overwhelmed by it. And, though the story was laced with twists and turns, the ending really surprised me! I cannot wait to get to the next book.
I would totally recommend this book to anybody who wants to read a unique, and gripping story, unlike anything that you’ll probably ever read.
Thank you for reading today’s post! Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? If you haven’t read it, will you be checking it out soon? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
I hope that you all have a lovely week! I will be back next Monday with a new post. Bye until then!