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Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
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Wolf by Wolf

by Ryan Graudin

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This was quite a cool work of alternate history that was, I think, a bit more creative and unique than most "What if the Axis powers won WWII?" scenarios.

The author did her research when it came to the history, and while it isn't an in-depth explanation of how the Axis powers won, it was sufficient enough to set up the world. I'm not really fond of introducing fantastic elements to alternate history, but I could buy Yael's skinshifting with some suspense of disbelief. The motorcycle race was a really cool way to set things up as well, and it was a lot different from other premises I've seen before.

Yael was a cool character. She wasn't as well-rounded as I would have liked her to be, but she was interesting and tough and determined. I wish the other racers as well had gotten more characterization. I liked Felix a lot, but I would have liked to know more about Luka, though I suppose that Graudin was setting up for the sequel.

I'm not fond of when authors use text sizes and fonts to accentuate their writing and it's done quite a bit in this book. Otherwise I really enjoyed it. The flashback chapters distracted from the pace a bit - I skimmed to get back to the motorcycle race.

And that ending - oh boy. I'm definitely reading the next book soon. ( )
  jwmchen | Nov 4, 2017 |
I received this book from the Hatchette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

As a Tarantino fan, yes. Yes to this book. I was reading Wolf by Wolf and came to the conclusion that Yael is basically YA Shosanna. Her story was my favorite part of Inglourious Basterds.

If a movie for Wolf by Wolf was a thing, she'd be Yael

But this is about Wolf by Wolf. Alternate Universe if Hitler and the Axis won WWII. Essentially, a living hell. In this world, Germany and Japan run most of Europe and Asia with an iron fist, but their ideal perfect world is collapsing from within. Starting with Yael...

Yael is one of those female heroines with a tragic backstory, but it's something that makes her persevere to complete her goal. For her wolves (Babushka, Mama, Miriam, Aaron-Klaus, Vlad), the ones who shaped her into who she is. She's certainly very relentless, to the point of doing rather reckless hurtful things to Felix and Luka. There is no love triangle actually, because Felix is her brother (Adele's brother), and all the love triangle trope haters can read this book in peace.

If you want to read more, my review is at Wonderland Novels ( )
  raisinetta | Sep 25, 2017 |
This book was one HELL of a ride.

Picture it. Hitler, the victor. Death Camps in full swing. Millions upon millions living under total dictatorship. Millions more being tortured, experimented on, extinguished. World in terror. Got that? Good. Now add a death-defying transnational motorcycle race. Oh, and a shape-shifting Jewish death camp survivor-come-assassin named Yael who's determined to win.

At first, I thought this premise sounded mad. There was too much going on, too many ingredients thrown into an impossibly vast pot to make much difference.

But, it is EXACTLY as hair-raisingly brilliant as it sounds.

Graudin paints for us a chilling dystopia, made scarier by the fact that we actually came really close to living it, based on two questions: what if the Axis powers won the second World War, and what if his genetic experiments gave birth to...someone new?

From there, this book leads us on an introspective journey about finding identity and the power of memories through Yael, a shape-shifting death camp survivor who is gearing up to do the unthinkable -- kill Hitler. The resistance believes Yael is the perfect assassin, because through her shape-shifting abilities she can take on any face, any name. But because of this, the one identity Yael can never have, and the one identity she longs to understand, is her own. Paired with this beautifully rendered inner struggle is a thrilling, high-stakes, adventurous plot.

Yael believes her ultimate challenge is to win a death-defying transnational motorcycle race in order to get close enough to Hitler. So, she takes the identity of spirited, single-minded Adele Wolf, the only girl to ever win the race and a dance with Hitler. What Yael didn't account for, however, is the web of love, jealousy, and backstabbing from her fellow riders. Through her interactions with these competitors, Graudin reminds us that human beings are complicated and multi-faceted, and Yael has no choice but to see them as more than mere road blocks on her way to the ultimate prize. This, of course...complicates things.

With lovely, evocative phrases and motifs, Graudin describes Yael's arc both within and without, and builds complex relationships through layered, organic interactions that build on each other to create a story that is vivid, wrenching, and heart-pounding. If you are interested in poetic, introspective explorations of history, loss, and identity with adventurous plots, don't miss it!


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  srsharms | Jul 20, 2017 |
"She-wolf. An interesting choice." "I didn't choose it," she told him. "It chose me."

An exhilarating, heartbreaking alternate history in which the Axis rang victorious and Hitler's brutal dreams of an Aryan, empowered Third Reich are realized.

Yael is an enigma; damaged and haunted by the brutal experiments to erase her Jewish traits she survived as a child and the long list of people she has lost. Now 17 and trained by the resistance to be a ruthless weapon, Yael has a new mission. Assuming the identity of a favored Aryan daughter, she sets out on a reckless journey to win the Fuhrer's favor in order to plant a bullet in his chest.

75% of the book is a gritty, cross-country motorcycle race, which was unexpectedly riveting. Graudin's alternate WWII is haunting and well-researched, her metaphoric writing subtly effective. I've always been drawn to WWII literature, both fiction and nonfiction, but Wolf by Wolf is unlike anything I've ever read, particularly in YA. With a breathtakingly unique premise and complex, compelling characters, this was a provocative, gripping read. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
RGG: An alternative history of the Axis powers winning WWII. A compelling heroine, survivor of Nazi experiments, a pretty good adventure, and intriguing secondary characters make for a fun read.
  rgruberhighschool | Apr 22, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316405124, Hardcover)

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?

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:05:36 -0400)

"The first book in a duology about an alternate version of 1956 where the Axis powers won WWII, and hold an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents to commemorate their victory"--

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