Alternate History · Historical Fiction · Review · Young Adult

Book Review: Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, #1)

This book had been sitting on my shelf for forever, just waiting for me to finally pick it up. I kept pushing it aside as I was afraid it might be a little boring and push me into a reading slump. Luckily, one of my blogging besties, Britt @ Geronimo Reads had not read it as well so we decided to make it a buddy read. My first ever! I’m so glad that we chose Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, #1) by Ryan Graudin as it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

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?

The Good

  • Storyline – This book was incredibly unique. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know a whole lot about the plot when I first picked it up, and it turned out to be so good! It was fun, interesting, heartbreaking, and completely unlike anything I had ever read. I loved how Graudin was able to rewrite history and make it so real and believable.
  • Writing – I really enjoyed Graudin’s writing. It was nothing fancy or lyrical, but it flowed so well. I loved how she described everything, especially when talking about Yael’s emotional turmoil. It was simple but very profound.
  • Side Characters – I really enjoyed all of the minor characters in this story. They each had their own distinctive personality and voice. I also loved how each of them were able to affect Yael in so many different ways through each interaction. Her character development was completely determined by these interactions and it showed. I loved that Graudin was able to show you how and why Yael was changing throughout the book, making it gradual and believable. And can we all give a little three cheers for sexy Luka?! I’m not gonna lie, I needed to be cooled down a bit every time he was mentioned wearing that old worn out leather jacket… 😉

10

The Bad

  • Yael – Yael is cool because she’s a badass independent girl, who has had to go through one of the most traumatic experiences ever. However, that girl has zero personality. I read through this whole book and learned about her entire life story, but by the end, I felt like I didn’t know her at all. There was no connection there, nothing that made me want to be her friend. I like my characters to have some life to them, to have a personality that’s either good or bad. But with Yael, there was nothing. It was almost to the point where I was kind of hoping she would die and so the sequel would follow another one of the characters instead. Maybe all of that will change in Blood for Blood and the real Yael will emerge, or may it won’t and I’ll still have the serious urge to smack some life into her. I guess only time will tell…

Overall, this was such a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed it all for the most part and was dying when it ended on that cliffhanger! I actually bought Blood for Blood this past weekend so I could read it during the upcoming holidays. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or is looking for a unique story with a twist. Read it, and then fall in love with Luka and his leather jacket!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars


Have you read Wolf by Wolf? What did you think about this book? Have you read the sequel, Blood for Blood?

40 thoughts on “Book Review: Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, #1)

  1. I kind of find Yael’s lack of personality a consequence to the changed in her body. She doesn’t know who she is because she didn’t have the chance to figure it out before she was morphed into someone who can become anyone, that can really fuck with your head. She doesn’t even know what she’s supposed to look like in the mirror, how can she know what she likes or doesn’t like? That’s just something that came into my head while reading your review. I hope you continue and that enjoy Blood for Blood more, I loved it! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I definitely considered all of that while I was reading it. But I was hoping for just a little something from her, just maybe one joke or anything really. I totally get that Graudin probably wrote her this way on purpose, it just made it really hard for me to connect with her. But I’ve already bought the sequel so hopefully my issues with her are resolved! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly, I didn’t get far when reading this book before putting it down. It wasn’t a story that particularly dragged me in — though that isn’t to say I couldn’t give it another try in the future — but it’s good to see it did for many others, including yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome review! I love this book so much because of how unique the premise is. I looove trying to explain this book to other readers haha. I hope you like Blood for Blood though since it is a lot more Yael and barely any Adele. But I feel like Graudin can do no wrong. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I honestly had no idea what it was really about when I first picked it up. I didn’t really pay attention to the synopsis, I just knew it was about an alternate history book where a girl has to assassinate Hitler haha! I’m glad I went into it fairly blind too. I’m pretty excited to read the sequel. I’m glad we can finally get a real glimpse of Yael and not “Adele”. 😊

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  4. Honestly, I’d removed this book from my TBR fairly quickly after its release, due to some pretty negative reviews–but this review, along with a couple others I’ve read in the last week or two, really gives me hope. I think maybe I dismissed the book too soon. Excellent review! =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Liam! Yeah, I think the reason I had pushed it back on my TBR for so long because I had this idea in my head of what it was about and I was completely wrong. I actually thought it was like a fantasy/alternate history and that she was like a shapeshifter or werewolf 😂. But I’m glad I gave it a chance because it turned out to be a good read. I’m looking forward to Blood for Blood now!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad to see you enjoyed this one Larkin! it gives me the extra push to hurry up & get to this one. I’ve watched reviews & know about the unique premise for this story, it just sucks that the main character doesn’t have much of a personality. I kind of felt that way with whatsherface….the girl from V.E. Shwab’s A Darker Shade Of magic LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha whatsherface… 😂
      But thank you! I’m glad I finally sat down and read it, too. It ended up being much more exciting than what I originally thought it would be. As for the personality thing, a lot of people didn’t have any issues with Yael. I think it’s a me thing. I very much prefer characters who are sarcastic/funny/dramatic, and so her lack of it bothered me more than others. I’ve heard it gets better in the sequel though, so that’s a good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL that’s how you know a character was bland, when you can’t even remember their name smh. I also like my characters to be sarcastic/funny/dramatic. If it can manage to make me smirk then it’s a winner. Funny thing, I heard the same for the sequel to A Darker Shade Of Magic & boy am I hoping it’s true lol. Enjoy Blood for Blood 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree on what Sara said about Yael so I didn’t mind the fact that she didn’t show much character. This is one of my favorite books along with Blood for Blood 😀 which I think you’d love more because she starts to slowly find herself and show personality.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yeah, and I did take that into account some and also the fact that she was pretending to be someone else the whole time, but it was still difficult to connect with her. I’m just weird that way haha! I really enjoyed the book though and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in Blood for Blood. That cliffhanger has me all excited for it! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The premise at the top of the post is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. How interesting! Sometimes supporting characters steal the show at the expense of the main, and it’s unfortunate that you felt this was the case with this novel. 4/5 is not bad at all, though! I may have to check this one out. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, this book was incredibly unique! I really did enjoy it! And there is a reason that I’m sure that the MC didn’t really have a personality, due to her mission and her life in general, but I’m just one of those people who has to have that in my books. I just love sass, haha! But I highly recommend the book!

      Liked by 1 person

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