Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin: Book Review

I am Yael. I am Inmate 121358△X. I am your death.

Goodreads Synopsis: 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?

Commentary: I am a big  fan of books that take place during WWII era. This book caught my attention since this is a reimagining of a world in which the Axis Powers won the war. Sounds scary right? What I really liked about the book is that the author took her time to imagine this world where Hitler was still in power. The world was not perfect, it was in shambles. Most of the world was conquered by Hitler’s regime. There was no one to fight his rule, except for the underground resistance group.

Yael is a Jewish girl who was a victim of experimentation when she was forced into a concentration camp with her mother. Yael had the strong desire to live. Because she was experimented on, she gained the power of skin shift. Now, she can only alter herself completely, but only into other females. Each time Yael changes into another person, she loses a bit of herself along the way. She doesn’t even remember how she originally looked like. She changes into other people as a way to survive. But, even though she changes, she cannot get rid of any tattoos on her body.

I really liked Yael. She was strong and determined throughout the whole book. She had to become Adele Wolfe, in order to carry out her mission. Her mission was not an easy one, especially since Yael had to deal with both Felix, Adele’s twin brother, and Luka, a possible love interest of Adele.

She thought she was ready for this mission. Ready for anything. But not this. Not relationships. This wasn’t something she could fake.

I was on the edge of my seat, thinking that Yael’s true identity was going to be revealed. What made this book intriguing was that Yael wasn’t the typical protagonist from many YA books. She did feel wiser beyond her years and she’s a tough one. She struggles with her own identity as well. She had tattooed five wolves to remind her of the people she has lost because of the regime.

I really enjoyed how the book jumped from the past and present. Learning about Yael’s survival from concentration camp was really sad. I really liked how each wolf represented a loved one from Yael’s life:

Babushka – the one who gave her purpose.

Mama – the one who gave her life.

Miriam – the one who gave her freedom.

Aaron-Klaus – the one who gave her a mission.

Vlad – the one who gave her pain.

These were the names she whispered in the dark. These were the pieces she brought back into place. These were the wolves she rode to war.

I also liked Felix. I thought that he was a wonderful brother for trying to rescue his sister from race. Felix was the doting brother that wanted Adele’s safety and wanted his family to be whole again. During some moments of the book, I really thought that Felix was part of the resistance. Then there is Luka. He is the charming bad boy, who is in love with Adele. It was very difficult for Yael to not let her guard down. I do hope to see more of Luka in the sequel since I really liked him.

Even though there are two guys in this book, there is absolutely no love triangle. This isn’t a love story. It’s far more complicated and it makes you wonder about the what ifs. I really enjoyed reading this book. I really loved the race aspect! It made the book standout even more! The ending was a great cliffhanger! I was not expecting that ending at all, and I am so glad that there will be a sequel to this book.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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