Wolf by Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Published On: 10/20/2015
Page Count: 388
Synopsis: 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?
Overall Rating: 4/5
I really like the style of this cover. From the font, to the color scheme, as well as depicting a wolf as Yael’s shadow, I felt that this cover really encompassed the spirit of the novel.
Yael: Yael’s character was very complex. She must take on many different roles and personas to advance her goals, and although she must become each new person completely, some parts of who she really is bleeds through. Her personality felt like it occasionally became a bit confused, and I wanted more parts of her past to be explained, but she was a great protagonist.
Felix: The twin brother of the persona that Yael takes on for the majority of the story. He is constantly worried about his ‘sister’s’ safety, and seemed fairly one dimensional to me. He has his moments, but seemed like he hit the same note for most of the book.
Luka: The opposite of Felix, at least to me. Luka’s character had a lot of depth and character development, and you are constantly guessing what he will do next. Luka obviously cares for Yael’s persona from their history, but Yael doesn’t know what really happened between them before she became Adele, which keeps the audience trying to figure it out with her. I think Luka was my favorite character overall.
Plot: 4/5 There is a whole lot going on here. The overarcing plot of the bike race across the world for fame and fortune, combined with the personal intrigue between each individual racer as they progress was very interesting. Trying to figure out who Yael can trust and who she can’t, and knowing that winning the race is only a stepping stone to complete her goals keeps you on the edge of your seat most of the time. I did feel that the book didn’t seem to have enough time to flesh out some of the details and past, and am glad to see that there will be more to this story. Overall I enjoyed the book, and would definitely recommend it, especially if you like alternative historical fiction.
“Her self-reflection was no reflection at all. It was a shattered mirror. Something she had to piece together, over and over again. Memory by memory. Loss by loss. Wolf by wolf.”
“Even at their most basic function, needles do two things: They give and they take away.”