Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

WolfbyWolfSeries: Wolf by Wolf #1
Published by: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316405124
ISBN 13: 9780316405126
Published: October 2015
Pages: 400
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five

I love alternate history. This is set as though WWII had quite a different outcome in the most terrible way – the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world in harsh and cruel ways, and have since hosted a motorcycle race across half the world to show off their best followers – ten chosen from each sector.

Yael is our protagonist, scarred from experiments done on her in a camp as a young child, with results she hid from everyone to her own benefit. She’s a shape-shifter, able to mimic others appearances which is how she found her freedom, and now that she’s a young adult, is exactly what the resistance needs in order to get close enough to Hitler to make a difference.

This means taking the place of last year’s star, Adele, in order to get a promised dance with Hitler. Which means she also has to win the race. Which means she has to beat 19 other desperate hopefuls who will stop at nothing to get there – whether this means slashing tyres, drugging food or perhaps even killing in a more direct way, then so be it. Yael has trained for this for years – learning how to fight and shoot, survive, adding to her own desperate need for survival that has saved her all her life from such a young age in a way most of us, thankfully, will never know the likes of.

As if this isn’t already hard enough as it is, Adele’s twin brother manages to join in at the last moment, and then it seems one of the other contestants from the previous year may have had something special with Adele that Yael has no idea of. How can she trick them all, as well as survive, and somehow win?

This makes for a fantastic book. It’s awful and electric and the ending is so perfect that I somehow didn’t see coming – I can’t wait for the second book! The writing is deliberate and lovely, and you don’t have to suspend disbelief too much. Though I do wonder why she would have such a lovely tattoo so visible if it does then provide such obvious proof that she’s not whoever she’s currently impersonating. Still, that’s easy to forgive for such a fantastic book.

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