Title: Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, 1)
Author: Ryan Graudin
Genre: Alternative History, Historical Novel, Young Adult
Source: Illumicrate, box 1
Publisher: Indigo (5th November 2015)
Once upon a different time, there was a girl who lived in a kingdom of death. Wolves howled up her arm. A whole pack of them – made of tattoo ink and pain, memory and loss. It was the only thing about her that stayed the same.
Germany, 1956. Over ten years since the Nazis won the war.
Seventeen-year-old Yael is part of the resistance, and she has just one mission: to kill Hitler.
But first she’s got to get close enough to him to do it.
Rating: ***** (5 stars)
WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin tells the story of Yael who lives in a world where the Nazis won the Second World War, and she is part of the resistance. A decade after their victory, when Yael is seventeen she is given the mission to kill Hitler.
WOLF BY WOLF is a really fast paced read; once I began reading I fell straight into the story, and struggled to put the book down. The setting and the plot of the novel were brilliantly thought out, and I had to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. Graudin creates an intense and very real world, where the stakes are high. As the story unfolds you find yourself hoping that Yael will succeed at her goal.
It’s impossible to talk about WOLF BY WOLF without acknowledging the fact that it’s an alternative history, and one that, to me at least, seems fairly plausible. That in itself is one of the things that I really enjoy about this book – it seems like it could have been a very real possibility, and a scary one at that.
Yael is an intriguing main character; she is at once both alive and tangible on the page, whilst also being like a ghost. It is, I think, part of her charm. Yael and her struggles felt very real to me, and I found myself rooting for her from the beginning. I liked the fact that although Yael is shown to be a very competent and confident young woman, Graudin allows us to see through the cracks in her armour.
Characterization is one of the things that really Graudin really does well in this book. Not just with Yael, but with the other characters that appear in the book. Interesting characters populate the book; although the narrative focuses on Yael, the people she interacts with and watches feel believable. As such, the world of WOLF BY WOLF feels very vibrant and genuine.
WOLF BY WOLF is narrated in the third person, with the narrative moving between now and then. I think that this style worked very well, as it allowed Graudin to slowly paint a picture of what the world is like and to show us who Yael is. It also works because when we learn about Yael’s past it never feels like information dumps; instead it just feels like the next turn in the story.
Although the narrative of WOLF BY WOLF is very much an alternative history, there’s also just a touch of magic to the story. WOLF BY WOLF is the first book of a duology (I think) and as such, the world building is superbly done. As soon as I picked up the book I just powered straight through it, and was breathless by the end. I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on BLOOD FOR BLOOD.