What if Japan had never attacked America and because of that America decided to stay neutral and not enter the war?
What if Hitler and the Axis had won WWII?
Wolf by Wolf answers these questions and does it in such a beautifully vivid and heart wrenching way that still brings chills to my bones minutes after finishing the book.
One of the most heart wrenching parts of this story centers around the main protagonist a girl named Yael. A Jewish girl who at the age of six when most young girls are playing dress up was taken with her mother to one of the Nazi death camps. The story shifts from past to present but it is in these flashes that the reader learns that while in the camp that Yael was the subject of a cruel and heinous experiment that changed the very fabric of who she was. She was given the ability to change into anyone (with a few exceptions) she had ever seen.
It is this skill that Present Yael is using to assist the Resistance with a very dangerous and life threatening mission; to assassinate Hitler. To do this Yael must take the identity of one of the racers Adele Wolfe; a female racer who had won the previous race by impersonating her brother. Yael has been trained to fight and survive and spends most of the last year learning all she can about the other contestants while reading and imitating Adele in anticipation for making the switch. There ends up being two problems that no amount of research can assist with; Luka who has a bitter romantic history with Adele, and a much more serious, Adele’s twin brother Felix. Yael has to fool them both, and defeat them along with all of the other competitors, if she wants to complete her mission and exact the revenge that has choked the life out of Yael for so long.
What makes this book so beautifully heartbreaking is how Graudin writing style for this book puts you in the mind of Yael and the more that you read the more you start to feel what Yael is feeling. Her pain. Her worry. Her determination. All these things is what I love in stories. I love being able to connect so fully with a character that I feel the rollercoaster ride of emotions while I’m reading. I did have a small issue in the beginning at the idea that Yael was damn near perfect when it came to all of the spy things, shooting, and hand-to-hand combat but even that fell away (and that says a lot about a book because it usually makes me DNF a book). I began to understand WHY Yael was perfect and why she HAD to be. I feel when authors make characters that are “perfect” at something they forget to add the reality of the situation. Why is this character so good? What is their motivation? This is mostly glossed over and treated like it is second to the action or dialogue. In the world that Yael lived in and her being who she was she HAD to be perfect because if she wasn’t perfect she would lose not only her life but the only people she knew and cared about in the Resistance. This makes it realistic for her to be the best. So this negative turned into a positive for me. Bravo Graudin!
I am not going to give any specifics away from this book because that would waste you reading this beautiful book yourself. But I will leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the book and maybe they will spur you and make you fall in love with this book as I have. I would completely and totally recommend that everyone at least gives this book a try. You won’t regret it!
“There was a monster, but it didn’t live inside the death camp’s crematorium. Its den was much finer-a Chancellery full of stolen art, and doors with iron locks”
“The wolves where her constant, the single thing about her that was solid and sure”
“The answer to this question was something Yael had to fight. 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.”
“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 received this book for free from TheNovl in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.