Wolf by Wolf Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“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.” 

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, October 20th 2015

Pages: 388

Rating: 5/5

Plot:

Set in an alternative history during the year 1956 where the Axis Powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan hold significant control over the world, Wolf by Wolf details the journey of a young girl named Yael who vows to restore unity to the world through destroying the one man responsible for her people’s suffering: Adolf Hitler. After her heartbreaking and terrifying experiences within a death camp, Yael tattooed five wolves on her arm to serve as a reminder of the ones she lost, each representing a significant part of her character. Through cruel and painful experimentation, Yael develops the ability to skinshift – allowing her to exhibit the facial features of a character she chooses to imitate. As a result, she proves to be a brilliant candidate for the Resistance to take part in the imperative mission to bring down Hitler. By winning the annual Motorcycle Tournament under the character of the previous year’s champion Adele Wolfe, Yael would be given the opportunity to dance with Hitler himself at the Victor’s Ball. But the mission seems to grow complicated as Luka, Adele’s former love interest, and Felix, Adele’s twin brother, enter the picture. Even with the growing relationships with the other candidates, Yael must prove herself to be as ruthless and daring enough to bring down Hitler and his regime.

 

Characters:

Yael – Strong; Smart; One of my favorite aspects of Yael was that she was very goal oriented from the start and her passion and determination for her mission is truly remarkable.

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Adele Wolfe – Passionate; Strong; Although we see Adele Wolfe for a limited time within the novel, we can already see that she is strong and capable of standing on her own.

Felix Wolfe – Protective; Supportive; Smart; Felix was enticing from the start. He loves his family and will do anything he can to keep them together.

Luka – Extroverted; Bold; Strong; Adele’s former love interest who has a strong passion for winning the game despite knowing that Adele (Yael) is participating.

 

Final Thoughts:

If you have not read this book, please pick this up!

It is a thrill ride and it had me hooked from the start. One of my favorite aspects of the entire novel is the writing and storytelling – it is absolutely amazing and so well done. The setting does shift from the past to the present many times within the novel but I never felt as if it slowed the pace or left the plot lagging. It was done at the appropriate moments to add depth to the character and progress the story. By revealing her past experiences, we learn why Yael is the way she is and what are her weaknesses/regrets/strengths. It was through these areas of the book where I found her to be relatable since she is a strong character; yet she also had her own monsters/vulnerabilities’ within her which made her seem more human.

I have also developed a strong appreciation for the historical fiction genre. As with writing any novel, research is crucial to develop a thorough world/setting. However, with historical fiction it is imperative to maintain accuracy to previous events in order to provide credibility to the reader. While Wolf by Wolf is an alternate history novel, I truly appreciate the author’s efforts for creating a work of literature while maintaining a believable world and an accuracy to history. Previously I have read Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anna Blankman which had a sense of mystery and intrigue entangled with the historical fiction genre which made it a compelling and brilliantly crafted read. This was the first novel that really helped me to venture into a new genre and through reading Wolf by Wolf, I will definitely be picking up more in the future!

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Have any of you read Wolf by Wolf? What are your thoughts on it? And if you have any historical fiction recommendations please let me know 🙂

Until next time, keep reading and I’ll see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Prisoner of Night and Fog Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“If you think love means secrecy, then you don’t understand what love is at all.” 

Author: Anne Blankman

Publication: April 22nd 2014 by Balzer + Bray

Genre: Thriller/Historical Fiction

Pages: 401

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Rating: 5/5

I often don’t pick up historical fiction novels since I am more interested in high fantasy and science fiction genres. However, I wanted to try something new so I picked up Prisoner of Night and Fog since I heard so many great reviews about it and I wanted to read it for myself. And I have to say, this is book is phenomenal!

Summary: 

Gretchen Müller is a German girl living in Munich during the 1930s under the the National Socialist Party and her “uncle” Dolf, or otherwise known as Adolf Hitler. Ever since her father had died protecting him, she and her family have always been revered and guarded within the party. However, everything changes once she meets a Jewish reporter, Daniel Cohen, who claims to have evidence supporting that her father’s death was in fact murder. Despite whatever she had been taught about the Jews, she can’t help but be intrigued by him and his story and finds herself growing closer to him. Together, they work to reveal the secrets within Hitler’s inner circle and by doing so discover her father’s killer.

Characters

Gretchen Müller – Naive, Kind, Goal-Oriented; Gretchen growth within this novel is commendable. I love the fact that she is goal oriented and values her education and her ambition of becoming a doctor. You also see her slowly becoming braver and stronger as the novel progresses and you can’t help but cheer for her.

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Daniel Cohen – Brave, Adventurous, Smart; Daniel does at first clash with Gretchen since they both technically are on opposing sides. However, he does see that she is different from the other Party members and grows more and more surprised by her actions. Their relationship slowly progresses from adversaries to friendship and eventually a sweet yet forbidden romance.

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Final Thoughts:

When I first started reading this novel, I found the beginning to be quite mysterious yet intriguing and at some times a bit slow; however, the author does this for a reason. You see her slowly placing pieces together bit by bit which lead up to some terrifying events enough to make your skin crawl.

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Although a general summary of this novel may lead one to believe this is a romance novel, please do not that fool you. It is actually a fantastic thriller and mystery book with a sprinkle of romance which takes a back seat to the action and I loved that aspect of the book. The main mystery surrounding Gretchen’s father was what kept me so intrigued and the character development is absolutely stunning.

By the end of the book, Gretchen is not the same person we meet in the beginning. And the transformation happens in a gradual pace which makes this more realistic. Because of this, she has become one of my favorite female leads of all time. Our male lead, Daniel, also deserves some praise since he was an absolute pleasure to read about. He is portrayed as smart, courageous, and adventurous and you can’t help but fall in love with his personality.

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Overall, if you are looking for some historical fiction novels I highly recommend you pick this one up! And if you happen to read it, definitely look into the author’s note in the end. You can tell that she placed a tremendous amount of time and effort researching Hitler’s inner circle and learning every small detail which is probably why this book feels so real.

I hope you all will give this book a chance! It will make you tear up, it will make you smile, it will make your heart race and it will most certainly make you absolutely terrified!

Until next time, keep reading and I will be back with another bookish post!

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