“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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!