October 22, 2015

Race to Revolution • Wolf by Wolf

Wolf by Wolf book cover
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Source/Format: BEA 2015 || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the content of my review.]

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

If you like fiction that depicts an alternate history, Wolf by Wolf is for you. If you like The Amazing Race crossed with Survivor, Wolf by Wolf is also for you. If you like both, then you're downright lucky - Ryan Graudin has crafted a novel that lives up to the promise of all these things! Her take on a world where the Axis powers were the victors of the war is well-written, with just enough brutality, segregation, violence and rigidity to convince the reader that this world could have been the one we live in today. And the Axis Tour? It's dangerous and exciting, with alliances and rivalries, feats and surprises; it's basically the stuff that adrenaline junkies and reality TV show viewers would soak right up. Honestly, more than anything else, the setting and the plot is what makes Wolf by Wolf a story that readers will find themselves hard-pressed to set down.

It's difficult to go into detail, since it's not knowing what happens as Yael participates in the Axis Tour that makes this story such a compelling read. But I guarantee that the plot is fast-paced and twisty, and that the characters have more to them than meets the eye. Yael is one such character, as she is many things - a death camp survivor, an experiment, and now, she wears the face of a famous racer in order to start the revolution. She's a complicated mess of the things she's been forced to become and the things she always was. Watching her characterization unravel as the story unfolds is really something, even as it creates a distance between the reader and Yael that is difficult to bridge.

I read this one really quick, mostly because it's so easy to read, but in part because I was invested in the outcome of Yael's mission. Would she be able to pull off her task, even with all the adversity in her way? It's an exhilarating tale, and I'm afraid you'll have to read the book yourself if you want to discover what happens. I will say that, when I initially finished, I was feeling dissatisfied with the ending; I needed more. Thankfully, I've learned that there's a sequel - and you can bet that I'm going to be checking that one out next year! Wolf by Wolf is a really good read, and one you should consider adding to your TBR pile.

What kind of competition would you participate in?

My sister and I have always said that we would love to participate in The Amazing Race! I think it'd be really fun to have the opportunity to travel to all these different places, doing fun tasks that would challenge our mental and physical abilities, and I think we would make a really good team. We'd mostly just have fun, I'm sure, no matter what we had to face, and that would definitely be something to tell our grandchildren about if we ever did get the chance to do it.


  1. I reviewed this one today too. I felt much the same as you. Action packed, and also gave a lot of food for thought. The "what if" scenario is a good one. Her magical ability isn't my favorite part, but it's not the emphasis and is necessary to tell this great story. Great review!

  2. I keep seeing this and hearing about it and it sounds so fascinating! I love alternate history stories....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  3. I LOVE The Amazing Race but honestly don't know if I could handle the intensity! This book sounds like one I'd have difficulty letting go of; I'll definitely have to check it out. Thanks for your awesome review!

  4. Ok so I wasn't sure about this one... until now. Ok so this sounds awesome. This sounds fantastic. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YAEL!
    And there is a squeal? Oh gooooosh how will Wolf by Wolf end? I must get this book ASAP! Wonderful review :)
    Have a fantastic day!

  5. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I don't think it's going to be a book for me for a lot of reasons including the fact that the basic premise makes me a little uneasy. That said, can we talk about how much I love The Amazing Race?! I think I'd totally fall apart on it assuming I could find someone to play with but I just love it. I also like to pretend I could do well on Big Brother but I'm pretty sure that's a bald faced lie.


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