14 July, 2017

{ Series ARC Reviews } Wolf by Wolf & Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Hi guys! These reviews are a long time coming—I read these books ages ago (BUT THE PAIN IS STILL FRESH)—and sadly never got around to posting my review. Nevertheless, today I bring you the series review for the Wolf by Wolf series by Ryan Graudin!

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Wolf by Wolf, book 1
Published October 20, 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, 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 in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael 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 racer, 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 grows 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?

From the author of The Walled City comes a fast-paced and innovative novel that will leave you breathless.

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Oh boy. I have no idea where to start with this one. Maybe the fact that this was so cool and immersive? Or that it was probably one of the most unique novels that I've ever read? Or that Graudin knew how to mess me up multiple times while reading this? I don't know! 

But the truth is, Wolf by Wolf is all of those things and so much more—I'm just not the right person who can even begin to explain it! It's... such a different novel than what's out there—alternate history, guys! It truly takes a skilled writer to tamper with alternate history because there's just so much you have to include, to discover. Ryan Graudin clearly did a wonderful job with this novel and I'm glad it's the first I've read of hers. 

I loved the entire idea behind the motorcycle race, one that spans deserts and countries, from Germany to Japan. There's so much riding on this for Yael, for the rebel group who want to kill Hitler. And Yael has trained for this for so, so long, after losing so, so much—I have so much respect and admiration for this young woman. 

Yael not only has to win this hard race, which is filled with competitive and dangerous people, but also kill Hitler, WHILE maintaining the cover of the race's previous and well-known winner, Adele. It's a hard thing to do when the lines blur between who Yael is and who Adele is, especially when someone else hints at events you had no idea of. Despite the challenges in her way, it was amazing how she pushed through, no matter how difficult it was for her. 

The writing is amazing! Graudin is clearly a talented story teller and the way she uses her words proved this time and time again. Whether she's discovering Yaels past or yet her complicating her mission, Graudin kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat the entire book! 

The plot itself is pretty straight forward. It's most a journey novel, from destination A to destination B, only it clearly isn't as simple. At times it is slow, but it goes well with the novel. It also cleverly showcases Yaels past and normally, those kind of novels annoy me. But with wolf by wolf, it just worked. Finding out how Yael got to where she is, the story behind her wolves, it was all very intriguing. 

Overall, Wolf by Wolf was a fabulous novel and I can't believe it's taken me this long to realise it? This long to finally pick it up? I'm truly disappointed with myself. But not with the book! 4 stars.

buy the book }


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Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin
Wolf by Wolf, book 2
Published November 1, 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
e-ARC provided by Edelweiss
There would be blood. Blood for blood. Blood to pay. An entire world of it.

For the resistance in the Third Reich, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun. Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against Hitler’s army, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But in the midst of the chaos, Yael’s past and future collide when she comes face to face with a ghost from her past, and a spark with a fellow rider begins to grow into something more. Dark secrets reveal dark truths and one question hangs over them all—how far can you go for the ones you love?

♫ ♫ ♫ ♪

I've cried off this novel. I'm not normally a crier. Usually it lasts minutes and then I forget about it and move on. 

Not with this book. Ohhh boy, not with this book. It's been two weeks, if not more, since I've read the book, and I'm still not okay. 

Blood for Blood, in a few ways, is both better and not as good as its predecessor. I can say I liked this one more for a few concrete reasons, but at the same time, several things about it annoyed me. 

Blood for Blood is told through three points of view—Yael, Luka, and Felix—whereas Wolf by Wolf was told by only Yael's. While I liked this change, I hated that Felix was one of the main points of view—I never liked him in book one and, if anything, he got worse and more annoying on book two. But with the addition of Luka, the book was much more interesting. He was a truly funny and overall enjoyable character! 

It also had more romance! Book one didn't have all that much, only towards the end—but even then, it wasn't really about feelings growing. Blood for Blood changed that and the romantic in me actually liked it, especially how conflicted Luka especially was, and how often those feelings arose. I love Luka and I love him and Yael together so much! Both have come long ways and they deserve so much more! 


One of the things that bothered me was the before chapters. Wolf by Wolf had this too, but it was well thought out and went with the story. In Blood for Blood, I didn't really understand why they were included. They felt clunky with the overall course the story was going and honestly? It was a hindrance, especially with Felix's past. And I'm probably just being bitter since I hate him but still. 

Another thing that bothered me was Yael's character... I liked her playing as Adele but Yael being Yael was kind of off for me... I didn't expect her to trust Luka and Felix so quickly—for multiple reasons! Luka drugged her and she betrayed Felix and hurt him physically a couple of times. It was weird she thought he was okay with that or that he didn't trust her, but she continued to trust and protect him? I felt Yael should have been more cautious. 

I didn't like that ending. In fact, I hate it. I think it was unfair and I have no idea why that was done, and there's only so much I can say about it. I will always be bitter and heartbroken over it, mark my words. 

Overall, an okay sequel but it didn't feel as magical as book one. 3.5 stars!

buy the book }

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about the author }

Ryan Graudin is the author of six young adult novels, including the Carnegie nominated Wolf By Wolf duology, Invictus and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at www.ryangraudin.com.

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