Sunday, 20 December 2015

'Wolf By Wolf' by Ryan Graudin (*****)

Hello readers, and a Merry Christmas to you! Can you believe there are only five days to go? And what better way to kick off this Christmas reading season than with a five star review?! I have been a huge fan of Ryan Graudin and her novel The Walled City for a good few years now, so when I found out that she was releasing a new book I couldn’t be more excited! Luckily for me Orion knew that I was a super fan and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Ryan’s blogger’s tea- where she introduced Wolf By Wolf to us UK readers! I devoured the whole book as soon as I got home but unfortunately I couldn’t publicise my reading on Goodreads, twitter or this blog, as it was all very top secret. However, now having re-read the book and loving it just as much as I did the first time, I am now able to share my thoughts with you!

I was kindly given Wolf By Wolf by Orion in exchange for an honest review :)

Wolf By Wolf is an absolutely fantastic book set in the years after WWII, imagining a world where the allies are destroyed and the Third Reich emerge triumphant. All the horrors of the Nazi regime are still very much a reality and the nightmare continues for almost the whole of the world the Nazis have occupied. Intrigued? Read the blurb…

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?

As soon as I heard Ryan read the first few words of the novel at the blogger tea, I was hooked. Alternate history is such a fascinating area of thought and whenever I was taught about World War II at school I couldn’t help wondering how the world would have turned out if Britain hadn’t have won, and the Nazis had carried out their sickening, nightmarish plans for the world. Ryan Graudin does a superb job at imagining this world. Wolf By Wolf is a fantastic imagination of what the world would look like, feel like, be like, if the lingering sense of hopelessness, fear and hatred was still present with the Third Reich ruling the world. Out of this world, however, seemingly without goodness or hope for a better future, comes the Resistance, a movement with one aim: to kill Adolf Hitler and bring the domination of the world by the Axis to a violent and permanent end. And it seems all the more fitting that the person responsible for executing this mission is a strong, resilient female character: Yael. 

By far, the most poignant thing that stuck out for me about this novel was Yael. Apart from the protagonist Jin in The Walled City, I don’t think I have ever come across such a stronger female character in YA. She was such an interesting person to read about, and I as the reader was allowed into her world and given access to all of her imperfections and flaws, which just made her seem all the more realistic. Uncommon for an alternate history or dystopian story: Graudin’s world and characters are hauntingly realistic and believable.  The plot was perfectly crafted and I was gripped throughout; there was not a single moment where I was bored, or where I knew what was going to happen. The plot twists and small revelations about the characters kept me interested and shocked, and that is the mark of an outstanding storyteller. Not only is the world Graudin creates in Wolf By Wolf believable, but her method of storytelling is simply infallible in its execution. 

I adored Wolf By Wolf, and can’t wait for what Graudin produces next. She is without question one of the best YA writers out there, and I hope that she continues writing books as exceptional as two of my now favourite books of all time: The Walled City and Wolf By Wolf. If you haven’t read either of these, do yourself a favour and go and pick one up. Believe me, you won’t regret it.

Check out the Wolf by Wolf cover reveal and blogger's tea here

Check out Ryan's last takeover of Delightful Book Reviews here

Check out my review of The Walled City here

Check out Ryan Graudin here

Buy Wolf by Wolf here

Until next time :)

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