Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: Wolf By Wolf

Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Source: Book Expo America
Date Read: 6/6/15 to 6/7/15
400 pages
Rating: 1/2 

Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.

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?

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So, I read Wolf by Wolf awhile ago, and I'm going to be honest I do remember some of that, but that's pretty much it. And then I gave my copy away, and now that's that. Whoops. Let's see how I do~ 

Wolf by Wolf is not really a book I would read, seeing as it is about motorcycles, which I'm not too interested in. But let's be honest, put Code Name Verity in your blurb, have the story set during WWII, and I'm down. Let's not forget the fact that this is a reimagined WWII story. GOLD.

Yael has a personal vendetta against Hitler, especially after surviving and escaping a death camp. Which is why her one goal is to kill him. But since he's so well protected (after winning WWII and such), the only why she can do this is by 1) impersonating Adele Wolfe and 2) winning the motorcycle race that is basically like The Hunger Games, but for countries. And it doesn't involve too much killing. But it can, apparently.

Now you may ask, how can Yael impersonate someone who looks nothing like her? EASY. She has superhuman, shapeshifting powers! All due to human experimentation in the death/concentration camp. Actually, I was surprised at the route the book took. I was not expecting there to be science fiction intertwined with this dystopian. So that was a plus. 

Unfortunately, the positives end there. As much as I didn't mind the story, neither the plot nor the characters left an impact on me. And without that, the novel wasn't as memorable. (Though what was I expecting, nothing can top Elizabeth Wein's novels). I didn't feel much for Yael, or the side characters for that matter. I also felt that she was a little too much of a prodigy. First she's a shapeshifter, and suddenly she has mastered motorcycle riding (in a matter of months). It just felt unreal. It also doesn't help that there are two guys, but apparently it is not a love triangle because 1) Yael is imitating Adele and Felix thinks that she is really Adele, who is his sister. And 2) Luka is the one who has a thing for Adele. So in theory, it should not be a love triangle. 

And not only that, but the motorcycle race reminded me a little too much of The Hunger Games. Although it didn't include all the gore and monitoring, it had the same idea in that anything could happen. And the fact that Yael is in the middle of the rebellion. Against a dictator. Who hosts a game. Which in this case is a race.

So that will be an interesting turnout. But I'm going to be honest and say I'm planning to not read the sequel. I wasn't all that interested in this first book, and although the story has a lot of potential, it's not really high up on my list. But hey, another WWII book on my read list!
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