For What It's Worth

Monday, October 2, 2017

monday minis: wolf by wolf duology by ryan graudin






24807186Wolf by Wolf #1

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? ~
Goodreads

Source: ARC’s provided via BEA in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts: I’ve had this duology on my shelf for years. *hangs head in shame* but I finally got to it!

Wolf by Wolf is wildly inventive. Alternative history WWII, mixed with a high stakes motorcycle race, skin shifters and an assassination plot keep readers constantly on their toes.

I enjoyed it but once you get past the dynamic setting – it’s still the same old – young kick ass girl, Yael, out to seek revenge only to get derailed by the hot, arrogant boy with depth behind those eyes and a softening towards people she shouldn't be getting soft towards. (Note: see more about the romance aspect in the review for book #2 – I changed my mind about it lol)

Yael wears the 5 tattoos of wolves on her arm as a constant reminder of her past and of her mission to avenge the 5 lives taken from her by Hitler. The story flashes back and forth between the stories of how she lost those she loved and then to her current situation of the bike race which she has to win in order to get close enough to assassinate Hitler.. The things that were done to her and the horror's she's been through were heartbreaking.

I don’t know if it’s my age or a result of how much I read but I’m growing really weary of books that mix too many things – especially important things like genocide – into one plot. It’s very hard for me to shift from torture... to race!, cute boy! assassination! even thought he author did an excellent job of weaving those together.

I would have much rather this book focused on Yael, a skin shifter that can assume anyone’s face, and Felix, whose twin sister Adele, Yael is masquerading as now. That’s a pretty complex situation in itself combined with the motorcycle race that she must win to face Hitler in person so adding a romance? Even thought it was a subtle romance...eh. But I think most people will really enjoy this book.



26864835 (1)Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf #2)

*Spoiler if you haven’t read book #1 this might be a spoiler – highlight if you would like to see the blurb


Highlight -> 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?
~
Goodreads

Source: ARC’s provided via BEA in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts: I’ll try to stay spoiler free here – I saw that a lot of readers were disappointed in Blood by Blood but I actually liked it more than Wolf by Wolf. The adrenaline rush of the motorcycle race is gone so it is less action packed than it’s predecessor but the moral and ethical decisions the characters are forced to make more than made up for it in my opinion. In fact, I live for that stuff so I was a happy camper reading this one.

I also enjoyed the romance between Yael and Luka more here. This is no longer about passing appreciative glances and flirting. It’s now about life and death, pulling back the veil on atrocities and deciding what you’re willing to put on the line for those you love. Their relationship and choices matched the severity of the subject matter whereas I didn’t feel that was the case in Wolf by Wolf.

In Blood by Blood, characters are flawed, blood is spilled and a HEA, might not be how we traditionally define it but everything that happened felt true to me and the situation and felt hopeful. I can see why some were not happy though.

25 comments:

  1. I really loved both of these. I do think Blood for Blood was a bit more intriguing - it had a lot of layers!

    -lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Wolf by Wolf was definitely the action packed of the two but I liked the moral implications of the second one more.

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  2. This is usually my usual read but sounds like a decent read. Awesome review Karen :)

    Vanessa @ Blushing Geek

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    1. It is different and has a lot going on so I would say give it a try Vanessa.

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  3. Liked the first book even though it's so not my kind of book. But I feel like I waited too long to pick up the second book. I remember motorcycles. Shape shifting? Okay, and I still want to do my "Does YA need romance" post. Soon.
    Jen Ryland

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    1. Honestly, you don't need to remember much. it's such a different book from the first. You just need to know the premise and characters.

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    2. And in this case - I thought the romance (in the second book) served a purpose and was written well.

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  4. Having somewhat sickened myself of novels which featured paranormal characters whether they be vampires, zombies or, yes, even shape/skin shifters I find myself oddly attracted to this book. Thank you for featuring it.

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    1. This isn't really paranormal in the way you're thinking. It does have that element because of the skin shifting but it's not a paranormal novel exactly.

      I think this might be one that you would enjoy even though our tastes in books doesn't usually crossover much :-)

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  5. Sounds like I would like the 2nd book better as well. Not sure either are super appealing to me though. I agree with you about authors sometimes weaving too much into a single storyline.

    PS. Do you watch Man in the High Castle?

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    1. I have and this book is very much like that.

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  6. Yes I do like any sort of alternate history

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    1. I think you might like this one. Especially the first book. I'm surprised you haven't read it yet.

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  7. Happy to hear you enjoyed this duology despite having a lot going on in book one. I do love a kick ass heroine so I'll have to check this series out. Wonderful review! :)

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    1. It's just a personal preference that I don't like too many things in one but it was done well.

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  8. Replies
    1. If you're looking for something a little different this is a good one to try.

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  9. I've seen this books around but honestly had no idea what they were about. Totally intrigued now though.

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    1. It's a very cool take on the subject even if it wasn't entirely for me.

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  10. I really want to read this series because I enjoyed Invictus but I'm sad to hear that it falls to the usual cliches. Invictus kind of had the same layout where a lot was happening at once so I'm wondering if I'd like it or be exhausted by it in Wolf By Wolf.

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    1. I wouldn't say there were cliches so much as a cross genre blend that just didn't work for me.

      I will say that it didn't feel like a typical YA - meaning that the gravity of the situation wasn't dulled because of the romance etc. It's just hard for me to jump around with things that are that serious.

      Honestly, I think you would like it Amber.

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  11. Never heard of these books before, but they do sound intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It's a really different type of series if you're up for it.

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  12. I haven't read any alternate realities but it sounds unique.

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  13. I've still not finished this duology (also hangs head in shame) but I really enjoyed it. I felt like it was a little more original than usual YAs but since I've skipped your Blood for Blood review to avoid all possible spoilers I will just have to read and see how the second one goes. I just thought it was a really cool premise for a book I would have avoided as I usually avoid war books.

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