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June, 2016: Fantasy > Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin: 4 stars

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message 1: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1545 comments 4 stars
Wolf by Wolf isn't really your traditional fantasy but it was tagged fantasy and clearly has some fantasy elements.

This is a YA book that I decided to read because I picked up the sequel at BEA when I accidentally got trapped in a mob of very enthusiastic fans trying to get the book. I literally fell into the pile of books so I grabbed one. When I realized it was a sequel that I had picked up, and a YA sequel at that, I grumbled about the fact that I now felt compelled to buy the first book.

What a surprise that I actually really enjoyed it. I listened to this book as I had a backlog of audible credits and the narrator was fantastic. So now onto the book.

Wolf by Wolf is an alternate reality book and much like The Man in the High Castle, it based on the premise that Hitler won WWII. The novel's action takes place in 1956 when the Axis powers host the Axis tours (an annual youth motorcycle race across the world) to commemorate their great Victory. The winner of said race gets to meet Adolf Hitler at the Victor's Ball in Tokyo.

Yael is a young woman who was sent to a concentration camp with her family as a young child. When she arrived, she was selected to be part of a science experiment. An unintended side effect of this experiment is that she develops the ability to skin shift - taking on the appearance of any girl or woman. She uses this skill to escape the camp and is later recruited by the resistance to take over the identity of one of the racers, win the race, and kill Hitler.

The book is told in alternating present day and flashbacks so we learn about Yael's experience in the camp while simultaneously following her progress in the race.

I found it to be well written and highly entertaining. Not exactly a new concept (see my mention of Man in the High Castle) in the reimaging of a world in which Hitler won the was and it also reminds me of another book but for the life of me can't remember which one. There's a love interest but it's not the usual sickeningly sweet romantic plot that is seem in many YA books - I suspect that it will be ramped up in later books.

Anyway, it is action filled, with a strong female character who I liked a lot and a solid plot. I liked how the author incorporated the flashbacks into the main plot line. It would make a great movie.


message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6257 comments What a fortuitous discovery. I'm not sure I've ever found a new book in quite the way you described, and if I did, I'm quite sure I wouldn't feel compelled to buy the first book. I'd probably just be highly annoyed!

In the meantime, it does sound pretty interesting. For a fantasy book.


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