What if Hitler had won the war? Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Monday, 25 April 2016

Wolf by Wolf | Ryan Graudin | Published October 2015
Goodreads | Book Depository

Wolf by Wolf is one of those books that immediately draws me in with the blurb. What would the world be like if Hitler had actually won? What would it be like to still be living in fear of the Nazis? I was so intrigued.

The story started off really slow for me. So slow, in fact, that I almost gave up and moved on to something else. But that intriguing premise nagged at me to keep trying and I'm glad.

Yael is a member of the resistance who are plotting to take down Hitler. Her unique ability to change her appearance - to physically transform into someone else entirely - is the key to being successful. She takes on the form of Adele Wolfe who was last year's winner of the Axis Tour and who Hitler has a soft spot for. All she has to do is win and get close enough to him at the victor's ball.

“There would be no dressing up as a maid. No cyanide slipped into his crystal glass of mineral water. The Fuhrer’s death was to be a loud, screaming thing. A broadcast of blood over the Reichssender.”

One of the things I loved about Wolf by Wolf is the differing landscape. The fact the story takes place during a motorcycle race means that the landscape is always changing. I liked being taken to the different places and learning what those places had become in Hitler's rein. I think this was a great way of giving the reader information on how different countries had been affected by Hitler's winning without it being dumped on us.

I also found it interesting to have Now and Then perspectives in order to discover how Yael acquired her ability and how she came to be in the resistance. If I'm being honest though, I would have liked even more exploration into the concentration camps and the terrible suffering that people were being exposed to in Hitler's rein. Maybe that's a little morbid of me, but I just wanted to know more about what Hitler was doing and how society was struggling rather than being exposed so much to the privileged in the Axis Tour.

There is plenty of action that kept me engrossed to the end and I couldn't wait for Yael to come into direct contact with Hitler. There are little hints of romance but nothing too major yet which I was glad of. I definitely wanted this story to be about Yael's fight for the resistance rather than a romance. The idea to have an element of fantasy (in Yael's skinshifting) combined with a re-imagining of real-life events works pretty well I think and I can't wait to see what happens next.

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