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 fr . . . more
HISTORY IS REVIVED to magnificent effects in this moving and haunting novel. Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf shines a light on one of the darkest, most terrifying chapters in our past and spins a remarkable tale of an alternate history. The what-if’s set in motion by one courageous girl—Yael Adele— had me racing along, and rooting for her to change history as we know it: Win the Axis Tour. Assassinate Hitler.
Or Die Trying.
Graudin’s writing is very lyrical. There is a musicality to her prose that is quite rhythmic—like a song, like a chant. The playful effects of typefaces and font sizes — faint, fainter, faintest — are so successful in enhancing the story. I know most people won’t look twice at this, but as a designer I enjoy and appreciate the extra attention to these details.
The characters are written so well. They possess qualities that I genuinely thrive on: strength through struggle, flawed not foolish, and an overall “moreness.” Yael is an impersonator, resistance conspirator, black-market scoundrel—a secret weapon. “You are special. You are going to change things.” My fondness for Yael grows with every flashback that the author takes me on, and I had this aching need to hug her. She is an incredible story of fortitude, identity, and destiny.
As Yael sets her eyes on winning the Axis Tour, twenty contestants stand in her path. My favorites among them are Luka, an ally and romantic interest who is as charismatic as he is deadly; Felix, her brother and wild card; and Katsu, who will stop at nothing to win the coveted and illusive Axis Tour Double Cross. These characters have an overall “moreness” that was never boring. I was questioning their motives and loyalty until the end.
I followed along with them on a mad dash from Germainia to Tokyo, covering 39,731,284 kilometers (okay, it was actually 20,780…still). The bit of sabotaging between the competitors breaks the monotony of the race, but each incident resolved itself fairly quickly. Personally, I’m really not fond of dirt-bike racing, so I ended up skimming those parts; however, I did gain a greater appreciation for it. Thank you Mr. David (supportive husband) for taking Ms. Graudin off road on a surprise dirt-bike date. I’m sure it is because of this experience that I was able to feel the bumps and bruises, aches and soreness, as Yael led me to an exciting climax that unraveled at lightning speed, leaving me with a burning need for the sequel—Blood for Blood. Is November here yet? No. Oh Scheisse!