Title: Blood for Blood
Author: Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf for Wolf, #2
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Release Date: October 6th 2016
The action-packed, thrilling sequel to Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf.
There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.
For the resistance in 1950s Germany, 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 the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.
But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?
This gripping, thought-provoking sequel to Wolf by Wolf will grab readers by the throat with its cinematic writing, fast-paced action, and relentless twists.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
At the end of Wolf by Wolf Yael thought she’d succeeded in the resistance’s plan to kill the Fuhrer, but the Hitler she shot was not the real Hitler. Instead he was a shapeshifter, like her, part of Experiment 85 which continued long after Yael’s escape from the camp. With no choice but the flee Yael needs time to work out what her next steps will be. When she fired the shot the resistance started moving, unaware Hitler is still alive, but as Yael runs across Tokyo she is not alone.
As the one who invited Yael to the Victor’s ball Luka is well aware that he will be the first person the SS interrogate if she manages to escape. In order to save his own skin Luka follows Yael and prepares to stop her until he sees her change from Adele to an anonymous Japanese citizen, blending into the shadows. Luka doubts anyone will believe his story so with no other option he continues to follow Yael.
However their escape proves to be for nothing as they are quickly caught by an SS patrol. Alongside Felix, who has already been interrogated and told the truth about the fact that Yael took his sister’s face and her place in the race, the three are transported to Germany. But “luck” proves to be on their side and the three manage to escape again, parachuting down to the ground and fleeing across the country in an attempt to make it back to Germany and reunite with the resistance.
Time is quickly running out for the resistance. With Hitler announcing his survival, reinforcing the idea that he is immortal, the resistance find themselves fighting a battle they aren’t ready for. For every country they take another is stolen back, and the fight for Germy is fought street by street. There is only one change, Yael has to finish the mission she started and kill Hitler. But while she can change her face Luka and Felix can’t, and travelling with the two of them paints a very clear target on her back.
Yael has always believed that she was the only shifter, that after she escaped from the camp Experiment 85 ended with her, but after discovering the Hitler she killed was not the real Hitler she is forced to face the fact that a lot more happened in that camp than what she remembers. Yael is unsure what is happening to her people back in Germany’s resistance headquarters, but she needs to get back to them and she is prepared to lead Felix and Luka across Germany to reach her home.
However things are much more dangerous now. The SS know about Yael’s wolf tattoos and as the only thing that doesn’t change when Yael changes her face they mark her as the girl everyone is looking for. Yael doesn’t know much about her Jewish heritage but she pieces parts together in this book, trying to find again the girl who existed before the camp. Her religion is a big part of Yael’s character and it was nice to see it explored more in this book.
Luka becomes so much more than just the Victor in this book. As Blood for Blood was not just told from Yael’s perspective, but Luka’s and Felix’s as well, we learn more about their characters and backgrounds than just what the resistance could tell Yael during the race. Luka acts out in small ways against Hitler’s rule but he’s never done anything as dangerous as tagging along with the resistance. Luka’s main motivation has always been his relationship with his father but the more time he spends with Yael the more he starts questing his own motives. He is scared but faced with what happened to Yael and the other people in Experiment 85 he can no longer bury his head in the sand.
The relationship between Yael and Luka developed a lot more in this book. It started off in Wolf by Wolf but with Yael lying and wearing Adele’s face it was built on false grounds. In Blood for Blood, as Yael and no longer Adele, her and Luka connect on a deeper level sharing their fears and their secrets in ways they never could before. Yael makes Felix a better person, a braver person willing to stand up to Hitler and the SS.
Felix has dedicated his whole life to his sister, especially after the death of their older brother. He has given everything for Adele and he gave everything to Yael thinking she was his sister. Discovering Yael was not really Adele was a massive betrayal for Felix; he no longer likes her, or trusts her, or wants anything to do with her. He can’t forgive her deception but at the same time, with his whole family in danger, he knows the only way forwards is with Yael towards the resistance in Germany.
The setting for Wolf by Wolf was mainly the race and it seemed a world away from the Second World War which ended long before 1950 when this book is set. In Blood for Blood the war seems so much more dangerous; with the resistance fighting back against the SS there is so much more risk of death and destruction for Yael. The path she, Luka and Felix walk, outrunning soldiers and lying their way through the blockades, is terrifying at times. There was a lot of attention paid to the details of the war, everything from Hitler’s reign to the concentration camps and the scientists and experiments performed there. What we see in this book is so much more real and raw than what we saw through Yael’s memories, and it is just heartbreaking to read because this isn’t just fiction but something that happened to so many people.
Wolf by Wolf was a brilliant read but Blood for Blood was so much better. The stakes were a lot higher for Yael now that she can no longer hide behind Adele’s face instead she is forced to be Yael again. There was so much more to all the characters and the story was wonderfully put together; terrifying, adventurous and heartbreaking all at the same time.
What did you think of Blood for Blood? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.