Book Review: Blood for Blood – Ryan Graudin

blood-for-blood-ryan-graudin-book-review

Title: Blood for Blood (2016)
Series: Wolf by Wolf – Book 2
Author: Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Extent: 496 pages
Release Date: October 6, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Description

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?

Review

Blood for Blood is likely one of my most anticipated releases of the year — I freakin’ loved Wolf by Wolf from start to finish and that book was in fact one of my rare five-star reads. I was really, really worried that the sequel wouldn’t live up to expectations… but I’ll tell you now: it really did. This review will contain spoilers for Wolf by Wolf, so please tread with caution.

Blood for Blood picks up right at the end of Wolf by Wolf, after skinshifter Yael has shot Adolf Hitler and is now on the run. Like the first book, it jumps back-and-forth from past to present and back, delving into important historical days and how Yael, Luka and Felix each lived on those days. No single scene felt like a waste, as each and every one of them revealed something new.

Was it really so surprising that Yael was nothing like the slurs Luka’s father/teacher/Fuhrer spewed? That out of all the souls Luka had ever come across, hers was one of the brightest? It held the bravery of one hundred Iron Crosses, melted down and forged into something purer — a courage not corroded by cruelty.

I love the characters in this book — I loved them in WBW and I loved them here. Yael might be the main main character, but both Luka and Felix played large roles. As usual, Yael was the shining star: strong and determined and heedlessly kind and trusting, and Felix his obstinate, protective self. But it was Luka, brash and impulsive and only occasionally vulnerable Luka, who I especially loved. His ability to see humour in every situation made the hopelessness of the situation slightly more bearable, and I think he was a bright spot in a sea of futility.

Graudin didn’t pull punches when it comes to illustrating the realities of war. This book was intense — it was brutal, sad, violent, and sometimes uncomfortable to read. I fell into the book so much that even when I put it down, I found myself unable to immediately shake off the heartbreak and hopelessness.

“Fear is not an excuse,” Yael told him. “Fear is being human.”

Truthfully, there’s not much about this book that I don’t like. The plot kept me guessing, even until the last minute. There were moments when I genuinely feared for the characters and saw no way for them to get out of a bad situation. The tension was great, building up when it should. If I had one criticism, it was mostly that I didn’t get to see Adele as much as I wanted to… but honestly, everything else was great, I didn’t mind that much.

My final words are: what a story, you guys. What an absolutely gripping, thrilling, heartbreaking story this series was, and I have no doubt that I’d be thinking about it again and again and again in the future. If you haven’t picked it up yet, you’re missing out on something truly great.

* I received a copy of BLOOD FOR BLOOD from Hachette Australia for review. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book.


Interested in purchasing Blood for Blood? ❤

Amazon | Book Depository | Booktopia | Hachette Australia

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33 thoughts on “Book Review: Blood for Blood – Ryan Graudin

  1. Yes to everything !!!! I just finished the book and am 100% behind everything you said. Also, I’m destroyed and heartbroken and I need help to get over what happened, if you know what I’m talking about 😭😭 And the hangover is real, the book is to damn brilliant !

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  2. I absolutely loved Wolf by Wolf, but I’ve seen so many people say that the ending of Blood for Blood was completely devastating that I’m almost scared to pick it up! I guess some books are worth the heartache, though, and it sounds like this might be one of them.

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    • I personally feel like the ending is a good ending (though I have my emotional reaction to it) and definitely worth the heartache! I hope you pick up BFB soon – I was blown away and I still can’t stop thinking about it. 💕

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  3. EEEEeeeAAAKKK. There is so much excitement I have for this book I CANNOT CONTAIN IT. And then I read your review and i can’t even breathe I JUST NEED TO READ BLOOD FOR BLOOD. You’re too cruellll!! Thankfully it should arrive on my doorstep in 2 days so phewww. Now the only problem is remembering what hecking happened in Wolf by Wolf…

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    • YEEES READ IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN! I thought that was going to be a problem too since it’s been a while since I read Wolf by Wolf, but I didn’t find that to be the case – you can go straight into it, I think. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 💖

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  4. This is probably the best concluding novel I have ever read. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. I completely agree when you say she didn’t pull any punches when it came to describing the realities of war, this is something I personally adore about the books!

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    • I agree! I’m really glad she didn’t add on like a third book and make it a trilogy – I feel like the pacing is perfect like this, and extending it would make the story perhaps less impactful? But yeah, I really adore this series and it’s probably one of my favourites ever. Just so heartbreaking but also hopeful, in its own way. 💕

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  5. Reg I am so so glad you enjoyed this book, and it got five stars from you as well so I know you must have found it an amazing read too!
    Blood for Blood was one of my most anticipated reads as well, ever since I finished Wolf by Wolf I’ve been desperate to know how everything ends and this book exceeded even y highest expectations. Luka was definitely my favourite character in this one as well, he became so much more than the Victor we saw in the first book and his development was wonderful to read.
    This book literally destroyed me though (oh my god that ending) but yeah it was definitely an amazing book. Great review as well! 😀

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    • I think Luka developed the most – we know he’s got a bit of a rebellious streak in him since we saw that in WBW, but in this book he really surpassed my expectations. And those sweet, small moments between him and Yael… truly break my heart. 💔

      I can’t wait for what else Ryan Graudin has in store for us! Have you read The Walled City? I heard it’s not this good, but I love Graudin’s writing style and don’t think I would mind even a less-than-stellar plot bc it’s just amazing.

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  6. I completely agree! This is such a fantastic duology and it’s such a shame it’s not more popular. But I’m glad you loved this as much as I did! As heartbreaking as it was, it really was the perfect ending to the series. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

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    • It was definitely a different kind of book/plot structure because of that! I found it more… serious and sombre? Like WBW was already pretty sombre but it was also “fun” (i.e. the race is fun), but in BFB the stakes are much higher and everything is a lot more depressing. 😅

      And I know! Me too. 😭

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