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
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?
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? ❤