Format: Hardcover, 481 pages
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
There would be blood. Blood for blood. Blood to pay. An entire world of it.For the resistance in the Third Reich, 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 Hitler’s army, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.
But in the midst of the chaos, Yael’s past and future collide when she comes face to face with a ghost from her past, and a spark with a fellow rider begins to grow into something more. Dark secrets reveal dark truths and one question hangs over them all—how far can you go for the ones you love?
“There will be blood. There will be more than enough. The world is about to drown in it.”
Blood for Blood is the second and final installment in author Ryan Graudin's Wolf by Wolf series. Welcome to 1956 Germany, where Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich won World War II, and now control Europa, Asia, and North Africa.
Hitler has a yearly race called the Axis Tour, which travels from Germania, to Japan. It is dangerous. It is not for the faint of heart. And, people do tend to die rather gruesomely. In the end, the winner gets to meet the hated Hitler in Tokyo, and become yet another propaganda tool for the Third Reich.
Blood for Blood picks up right where Wolf by Wolf left off. Jael Reider has done the impossible. She shot Hitler. Now, she is on the run hoping to escape those who are sure to follow her. At the same time, her resistance allies are putting into plan a brass balls mission to free people from the Third Reich's brutality. Unfortunately for her, someone saw her escape. That person is Luka Wolf. Luka ends up chasing after her, and witnessing her shocking shifting into someone else who is not Adele Wolf. The same Adele he thought he had feelings for. In a series of curiosities, Yael, and Luka are caught, and sent back to Germany along with Felix Wolfe. But, things are about ready to get very interesting so hang on tight to your seats!
In Wolf by Wolf, we met resistance fighter, and concentration camp survivor, Jael Reider. Jael is a survivor of a painful experimental procedure which gives her the ability to skinshift into other people. She can no longer separate her real face, from those she has taken up since escaping when she was 6. Jael used her ability to pose as Adele Wolf and entered the race in hopes of winning. Jael had the unfortunate bad luck of running into Adele's twin brother Felix, who refused to go home, and Luka Lowe, another previous Axis Tour winner who she couldn't shake off even with all her training, and years of preparation.
For those of you who have not read the first book, Jael has 5 wolves tattooed on her arm. Each wolf is a representation of the person who she either lost, or who made her so much stronger. I mention this fact because these 5 wolves make her stand out from all others, even with the face of the person she is pretending to be. Which leads to another ball of wax, and a bunch of spoilers which I won't reveal. This is a tough story to rate, but I settled on what I did mainly because of Yael, and mainly because of the fact that human emotions and actions are not exactly scripted.
Yael had to put her own heritage into hiding to ensure she wasn't taken back to the camps and killed. Her journey has been a painful one at times, especially when she is reunited with someone she truly thought was dead, and they return to the scene where Yael's life was twisted and sculptured into someone else. Yael's relationship with Luka is also an interesting one. She's a Jew who lost everything, and was saved by the resistance. He's been trying to prove to his father that he's worthy of his respect, and also has been used by Hitler's propaganda machine.
My ultimate issue lies with Felix. Poor, Felix. His actions can't be put into words. Even though I can't forgive him, I am not sure if anyone else would have managed to put on a brave face day in and day out while looking at those who respected you, and then....Graudin actually rotates her narratives between three characters. Jael, Luka, and Felix. This book is also separated by flashbacks to key moments in time for all three characters where things happen that eventually lead to all three characters to this moment in time.
Readers can either love, or hate the ending. It is a choice of perspectives. But, I liked it because of the world these characters live in. (Don't get me wrong, there is nothing funny about how Hitler and his fanatics destroyed people's lives, and destroyed generations of families.) I liked it because Graudin doesn't hold back any punches. She puts each characters into hard situations and dares them to prove they are worthy of an encore. I liked it because even though you can most likely guess certain aspects of the story, it still kept me interested right to the very end.