Tuesday, October 11, 2016

[Review] Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf #2) by Ryan Graudin

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf #2
Rating: 5 stars
Version: ARC Paperback
Release Date: November 1st 2016

If there's a gif that sums up how this book made me feel in the end...

I wanted to cry. I just couldn't. I felt so incomplete. This is what duologies do to me - make you want a third book so you can be with the characters once more.

It takes place promptly where Wolf by Wolf left off, after Yael realizes that Hitler isn't exactly Hitler, and she's on her way to make a quick escape... Luckily (or unluckily) for her, she's got someone tailing her. 

Blood for Blood had a different vibe from Wolf by Wolf; with no race involved, and more of a focus on our trio of Yael, Felix, and Luka, I felt like I was able to understand their motivations and characters more. Ryan Graudin did occasional interludes called Three Portraits to flashback to their pasts. This made me connect to Felix and Luka a lot more - while Luka definitely was a charmer, he wasn't a rebel without a cause. And Felix had his reasons for being an arse.

This style of storytelling - alternating between our three protagonists - was effective in showing the effects of the war on all fronts. How families are broken and divided and friendships and trust is torn apart.

For Yael's POV, there were scenes were there was jarring BOLD TEXT that captured the suspense of the situation. It showed how on edge Yael was, how untrusting she was, until a certain Victor won her trust.

The development of their relationship was romantically tragic. This book is full of Yael/Luka scenes, and I'm glad that certain things were settled by the end of the novel. The inclusion of Adele, the real Adele, cemented things much more firmly. While I am glad that we finally got her side/appearance in the story, I'm all for Yael!

But there were so many things swirling through the gap their bodies made - the woodstove's heat, motes of dust kicked up by Felix's struggle, hurts and victories, distrust and kisses. Memories, so many memories, Yael + Luka mixing with the past of Luka + Adele. Gossamer feelings strung between them, as sticking, fragile, complex, and beautiful as a spider's web silvered in morning dew. 

Did this end the way I was expecting? Well, someone once said that not everyone survives in war. Not spoiling it, but the ending was fitting. It was a contently suitable ending for our cast, while not the happiest ending. A realistic one.

Though, I have been thinking of writing fanfiction again just to create the happy ending I've wanted.

Blood for Blood was a marvelous follow-up to Wolf by Wolf. Again, the focus on three characters instead of one may throw readers off, but I found myself connecting more strongly to all of them as a result. I just couldn't cry in the end; I felt so empty aha. This series was amazing, and for a first at alternative historical fiction, an absolute blast to read! I wish there were more alternative history books out there.

I'm looking forward to more books by Ryan Graudin in the future! 

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