The surprising thing is.... normally, books like this would completely deter me. I'm not a massive fan of historical fiction, sequels following a revolution/resistance or slow burning romances. But, for some reason, I absolutely adore them in this sequel and it creates what I can safely say is my favourite ever duology (I know duologies are pretty rare but still...).
This series is set in alternate history world- one where Hitler won the war and has been ruling for ten years. In the first book, Yael played an important part of the resistance and began her mission to get close to Hitler in order to assassinate him. Yael is a kick-ass protagonist and following her though these books and seeing her character development is so rewarding- but devastating at times. Don't even get me started on the end of this book... the tears are still falling (I cried for a solid hour when reading this sequel).
This alternate history series has a cool twist of magical realism threaded throughout which makes it so much more gripping and intense and I recommend everyone to read it.
Wolf by Wolf- Ryan Graudin BOOK TALK
SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEADI really loved the sporadic flashbacks following our three main characters, Yael, Luka and Felix (who was very much a bigger character than I ever thought he'd be).
The first flashback consisted of previous Christmas Eves.
The initial impression I got from the real Adele was that she was a selfish a spoilt bitch. She's so self-centred, just taking Felix's gift without any hesitation or thanks! Felix was a sweetheart (my opinion skewed as the book went on, though) and I couldn't believe how much he would sacrifice for such a selfish sister,
And my poor baby Luka! He was thrown out by his dad on Christmas Eve! I loved the insight into their previous lives and how that moulded them into the people they were.
I was all ready for Yael's past Christmas Eve to be the worst and... she was shot at. That's a pretty lousy Christmas.
I was so happy that we got to see in different perspectives and I swooned when reading everything from Luka. I was so happy that he was in love with not-Adele and I was so happy that he followed her when she fled from the building! I was worried that he'd lose her and wouldn't find her for ages. Or that he'd meet Yael and have no idea that they'd already shared so much with each other without him knowing their true past. He took the skin-shifting thing pretty well and I was so giddy when he already knew the true Yael- counting on her heart to help him and not abandon him. I thought he'd be a bit more bewildered to find out that Adele wasn't really Adele through the whole race but... he took it pretty well. Oh, my beautiful ship!!!
And of course, Luka instantly goes and gets them caught. Bless Yael for going back for him... though it was obvious she would. I loved seeing Luka's perspective so much because I was hooked on his reaction to everything about Yael- what her name was, admiring how she came back for him, in awe of her withstanding torture. I needed this viewpoint in my life and Graudin delivered.
From here, we first get introduced to the downfall of Felix Wolfe- what a bumpy road that one was. I honestly thought he wouldn't go through with it- I thought he'd change his mind as he got to know and forgave Yael. From Wolf by Wolf and the beginning of this book, I always thought the world of Felix- he was a sweetheart that did so much for his family. But I really grew to despise him in this book and it killed me.
The second round of flashbacks came and they were just as hard-hitting! It was all about Aaron-Klaus and where the other characters were when he killed Hitler and then himself. These flashbacks really just confirmed what I already thought and felt; Adele's a stupid brat, Luka is a rebelious beauty and I love him and Yael is a poor girl and her painful past makes me so sorry for her.
Felix, Luka and Yael go on their little sky-diving escapade and damn, they nurture the deceitful traitor Felix. If they'd abandoned Felix, they may've been just fine and Luka may not be.... nope. I'm not ready to accept that yet.
But compassionate Yael just has to lug Felix along.
I loved the Red Riding Hood feel when Yael skin-shifted into the grandmother....what strange company you keep grandmother....what strange clothes you wear grandmother. Brilliant!
I freaking cheered when Miriam came on! Miriam!!! We never got justification that Miriam survived or not and I loved that she was back!
We had mission to try and collect some information on the doppelganger project from Dr Geyer. I liked how it was a little 'Girls Only' mission as it was awesome to see Miriam and Yael kicking ass like the warriors they are!
I don't know what information I was expecting them to get but... I'd kind of already assumed that there were more Hitler doubles. It seemed logical enough but I understand their plans completely to expose the project for what it really was.
We had a third set of flashbacks and the only one I truly cared about was Luka's perspective. We got a little snippet as to his and Adele's journey during the motorcycle race last year and.... Luka why the hell were you so gullible? It was adorable how smitten he was over her but... he needs to gets over that bitch.
Felix decided to call and essentially snitch on what Miriam and Yael were doing and from then... I had a niggling feeling that Himmler and co. were tricking him by using doppelgangers to pretend to be his mum and dad in captivity. But Felix is an idiot and does it anyway despite the reassurance that Yael provides by saying that his family is safe. It's basically their word against Yael's and Felix obviously doesn't trust her as much as the people who tortured him...
So when the girls broke into the office, found their information and had a narrow escape, I knew Luka would bare the brunt of Miriam's suspicions because Miriam has never liked him. I was seriously fearing for Luka's life at this point!
I can't believe that they questioned Luka all detective like and I was even more surprised when that slick idiot Felix managed to get through it! If he hadn't taken those damn drugs then maybe the ending wouldn't have happened!!!! I will always blame Felix for the ending.
All throughout the book I loved the little moments between Luka and Yael- I've been shipping them since the beginning of the first book! I like how they had a nice banter but had such a deeper connection underneath the flirting.
And the heart to heart talk they had was perfect- the cherry on the cake being that Yael could finally skin-shift into herself as she'd found a picture. And when Luka said it was her best face yet.... the feels!!
We had a bit of hard trek back to the resistance headquarters and I almost cried when Henryka and Yael reunited! We don't see the growth of their bond but we know that they're like a mother and daughter to each other so seeing them both safe and together was a beautiful moment.
And then we had the event that I'd been low-key waiting for this entire book! Adele.
I couldn't wait to see the awkward reunion of Adele and Luka interacting with everything having changed between them. And Yael having pretended to be her.... I was super excited for these conversations.
I stand by my opinion that Adele is a spoilt brat.
It wasn't long before Adele had a little conversation with Luka and.... it made my heart so happy! Just the way that he brushed her off so quickly and went straight to Yael's side as he realised that he loves her. The long wait was totally worth it.
Because then we had their little love declaration and Yael saying that she lied at the ball in saying that she could never love him and then they kissed.... it was beautiful.
And, of course, the couple can't enjoy their newly found love can they? Because an attack always happens halfway through a kiss in fiction!! I could've killed Felix right then and there and I hadn't even read the heart-shattering ending yet!
I kinda liked how Yael broke a bit during the attack. Yael has totally been on top of her shit through this entire book, constantly saving Luka and the others so its refreshing to see her cry, lose it and have Luka be the one to reassure her and keep her safe- it highlights how genuine his feelings are for her through his actions.
I couldn't believe that Henryka died! My heart was breaking for Yael- for another wolf that was no doubt going to appear on her arm. But, the joke was on me because I thought that Henryka's death was the full of it- that her death was going to be the only tear-jerking experience in this book. Little did I know...
Throughout this book, I've really appreciated the beauty of the word 'more' associated with Luka- the idea threaded through the entirety of the story. And when Yael told him that he'd decided to be more.... my heart soared. She just gave him the best compliment he could ever receive and more is my new favourite descriptor- it's so simple but so profound.
I was so happy when Miriam deliberately screwed up the counter-phrase over the communications! It brilliantly alerted everyone that they'd been infiltrated without them even knowing!! Take that, Felix, you think you're so clever now?!?
Luka and Yael went off to play it solo and fight everyone themselves. I know they didn't expect to get out of it alive but... I'm totally the type of person who wishes that they'd both died together than only one of them dying and leaving the other to grieve through life alone.
I felt so victorious when we found out that Aaron-Klaus had actually killed the real Hitler and that all the others since had been fakes. Aaron-Klaus didn't die for nothing and it felt so good!! Himmler was the one that was controlling the fake Hitlers.
I love that Luka was the one to figure it all out (not just a pretty face, am I right?). He proved how smart and loyal he really is- showing such growth and depth in his character. I felt so much love and pride for him in that moment.
Luka's death broke me. It pains me to even type these words.
I had sixty pages still to read after Luka's death and I cried through every single word (it was difficult because the tears made my eyes super blurry). Luka should not have died! I feel like we came such a long way and all my hopes were shot through the chest! Luka was my favourite character in this series- he grew so much and it feels like it was all for nothing! I've seriously grieved his character and, if I may be so bold, have to say that this is the worst character's death I've ever been through- I grieved him like it was me that lost him and not Yael.
My heart sure hurt for a long time after reading this. It still is...
I wanted Felix dead. Seriously. I lost all my love for him and I really wished that Yael had killed him (though, that probably would've screwed her up). Felix sure as hell didn't deserve a happy ending, though! Not when Luka didn't!
Six wolves and a lion. As soon as she mentioned Luka as being the lion, it fit so well in my head. Luka was totally a lion!
I've always wanted a tattoo when I'm older and I'd probably have book related ones. I'll probably have a quote and then little symbols around it, representing some of my favourite books. I'd of course have The Night Court symbol from my favourite ever book A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas but this book seriously has me thinking about getting a wolf and lion- I'd love to honour these characters and how much they mean to me and inspire.
I like this design I found of the lion and wolf. Who knows? It may be inked on my skin one day along with my favourite quote 'she reads book as one would breath air; to fill up and live'.
Thank for reading! Feel free to comment your thoughts! Stay amazing!