Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Ya-el is part of the resistance working to bring down Hitler after he and the Axis powers won World War II.  Now, in 1956, Germania encompasses all of what was Europe and Africa while Emperor Hirohito rules Asia.  After several assassination attempts, Hitler is never seen in public anymore.  The only exception is at the ball following the Axis motorcycle race that covers thousands of kilometers and three continents.  The winner the previous year was an Aryan girl named Adele Wolf who so captivated Hitler that he danced with her at the ball.  Now Ya-el's mission is to take Adele's identity and win the race so she will have the chance to assassinate Hitler at the victor's ball.  Looking like Adele is easy since Ya-el can shape shift and look like anyone she wants as a result of the experiments done on her while she was in a concentration camp.  But acting like Adele turns out to be harder then she expected when Adele's brother also enters the race and another competitor makes it clear that he and Adele had some sort of relationship the previous year.  Ya-el needs to keep everyone fooled while battling to win the race.

I had hear great things about this book but was feeling a little iffy because what do I care about motorcycle races?  Turns out, I do care.  The action kept moving without focusing too much on the mechanics of a motorcycle, turning instead to the relationships of the racers.  Flashbacks show us Ya-el's life in the camp and the people she meets after escaping who drive her to complete her mission.  Life on the road is filled with peril including mechanical breakdowns, kidnappers, and poisoned food.  I really enjoyed this unique story which ended neatly enough for me to be satisfied while still indicating that there might be a sequel.