Author: Ryan Graudin
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Alternate History
Source: Hachette Australia via NetGalley
Once upon a different time, there was a girl who lived in a kingdom of death. Wolves howled up her arm. A whole pack of them-made of tattoo ink and pain, memory and loss. It was the only thing about her that ever stayed the same.Her story begins on a train.Review by Nara
Germania, 1956. Over ten years since the Nazis won the war. 18-year-old Yael is part of the resistance, and she has just one mission: to kill Hitler.
But first she's got to get close enough to him to do it.
Experimented on during her time at Auschwitz, Yael has the unique ability to change her appearance at will. The only part of her which always remains are the five tattooed wolves on her arm; one for each of the people she's lost. Using her abilities, she must transform into Adele Wolfe, Germany's most famous female rider and winner of the legendary Axis Tour; an epic long distance motorcycle race from Berlin to Tokyo, where only the strongest (and wiliest) riders survive. If she can win this, she will be able to get close enough to kill the Fuhrer and change history forever.
But with other riders sabotaging her chances at every turn, Yael's mission won't be easy. . .
Well that was freaking awesome. Alternate histories really don't get much better than this: just after WWII. The Nazis won the war, and now the world is ruled by two major powers- Germany and Japan. Our main character Yael is a former concentration camp prisoner who was experimented on and now has the power to change her appearance (like a Metamorphmagus basically). She uses this power to pose as a contestant in the "Axis Tour", a motorbike race across Europe and Asia, and get close enough to assassinate Hitler.
The story is told with a main "present" plotline plus a series of flashbacks throughout the novel that illustrate what each wolf in Yael's tattoo (a pack of five wolves to disguise the number brand she received when she was at the concentration camp) symbolises. The flashbacks are so fantastically done. With each wolf revealed, we see more of Yael's past and how she came to be how she is today. We see all that her entire life has built up to, how important it is to her to be able to fulfill her mission and exactly why she's willing to give up so much to achieve her goals.
Also, can we just...FELIX. He's the sister of the person that Yael is posing as, and dayum. He's such a sympathetic character and you can't help but love him for the loyalty he shows to his "sister". Seriously, all the feels. He better be in the next book.
To be completely honest, the ending was a kind of predictable considering that this book is a series, but I can appreciate that it actually would've been much more of a shock had I thought the book was a standalone. So in terms of predictability....I'm kind of on the fence? The twist didn't really have that huge an impact on my overall opinion of the awesomeness of the book, in any case.
I'm definitely going to be continuing with this series, with its fantastic protagonist and well developed supporting characters. And it's one that I will definitely recommend to any fan of historical novels.
Really liked itRatings
World Building: 4/5