I wasn’t prepared for BLOOD FOR BLOOD. I mean, I was, since I’d been looking forward to it after reading WOLF BY WOLF over the summer. But like with Leigh Bardugo’s CROOKED KINGDOM, the sequel floored me more than the first book did. I loved it. That. Much.
Ryan Graudin’s BLOOD FOR BLOOD picks up right where WOLF BY WOLF left off, with Jewish death camp survivor and skinshifter Yael on the run after killing Adolf Hitler. Or, at least that’s what the rest of the world thought they witnessed. Because the truth that Yael discovered from this one act now threatens the resistance effort’s chances of overthrowing the Third Reich. With unlikely sidekicks in Luka Lowe (Axis Tour winner) and Felix Wolfe (twin brother of the girl whom Yael skinshifted as in WOLF BY WOLF), she now returns to Germany to finish the job she started – and she’s under no illusion that it might cost her her life.
BLOOD FOR BLOOD outdoes its predecessor in the ways that count most. The stakes are higher, the plot even more suspense-riddled, and the twists unexpected. But it also features many of the same ingredients that made WOLF BY WOLF a vicious delight. The re-imagined post-WWII settings are still sobering and grimly realistic. Graudin’s writing is still punchy and vivid. And Yael, though damaged and vulnerable, is still brave and inspiring. If anything, she maintains better control of her emotions this time and is more certain of herself than ever before.
So why did I love BLOOD FOR BLOOD more? Because I like Luka much more this time. He still seems like a cocky dummkopf at the beginning, but once I read his POV chapters I realized that was all a façade. This poor guy was a reluctant poster boy of the Third Reich who suffered verbal and physical abuse at the hands of his wounded veteran father. Luka desperately wants to do something better with his life, something he believes in and can stand for. And once he’s folded into the resistance’s protection and learns what happened to Yael before they met, he does.
And then there’s Felix. He’s still the caring, fiercely loyal brother-anyone-would-love-to-have that he was in WOLF BY WOLF. But gosh, he’s pushed to his emotional brink this time and forced to make some terrible decisions. And during his POV chapters, you can feel the twist and burn of his anger, fear, and despair. He may have disappointed me at times, but I understand why he did what he did – and I feel sorry for him, too.
No critiques this time. In fact, BLOOD FOR BLOOD was such an absorbing read that I lost track of the time and pages within the first 50 pages. This is by far the superior book in a gutsy, gripping, and ultimately hopeful and deeply human duology, and it will probably stay with me for a while longer. Bravo, Ryan Graudin. :)
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Orion Children's Books; 1 edition (11 July 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1780622066
- ISBN-13: 978-1780622064
- Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3.2 x 20 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 399 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)