Alternate History, Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Review: Blood for Blood – Ryan Graudin

 

Blood for BloodThere would be blood. Blood for blood. Blood to pay. An entire world of it.

For the resistance in the Third Reich, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun. Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against Hitler’s army, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But in the midst of the chaos, Yael’s past and future collide when she comes face to face with a ghost from her past, and a spark with a fellow rider begins to grow into something more. Dark secrets reveal dark truths and one question hangs over them all—how far can you go for the ones you love?

 

5 stars

Historical Fiction |  Alternate History | Young Adult Fiction

And we are back – can you blame a girl? I absolutely love this duology but when I picked up the sequel I was thinking, ok normally book two won’t outshine book one. Honestly though, let’s just break out the Joey slogan: WHOAH. I think in a lot of ways, Blood for Blood surpassed Wolf by Wolf and yet was it’s equal. Let me explain why before I continue to ramble about absolutely nothing…

Blood for Blood begins at the point, roughly, where Wolf by Wolf ended. Again we are faced with the death mission of Hitler while teaming up with her unlikely group of teammates, Felix and Luka. There is definitely no slowing down either with the ending of Wolf by Wolf. 

Yael is still one of my favorite female leads in a duology; going from point a to point b in the books, as a reader Yael has the best character growth I have read. Up to the end, Yael is beyond an exceptional individual, in Wolf by Wolf it was her walls that she kept up – she was in pain yet she was strong, a force to be reckoned with and yet by Blood for Blood she lives for more than just the mission. Her emotions are a rollercoaster of development, Yael is more in touch with that growth and wants to explore it more than she did previously. This goes without saying it isn’t just the obvious, there is definitely a romance, one that I enjoyed immensely (which could just be me…) but it is also the supporting cast Yael develops compassion for and trust – it is really powerful.

Speaking of the romance, Luka. My swoonage for this character is beyond anything I can describe into words. I absolutely loved his character. There I said it, I am on that bandwagon and I flipping love it. His charisma, his overall personality is just one of my favorites. Even if there wasn’t a romance plunged into the duology, I would still have enjoyed Luka. He is a great character. Along with the other supporting main characters, Felix being the more important to the plot twist (I KNEW IT…. that asshole) and Adele who is now added into the mix more than she was in Wolf by Wolf. I love-loathed Felix so much – not his character in terms of disliking him in the book but his development in Blood for Blood douche-worthy yet justified. His presence is so important to the plot twist that are both earth shattering and absolutely heartbreaking for me. I was prepared for some type of betrayal, some type of climatic end that escalated into a  domino effect, and with good cause, but I was not prepared fully for the outcome. In Blood for Blood he is different, you get a sense of him in this novel, which is why I love-loathe him because he is so conflicted, trying to do the right thing…

Blood for Blood was definitely more about the connections between the cast and less about the world building, which was great. Another focus was that the questions from the WWII concentration camps started unraveling more for Yael. This also created an entire surrounding build of how society would be affected by something as this ‘what if’ alternate history type view. It is extremely believable with given the context of the premise. I was not expecting the outcome or the truths at all – I knew something would be off, but wasn’t entirely predictable of what it was and when it happened – HOLY SHIT is all I could say.

This feels my friends – they are hardcore.

Ultimately I loved the Wolf by Wolf duology, and for the record, Blood for Blood (as a sequel) was just as phenomenal as its previous, which is always rare to find. With such an amazing premise, the world building was beyond on point to live up to the expectations of it in my mind and the characters – the characters, as a reader you connected with, this is something I always look for in a novel/series. The emotions and growth between each character while developing together neither outshines nor drowned out each other. It was the perfect combination. From start to finish I was invested in the characters and the story. I laughed, I was in pain, I worried and I cried like a baby – seriously the emotions, that ending.

Highly recommend this duology, and if you do not agree with me, that is just a shame because I do so love this duology. If you like historical history or alternate history, this is definitely something you need to dive into – from my view, I cannot see giving it anything less than a five star rating.

 

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