Title: Blood for Blood
Author: Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Alternate History
Blood for Blood is the second book in the Wolf by Wolf duology by Ryan Graudin. It sees the events instigated in the first book erupt and Yael’s story continue on towards a shocking conclusion. The series itself is set in an alternate history where the Nazis won the second world war and have continued their invasion of the world; Yael is part of the resistance, using abilities forced on her by Nazi experimentation in the concentration camps to fight for an end to the Nazi regime.
This book really impressed me. It really raised the level that Wolf by Wolf had set and I was engrossed in the action throughout. Blood for Blood is a book which is dark, thrilling and catches you on an emotional level. It was what I was expecting Wolf by Wolf to be like and it brought the duology to a brilliant close.
As this is a sequel, there will be mild spoilers ahead for the first book.
There is a lot to love with this book, but the heart of it really came down to the three main characters: Yael, Luka and Felix. While Wolf by Wolf did a brilliant job of introducing them, this book really made them flesh and blood and I enjoyed reading about each one and how they interacted with each other. Luka and Yael’s relationship was, amazingly enough for me, one of my favourite things about the book and I thought it did really well, particularly from Luka’s perspective, of building on the events and history we’ve already encountered. Everything about them felt true to character, and how they fit in with the world around them and how they interacted with others, were all really believable.
The world felt a lot more realistic and daunting; this is partly due to the level of threat and that this book removes the competitive element of Wolf by Wolf, replacing it with raw danger and emotion. That’s not to say that this book isn’t fun. This makes the world they’re in more present and the sheer scale of what they’re up against does come across really well in this book. The different mission, with its higher stakes, just works really well here, and the pacing just made me keep reading. I enjoyed how everything we’ve encountered previously merged together so that all loose ends were tied.
I do feel that, while Wolf by Wolf did not completely work for me on its own, the duology as a whole lives up to and exceeds expectations. The overarching story was intriguing, although not necessarily all that unique; but so much was added to it, from the experimentation outcomes to the characters themselves, that really stood out for me. It’s the characters that made this story, at least in my opinion, and you develop such an investment in the characters and story that the ending really packs a punch. I admit, I cried.
Blood for Blood is a devastatingly good read and I would really recommend the duology. Even if the first book doesn’t quite hit the mark for you (or you’re just not that into motorcycle races), the second book is all that you could really ask for with this story.
The Book Depository (I get a small commission when this link is used): https://www.bookdepository.com/Blood-for-Blood/9781780622057/?a_aid=rosienreads