Book Review: Blood for Blood (Ryan Graudin)
* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Release Date: October 6th 2016
Summary (from Goodreads):
There 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?
I enjoyed Wolf by Wolf last year and was really excited when I was approved to read the sequel. Unfortunately I really struggled to get into it. I don’t know if it was because I’d just read an amazing book and my mind was still on that one, or if it was because I’d not read the first book in a while, but I got to about 30% through and was ready to give up. I was confused by some of the names and couldn’t see where the book was going.
I took a break from reading and came back to it a week later and finally got into the swing of it. The pace picked up, they had an aim and I had some idea of where the book was going, although it took a lot of twists and turns, of course. I remembered why I liked the characters and after an incredible finale I was really glad I stuck with it.
The book picks up straight after where the first one left off, with Yael on the run after shooting Hitler. With Luka and Felix, she must do all she can to support the uprising and finish the mission she started. Luka has his eyes opened about what life in the Fuhrer’s Germany is really like for non-Aryans and Felix has to make a difficult choice but family and doing the right thing.
I loved Yael again: she’s just as strong and focussed as before, although I wasn’t keen on the lean towards romance in this book. While I liked her and Luka as a couple, I just wasn’t that bothered about the story line there, and felt they should be concentrating on more important things, like saving the world! Still, I loved Yael’s depth and complexity and wish there were more characters like her around.
I found Felix’s story really interesting. I was never sure what choice he would make, nor what was the right one. Morally speaking the choice is obvious, but when family comes into it, nothing is straightforward. I knew whatever he chose, I’d understand the decision behind it.
The climax was fantastic, one surprise to the next that left me breathless and desperate to read more (I actually read one of the chapters on my phone while pretending to be busy at work…) It was satisfyingly dramatic and intense with enough success and heartbreak to keep me happy. But one of my favourite bits was the last chapter, where we catch up with the characters shortly after those events. I liked that everything wasn’t suddenly happy and perfect in Germany and the world: war raged on and things weren’t okay overnight, but the big steps had been taken and they were on their way to change.
I’ve marked this down for the beginning as I just felt the pacing was really off in the book. While Yael and her friends didn’t have a concrete aim it felt like the book meandered for a bit. But it really picked up once they got going and I’m glad I stuck with it.