Wolf by Wolf, by Ryan Graudin
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
She was going to cross the world and change it.
Or die trying.
Okay, so obviously I’m the black sheep.
I think that, in the hands of the right reader, Wolf by Wolf would be an immediate favorite. It’s aimed towards people who have a deep love for historical fiction, but I am not one of those people; I prefer to read about history as it is.
At the start of this book, I was immersed – I’ll admit that. I immediately grew to like Yael and was caught up in the idea of the resistance, rooting for her to win the race and execute Hitler. This is the sort of the book that could take over your day if you let it, neglecting work and chores in order to sneak in one more chapter. In the beginning, it definitely fits the description of a “fast paced, innovative novel.”
Then things start to taper off. It probably has to do with the fact that I don’t find races very interesting. Slowly, the pace started to drag into a crawl. Then came the moment when Yael and the other racers get kidnapped by the Soviets. Something about that scene really sucked the energy out of the novel. I think it’s because it sent my mind in another direction; when they were kidnapped, I thought it was a big turning point in the novel, that Yael’s mission was going to get obstructed by terrorists, and things were about to get more interesting. It made me really excited – but then Yael and the others escape, and were sent back into the race again – which is just not interesting. I’m sorry.
Unless the kidnapping is brought back into the second book, I really don’t understand the point of inserting the Soviets. It felt like the author was just trying to move the book along and prevent an endless pattern of racing, stopping, racing, stopping. All it did, though, was give a red herring.
The next thing is, I can not stand this writing. I’ve been getting nit-picky about writing lately, mostly because I’ve been dabbling with a novel for the past couple of months myself (not that its getting anywhere). You could have a brilliant concept, a timeline that twists and turns and keeps your readers guessing, but have it flop because of poor writing.
Graudin’s writing isnt bad; it’s just specific.
The road clamped onto her, sliding its rocky teeth along the soft of skin. The tough of leather. Pain. That was all there was, for seconds. The road’s bite sank – deeper and deeper – into Yael’s body. She tried to cry out, but her lungs wouldn’t move. No sound. No air.
^See, here’s the thing that really bugs me about the writing, besides the repetitions and excessive metaphors. I don’t think its very convincing. Yael’s narration goes bland because it feels emotionless. At one point she’s seriously dehydrated and is stumbling towards a fellow racer for a drink of water. Supposedly, her throat is on fire. Supposedly, she’s about to pass out. But I just don’t feel it. I don’t feel anything from her.
I know some people feel otherwise, and that’s fine, but for me, I kept slugging through this book. It wasn’t even the subject matter, in the end; it was simply because Wolf by Wolf and I just couldn’t get along.