Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think I've been hearing the name of Ryan Graudin for a while, but it took me just as much of a while to pick up one of her books - specifically, the first in this alternate-history series about an international motorcycle race in a 1956 where the Axis powers won World War II. (The implication, pretty significant to our time as well, is that this particular historical tide shifted because the US never broke its policy of isolationism, and thus was never able to become the power the Allies needed to win.)
While a bunch of Nazi German and Japanese guys race their motorbikes to Tokyo, joining them appears to be last year's surprise Victor, Adele Wolfe...except she's really not. Instead, her name is Yael, and she has the ability to skinshift and take on the appearance of anyone, including a perfect Aryan specimen like Adele - which, as Graudin states in the notes at the end of the book, is her way of skewering not only Nazi sexism but also racism.
I've seen a few readers - including a German mutual of mine - express troubled feelings about the idea of a world where Hitler won the war. I can also imagine a lot of Asian readers being similarly troubled about Japan controlling that continent as far west as India, if not further - particularly given how a lot of Asian readers have cited that as a reason why they dislike The Lunar Chronicles. That said, World War II and the Nazis are a disturbing subject any way you slice it, and considering how modern-day Nazis and other assorted fascist elements are making terrifying strides in chipping away at democracy in America and Europe as we speak, Wolf By Wolf proves a relevant and engaging read.
As soon as possible, I'll be reading the sequel, Blood for Blood. After this book's cliffhanger, I kinda have to.
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