“Once upon a different time, there was a girl who lived in a kingdom of death. Wolves howled up her arm. A whole pack of them- made of tattoo ink and pain, memory and loss. It was the only thing about her that stayed the same.
Her story begins on a train.”
This novel by Ryan Graudin captivated me from the first chapter. What would the world have looked like if Hitler had won WWII, what would Berlin look to a young women called Ywho escaped from one of the many labour camps. Yael was subjected to horrid medical expierements that left her with surprising physical effects.
A world full of curfews, papers, segregation and SS Officers is a grim thought but with oppression comes resistance, comes strength, and the uprising! There are so many reasons why I love this story. Firstly the protagonist isn’t some 6″9 burly super hero looking man but a young women who shows such strength of character, loyalty to the people she now calls family and overcomes the tragedy and utterly despicable things she has been through. With the help of her ‘wolves’ that she takes with her everywhere she embarks on her mission to not only penitrate the inner circle of the Third Reich but to assasinate Hitler himself and lead the revolution to freedom.
We need more of these stories, more Yaels. More stories of girls and women taking charge and showing the world how strong they are. This is an intense story but one that I think needed to be told, to bring those horrors of the last world war into focus so this generation can make sure it doesn’t happen again.
At the end of the story it does have discussion points making it ideal for a book club or high school novel study. I sure would have rather read this than ‘Animal Farm’ in year 11!