Review: Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

4 stars (I really liked it).

Blood for Blood cover (link to Goodreads).

Blood for Blood is the sequel to Wolf by Wolf and the end to the duology. This one was almost as much fun as the first, more of the same exciting twists and turns and impossible obstacles. I felt like the heroes were a little slow to figure things out, which is why it’s not the full 5 stars, but the ending was perfect, and I was a very happy reader all the way through. I can’t say more without spoiling Wolf by Wolf, since the premise of this one gives away the ending of the first.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

5 stars (It was amazing!)

Wolf by Wolf cover. Link to Goodreads.

An alternate historical science fiction in which Germany and Japan won World War II and split the eastern hemisphere between them, Wolf by Wolf is the story of a teen girl who was transformed into a shapeshifter in a Nazi concentration camp, escaped, and is now on a mission to kill Hitler. At first glance, I thought, “Haven’t I heard this story before? Lots of times?” But the *way* that this one was told was fierce, relentlessly action packed, intriguing, twisty, and compelling.

The romance was my least favorite part, but the rest is plenty good to make the book well worth reading, and the romance wasn’t done poorly; I just have reservations about it at the conceptual level.

It sounds like I’m saying not to read it, and I definitely am not. It’s really cool: motorcycle races in the desert, secrets, an impossible situation that the main character will probably get herself killed trying to navigate. It’s awesome from beginning to end. One of the best books I read in 2020.

Review: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

 

3 stars.

Firefight

I really liked the first book in this series (Steelheart), about a world where some people suddenly start manifesting superpowers but then became evil–so everyone with superpowers is a villain. There were problems with it, but it was a lot of fun to read. And I apparently read the sequel but completely forgot it. I started reading it again and was like, “Wait, some of this feels familiar.” I flipped through and remembered reading it. But now, as I’m writing the review, I don’t really remember what it was about. It was fun but ultimately fluff.

Review: When You Reach Me

5 stars

When You Reach Me

Arguably my favorite book of 2017. This is a weird little sf story that starts off not feeling like science fiction so much as contemporary or mystery. The main character is having friend troubles, making new friends, adjusting to her mom having a serious boyfriend and preparing for a game show, etc. Meanwhile, she’s getting weird messages from someone. The chapters are short and the titles funny. And then the sf lands, and holy cow. It’s surprising and perfect and sad and I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s a great story about how confusing growing up can be, about friendship and regret and how assumptions can be wrong. No wonder so many agents have this on their favorites list.