Published: October 20th 2015
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.34
My Rating: 37% (2 Stars)
Germany and Japan conquered Britain and Russia in WW2, and to celebrate their victory the two nations host a motorcycle race across their conjoined continents.
Yael is a jew who spent the majority of her childhood experimented on in a concentration camp, turning her into a shape shifter. Now she has escaped and is part of the resistance against Hitler. Her mission? To enter this motorcycle race in disguise, win, then kill Hitler.
This is basically a ‘what if’ book. A thought that I myself have definitely thought about while learning about WW2 during GCSE History. What if Hitler had one and was able to conquer Europe and make it all German land? What if concentration camps still existed? This premise sounded so interesting to me, but unfortunately I was left very disappointed.
The first problem I have with this is the jumping between then and now. It tells the story of both the race and her time in the concentration camp intermittently throughout the novel and to be honest I have never been a fan of this. But in this book it felt choppy and it sometimes confused me as to whether it was then or now. Also, I would just be getting into the whole racing part of the book and then it would start talking about her past and I would feel disappointed. I just wanted to read about the race.
Yael as a character wasn’t enjoyable for me. Firstly she kept claiming throughout the novel that she could take down anyone Celeana Sardothian style at any time, and yet she never did. There was always a reason why she couldn’t show her full potential and she was beaten up multiple times by the other racers who have never been trained in combat. I get that she needs to hide her identity but whats the point of training for this for years when you’re not even going to use it. Also, she was so cocky. She kept on saying how she is the only one able to kill Hitler and that she is the only one who can change things, but apart from the fact that she can shape shift, I really don’t think there’s anything special about her.
I also felt there needed to be more details on how brutal this new German run world is. If you know much about world war 2 you will know that the Nazis where ruthless to get what they wanted. They starved cities, locked Jews and homosexuals in concentration camps and made them work as labourers and were slaughtered via gas. But I didn’t get that sense of brutality in this book. There were also some lines that felt out of place, like the book was trying to be funny but in situations where it really shouldn’t be funny.
I’m really sad to say that I found the majority of this book incredibly boring. However, I have not seen many reviews as negative as mine. In fact almost everybody else loves this book. I’m thinking maybe it was just a disappointment after reading 1984, or maybe I’m just in a bad mood. Lets just say this is not the popular opinion and if it sounds interesting to you, you should give it a go.
Thanks for reading,