Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin (Book Review)

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Publisher: Orion
Page Count
: 496

Blood for Blood is the conclusion to the Wolf by Wolf duology (you can read my review for the first part here) and what an amazing one at that. I had the book at home for months now, but I dreaded finishing this little series, not really wanting it to end. Also, I felt like I had to be in the right mood for it, because of the whole World War II storyline and my relationship with that (already talked about that quite a bit in my other review).

This book broke me, but at the same time it was everything I could have wanted. Other than in Wolf by Wolf, we get multiple POVs and not just Yael’s, which in my opinion, serves the narrative greatly. While you never feel like you have all the information, you are way more in the loop about where everyone’s head is at. Yael’s actions from the first book definitely have consequences and affect her every relationship and even though I don’t condone what certain people did, reading chapters from their point of view made me understand their decisions. Also, you get a glimpse into their past as well, which shows how circumstances can shape people and how lives are intertwined without us realising it sometimes. Once again I feel pretty good about predicting some major plot twists, however, there will forever be one that I am not happy about. For obvious spoiler reasons I am not going to go into detail about it though. But the gif below, that was me! DESTROYED AND IN SHOCK!

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I cried, I laughed, I was very involved once again. Right from the beginning it was action-packed and defying all my expectations for how this story could possibly play out. I actually thought that this would be a whole longer series than just the two books, but Blood for Blood has one of the most perfect closing sentences and I will forever cherish that tale for sure.

Noooow, there is one more thing I need to talk about and it’s something I also talked about in the review for the first book – the use of the German language. As a native speaker I am here to tell you, they used it all wrong. It already bothered me a little bit during Wolf by Wolf, but this time around I could barely go three pages without having to complain to someone (thanks for listening to me about that – you know who you are!). I didn’t really make that part of my rating though, because that would have meant such a huge reduction of stars and I actually like the story very much. So, here goes nothing, I am hoping this makes sense to you, but I mostly just need to vent.

  • Curse words: okay, I get it. The author used words even a non-German speaker could kind of grasp the understanding of such as verdammt or scheiße (and YES that is how you actually write that word, not with a double s), however, during the 1940s that wasn’t nearly as common of a curse word as it is these days. So, it does not necessarily make sense to use it so very often. Aside from that, the author used expressions that only exist in the English language such as “I don’t give a shit”. Now, they replaced one word (in this case “shit”) with the German equivalent, but since the saying doesn’t exist in the same form in my language, it again makes no sense. Therefore the use of words felt random and just for the sake of putting something German in there.
  • Nouns: You cannot use nouns as verbs or adjectives, also, they are always written with a capital letter. In addition to that, the ending of the word depends on whether it is singular or plural and the placement of it in the sentence. There are just so many grammatical issues I have with the way words were used. Unfortunately, I am also not sure that even the author understood all the words. Again, a couple of examples.
    • You cannot be dummkopf, however, you can be a Dummkopf.
    • You cannot blitzkrieg someone. Blitzkrieg is a military term and refers to quick military actions to prevent further escalation. It’s a method of warfare, yet it was used so often and casually in the book that even I started to doubt the actual meaning of the word. In fact, I don’t even know what it really meant in the context of the story sometimes.
  • The names: This was actually something that bothered me right from the beginning of the duology. I discussed the names with my mother and even she agreed that most of them would not be authentically German.
    • Luka Löwe LITERALLY means Luka Lion. Aside from the fact that I think that Luka is a rather modern name (that could just be me), he is supposed to be this hot womanizer and all I could see was an animated lion. It just takes away so much of the credibility and the earnestness if the main love interest has such a ridiculous name.
    • Why is every other character’s last name the one of an animal? We already clarified the meaning of Löwe. Wolfe anyone? (Still unhappy about the -e at the end of that name. If I could show you how silly that sounds pronounced in German, you would understand.) Baasch? (That’s not actually an animal, but Barsch is a fish and there’s really not that much of a difference here anymore.)
    • So many of the names were English-fied (again, well aware that’s not a word, but I think you get my meaning). There were letters added or taken away that just made the name sound … wrong? Some names were turned into nicknames NO German speaking person would use. I could see some of it working in this day and age, because we’re are such a global community, but not in the 40s and 50s, especially if German is the main language in that universe.

See, I would not have complained if those mistakes had happened once or twice … but they were constantly present. There was barely a time when they used the correct German word or phrase. So, what I don’t understand is why the publisher, who surely has a partner company in Germany or something, didn’t send it to them to check for those things? It would be such an easily avoidable thing to prevent frustration among everyone who DOES speak the language. Because let’s face it, not everyone of us has English as their mother tongue, yet most of us read in that language. I, for one, would really appreciate that.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! (but only because I didn’t take the language problems into consideration!)

5stars

Now that the duology is finished, will you read it too? Have you already read it?

16 thoughts on “Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin (Book Review)

  1. Great review. I understand that putting in really awful German could help with immersion but all the things you’ve pointed out are so ridiculous, why couldn’t they have just got a native speaker to check it and correct it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I went on a bit of a rampage there, but for me personally it made the enjoyment of the story, which I utterly love, so much more difficult. All the while, this could have been avoided so easily. Thanks for getting it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I JUST finished Wolf by Wolf and was wondering about the usage of German language in the book. Good to know that it wasn’t perfect because otherwise my world of “American authors wiring about other countries and not messing anything up” would have been completely shattered ahahah
    Awesome review! I am about to start reading Blood by Blood!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha nope, she stayed true to the stereotype in that regard. I really don’t understand why they couldn’t have researched that just a tiny bit more, but as you saw from my rating, it didn’t really change THAT much about my enjoyment.
      I hope you’ll like Blood for Blood! Brace yourself 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really wanted to read about the issues you had with German in this book, even if I haven’t read this duology for now, and it’s such a shame that they didn’t think about checking with one of their publishing partners maybe, or even just beta readers that are German, anything, to make sure that made sense :/ I’m glad this didn’t take too much of your enjoyment for this. I don’t know whether or not I’ll read this, maybe I’ll wait before deciding if this is for me or not 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. English is such a contradictory language that I wouldn’t be able to put up a good argument as to why “English-fied” isn’t a word. It might not be in any dictionary, but as far as English goes, dictionaries are just popularised opinions.

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  5. I definitely noted how Blitzkrieg was used out of context, a history degree comes in handy sometimes and the overuse of this word baffled me haha. Thank you for pointing out the other errors as well and I really do wonder why they didn’t consult with their German partners about it instead of assuming everyone would just take the use of the language as it’s presented. You’d think they’d be smarter about it and do a little more research so it’s as accurate as it can be.

    I’m still in mourning and I don’t think I can get over that moment. I did love the use of flashbacks from all three perspectives. It gave you that extra insight into their characters and how those events shaped them and the choices they made in this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad I wasn’t the only one who thought the excessive use of Blitzkrieg and the way it was used was odd. They didn’t even have to ask their partners, but a beta reader capable of the language would have done the job as well. I am honestly disappointed in that aspect of the book.
      The flashbacks were amazing. Nicely spaced out through the book and giving you so much context to what was happening with the characters now. 😀 Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow I’m in love with this review 😀 I haven’t read either books but I like the way you talk about them! Too bad for the German issues, though. I hate when it happens in books. Can’t publishers find natives to check and add the right terms and all? It’s not that hard and if you chose a story with a setting or language you’re not that familiar with, don’t just assume most people won’t care/notice anyway. Details matter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Donna! If you ever get the chance, you should totally check out the duology. It is a great one 😀
      As for the German portion of it, I really wish they’d just made a little more of an effort here. The mistakes were really ridiculous.

      Like

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