with thoughts on ‘Wolf by Wolf’ by Ryan Graudin
The Rainbow Blog Challenge is a series created by Kristy @ The Reader Dragon, Elle @ Elle Biblio, Terri @ Le Book Chronicles, Rachel @ Rach with Books, Naadhira @ Legenbooksdary, and Aimee @ My Life in Books. There is a prompt (or two) for every day this week. Mine today is ‘Time is Precious’: fast vs slow paced books.
My preference is, on the whole, for a fast-paced book. I can’t stand sluggish plotting – yes, give me quiet moments with the characters, but they have to be MEANINGFUL. I have a towering TBR pile, and try to finish every book I start. I hate to think my time is being wasted.
A wonderful example of a fast-paced novel, which I read last week, is Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf.
Yael can change faces. It is her greatest asset in the fight against the Nazi empire, but also the source of her greatest pain. She is nobody. A ghost girl. A monster. And she is going to kill Hitler. To get to him, though, she must win the Axis Tour, the great motorcycle race from Berlin to Tokyo, disguised as a former champion.
The plot is breathlessly paced, weaving Yael’s childhood as an experimental subject in a death camp with her present, desperate mission. I started reading this on the train to work, and seriously begrudged putting it down.
‘Wolf by Wolf’ consists almost entirely of the race, which of course generates its own natural urgency. Yael is always fighting the clock, grasping for every second, battling for her lead. But the pace comes from more than that. The plot is also efficient. Each chapter leads somewhere, reveals something, and – most importantly – increases the tension. I blew through this in a couple of days, and was looking for more pages at the end (oh boy, that end). Lock in ‘Wolf by Wolf’ as one of my favourite books this year. And get me the sequel, pronto.
There are, however, books that are TOO fast-paced. While I adore Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series, its latest instalment, Goldenhand, suffered (I thought) for moving too briskly. The book reacquainted with me characters I love, but at the end, after the frantic journeying and the battles and the triumph of the living over the Dead, I felt as though I hadn’t spent any time with them. They were just acting out the story.
So while I do favour efficient, fast-paced plots, I will take good character development every time.