Review: Wrath Becomes Her by Aden Polydoros

Wrath Becomes Her by Aden Polydoros cover shows a golem made of stone whose face is partly that of a teenage girl.

Wrath Becomes Her
Aden Polydoros
Inkyard Press
Published October 10, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Wrath Becomes Her

FRANKENSTEIN meets INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS in this stunning Jewish historical horror novel from the award-winning author of THE CITY BEAUTIFUL.

Vera was made for vengeance.

Lithuania, 1943. A father drowns in the all-consuming grief of a daughter killed by the Nazis. He can’t bring Chaya back from the dead, but he can use kishuf — an ancient and profane magic — to create a golem in her image. A Nazi killer, to avenge her death.

When Vera awakens, she can feel her violent purpose thrumming within her. But she can also feel glimpses of a human life lived, of stolen kisses amidst the tragedy, and of a grisly death. And when she meets Akiva, she recognizes the boy with soft lips that gave warm kisses. But these memories aren’t hers, and Vera doesn’t know if she gets—or deserves —to have a life beyond what she was made for.

Vera’s strength feels limitless—until she learns that there are others who would channel kishuf for means far less noble than avenging a daughter’s death. As she confronts the very basest of humanity, Vera will need more than what her creator gave Not just a reason to fight, but a reason to live. 

Wrath Becomes Her on Goodreads

My Review

This is the first book by Aden Polydoros that I’ve read. I started BONE WEAVER, but got pulled away from the book before I could finish it. I knew from that that I liked the writing style, so I felt pretty confident that I would like this book– and I did!

The subject is pretty dark, and the story takes place in winter in Lithuania, so it’s freezing cold in the middle of a war in which the Jews aren’t guaranteed to be safe even from the soldiers fighting against the Germans.

Vera’s exploration of her identity and her desperation to understand humanity reminded me a lot of the book FRANKENSTEIN. She knows she’s other, but she has such deep human impulses and desires, and at first, she idolizes humans. The more she sees war and how people treat one another, the less enamored she is with people.

I thought the story might follow a well-established pattern in which the idea of personhood is explored and romance happens between a created being and a human. There are some hints of romance, especially on Vera’s side, but the story doesn’t center around romantic love.

I really liked the ending of the book. It wasn’t simple, but it felt right to me. I think readers who enjoyed THIS REBEL HEART by Katherine Locke will like this one, too.

Wrath Becomes Her on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Major characters are Jewish.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
References to celebrating Shabbos. References to Jewish folklore, history, and religious texts.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Warfare. References to torture. Graphic descriptions of injuries sustained in battles.

Drug Content
A soldier drinks Vodka from a flask and uses it to wash a wound.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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