The Wolf and the Water
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Publication date: 8 October 2020
Some secrets are worth killing for…
The ancient city of Kepos sits in an isolated valley, cut off from the outside world by a towering wall. Behind it, the souls of the dead clamour for release. Or so the priesthood says.
Kala has never had any reason to doubt their word – until her father dies in suspicious circumstances that implicate the city's high priest. She's determined to investigate, but she has a more immediate problem: the laws of the city require her mother to remarry straight away.
Kala's new stepfather is a monster, but his son Leon is something altogether more dangerous: kind.
With her family fractured and the investigation putting her life in danger, the last thing Kala needs is romance. She would rather ignore Leon entirely, however difficult he makes it. But when she learns the truth of what really clamours behind the wall at the end of the valley, she faces a choice: share what she knows and jeopardise her escape, or abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city.
If she doesn't move fast, then no one will make it out of the valley alive.
Book Review by Nadaness In Motion
The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey is the first book in the Deluge series and my first read for Jaffrey.
I originally signed up to review this book as part of a blog tour with TheWriteReads, however, I opted out of the tour because the book left me with a lot of mixed feelings.
One of the things that make The Wolf and the Water interesting is the mythology behind the setting, supposedly Greek mythology. However, it's this mythology and rules governing the characters that create lots of confusion in the novel.
I struggled at the beginning, middle, and ending. There were parts that I liked but the hierarchy of the 10 tribes and how they mingled with the 'religious' sector of their society was confusing.
The chapters in The Wolf and the Water are divided based on the names of the 10 tribes of Kepos, which makes them super long chapters to read.
I liked the main character Kala. I also loved how Jaffrey made her a character with a disability, something I've rarely seen in literature, old or contemporary.
Kala's disability followed a plague that killed many people but spared her. However, the disability makes people shun her and mistreat her. Few are kind to her about it. The society looks at her as a 'cripple' and deems it necessary that she be killed because of her disability.
The Wolf and the Water is full of political intrigue not to mention lots of injustice towards women. We even see this injustice from other women. It's probably this that negatively affects Kala's confidence, while also making her a strong character.
"They were now nothing more than commodities in a household that would only survive by the grace of her mother's remarriage."
I also liked Leon, who is Kala's stepfather's son. He is kind, funny, and not in the least deterred by Kala's disability. Kala, on the other hand, sort of mistreats him at first because she doesn't know or understand his intentions. His grandfather practically insulted her right after her father died.
The Wolf and the Water is narrated in the third person, mainly from Kala's view point; although we occasionally get others' views like Leon.
'"Is he that bad?"
Kala's impressions of Nikos had not been favourable, but she was surprised that his son would share her dislike.'
Only when I finished The Wolf and the Water did I realize that Kala's mother, though an absent character was a strong one. She made many sacrifices but wasn't really 'there' for Kala or the reader.
Kala is also a feminist and I loved her character, her thoughts, sarcasm, and in some cases, her retorts, like when she was talking to her mother about her new brute of a husband, Nikos:
"Enough? You're handing him the title of Glauks and you think you should be grateful to him?"
One of the things I struggled with in The Wolf and the Water were some of the descriptions, especially the part about the other side of the wall. I just couldn't imagine it.
Also the parts about the other world and how some people from Kepos were in cahoots about what surrounds Kepos were very confusing for me.
Overall, I found that The Wolf and the Water partially intriguing; I moved well in the first four chapters although I was at a complete loss for what was going on. But the confusion, unclear settings, and the feel of the novel just weren't enough.
I finished this book because of Kala and my curiosity. Kala didn't fail but my curiosity wasn't satiated at the end.
Overall rating for The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey: 2.5 stars.
Note: I got a free Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey in exchange for an honest review. This did not in any way impact my review.