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.
Does this sound awesome or what?! Well, it is!! Big thanks to Dave from TheWriteReads and the author of this AMAZING book, Josie Jaffrey, for having me on this tour and for my physical arc! Josie is so lovely and always sends out physical and electronic arcs to people from almost the whole world! Big publishers should take her as an example! But before we start with a whole other topic, let’s get into my review of The Wolf and the Water!
I’m so glad I got to read this book, and I can say with certainty that this was my most FAVOURITE Josie Jaffrey book yet! (Well, I have read quite a few of them but not all… but I still loved The Wolf and the Water SO MUCH!). And I don’t say that because I don’t like vampires (as this is Josie’s first book without the creatures of the night). Nope, on the contrary – I love vampires and really liked the other books of hers that I read, but with this one she really surpassed herself in my opinion. (Also, as a sidenote, I loved how in the dedication, Josie said:
“For my parents, who have been waiting five years for me to write something that doesn’t have vampires in it.” Made me laugh!)
I love mythology and books that are based on mythological stories or have taken them and developed them into their own, and The Wolf and the Water is such a book. In Josie’s author note she tells us that she was inspired by “Plato’s account of the island of Atlantis, a once utopian society destroyed by the gods for its sinfulness,” and also by Noah’s flood and other “annals of most Mediterranean cultures and religions,” and I loved reading her creative work of fiction based on those stories.
This first book in the Deluge series unites historical fiction and LGBT fantasy and deals with the 10 families of Kepos, an ancient city bordered by a huge wall. I loved that every chapter started with a quote from the (fictional) “Kleitos, On the Formation of Kepos”. This, together with the politics and lifestyle in this civilization made this whole scenario so real, so palpable, I thought at times I was reading a book about the actual ancient civilisations (but not in a boring history book style, mind you!).
The book starts off with the main character Kala, and how she deals with her father’s death and all the implications it brings. Kala is very witty, independent, strong-willed and kind, and I loved that about her. She might be physically impaired, but she didn’t let that stop her from living her life. I loved Kala from the start.
I also loved that one of the strong themes in this book is family. Even though Kala doesn’t have the best relationship with her mother or her new husband (which is actually quite violent at times), I loved that she and her father had such a great and deep relationship, and she loved him dearly – so much that it still shows, even after his death. Even though he is no longer there to be there for her and love her, Kala is still not alone. She has some great friends and people who support and love her – the support characters are just a lovely as the main character here.
I don’t want to give too much away. Just pick up thing wonderful book that will not only decorate your shelves with its gorgeous cover, but also entertain you for hours. I loved the fluid writing, the incredible, vivid and special worldbuilding that reminded me of ancient Greece, the lovely, deep and interesting characters, the secrets, and the myths which this story is based on. The plot was complex and the themes gave the book enough depth without making it too hard to follow.
Another thing I have to note again in one of my Josie Jaffrey book reviews is that I loved that there is a full list of content warnings at the end of the book – something I think all authors should start doing!
The content warnings in The Wolf and the Water include (might contain SPOILERS):
Violence, death, racism, ableism, slavery, misogyny, parental abuse, miscarriage (remembered), attempted sexual assault, romantic/sexual relationship between slave and owner (presented as consensual), romantic tension between siblings (not raised together), implied romantic relationship between unknowing siblings.
END OF SPOILERS
I am feeling happy and content having read this book. I wouldn’t rule out a reread, but don’t think I will pick it up again anytime soon, which is why I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars! Something was missing for me that gave it that special and very rare “OMG I need to read this again right now” – feeling, but I still liked it so much. Definitely my favourite of Josie’s so far, and I’m looking forward to reading the next in the Deluge series! Maybe it will be a 5 star read, who knows!!!
Thank you all so much for reading my thoughts on this lovely book, thanks again to Dave and Josie, and please make sure to check out all the other stops on this tour!