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Title: The Wolf and the Water (#1 Deluge)
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Published: 8th of October 2020 – Silver Sun Books
Format: Paperback (ARC) – 268 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
I’m kicking this week off with a really exciting post! I think you know by now that I have fallen in love with Josie Jaffrey’s writing style and books, so when I found out that she was releasing a new one at the start of October, I jumped on the request button, and it was even better when Dave from @The_WriteReads told us about his tour. I just could not say no and I’m so glad I get to shout about this book with loads of other great bloggers. You can follow all the posts if you check @WriteReadsTours every day!
I received a free physical ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review from Josie Jaffrey, so thank you very much for sending me this book with the swag, and thank you so much to Dave for letting me participate in this blog tour. All opinions are my own.
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.
The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey is the first book in her Deluge series which is LGBT Fantasy and Historical Fiction (also known as my favourite things). In this book, we meet Kala just as her father dies and as she has to come to terms with his death, but also the drastic change in her mother and in their lives.
I was really drawn in by the mythological vibe I got from the blurb and it honestly lived up to it. Josie has crafted such a great book, each chapter is placed under the banner of each of the 10 families of Kepos and I just thought it felt so much like an ancient civilisation with the social structure and the politics, the lifestyle, the food, it was just so authentic but also very familiar to me for some reason.
This book is set in Kepos, a city in a valley that is cut off from the world on one side by the eastern ocean and on the other by an enormous wall, added to each year at the harvest festival by each family, their tenants, and the priests.
I have to say that I liked this setting, I had a really vivid image of it in my head, especially of Kala’s father’s library, her waterfall and the wall. Josie did a really good job of creating this world from scratch but also adding elements to it that we can recognise from what we know of ancient civilisations, for instance, the rituals and the clothing.
I am very excited for the second book in this series as it’s going to be a totally different setting (not going to spoil anyone though) and I think that Josie’s beautiful writing and imagination will really come into its own.
There are so many characters in this book and loads of them are really important to the plot, but I wanted to concentrate on my favourites for this post!
Kala: Kala is the main character in this book, I don’t want to say too much, but she has a physical affliction which makes her feel like a failure and as if she is cursed, but I think that this element, along with her strong personality, wit, independence and kindness made her such a loveable character. I feel in love with Kala, she was an amazing main character, I loved her right from the start and I was rooting for her all the way. I could definitely identify with her, as someone with chronic illness that reduces my mobility, oftentimes I can’t do what others do and I hate feeling like a let-down, so I completely understood her, but she just kept pushing and that really showed just how strong-willed she is. I am very much looking forward to reading more about her.
Leon: Oh wow, I fell for Leon too. I love how kind and sweet he is and he seems to really like Kala right from the start (but I’ll stay schtum on this front because you need to read it!!). I think he is a very strong character also and I felt sad for him at one point when something happened between him and his father and he just kind of shrugged it off like you can tell he is broken and hurting, but he also is trying to put on a brave face, I really liked that. I CANT wait for the next book (please write it quickly Josie, I neeeeeed more)!!!!
Melissa: Melissa is one of the slaves and also has a very close relationship to Kala, I also really liked her, she was sweet and I feel like much more of a responsible and helpful figure to Kala rather than her mother who is basically never there. Sort of shocked about that ending, so I need to know more.
Eulalia: And the last character I want to touch upon is Leon’s sister. I honestly thought that she was going to be a really awful person, you know the typical mean, rude step-sister and I was prepared to hate her, but she quickly proved that she was just as sweet and kind and thoughtful as Leon, which is so strange considering what their father is like (let’s just say yikes on that front), and again, I can’t wait to read more about this book and hopefully discover new characters that I love just as much as these ones!
Family: Even though Kala’s relationship with her mother is strained and the one with her new step-father is very strained and violent at times, she had a really strong relationship with her father and has a lot of love for him. I thought that this was a great part of the book because she remembers him so fondly and he had such a massive impact on her childhood and teenage years. I like that although she sees herself as a deformed person, and some people around her do to, her father was always there for her.
Relationships: There are quite a few relationships in this book, nothing very explicit, but I really liked the romantic side stories, I do like romance in fantasy books even though I’m not a fan of full-on fantasy, I was rooting for a few different couples and I just have to say that I can’t wait to read more about them because a) they are so cute, b) I was rooting for them from the start and c) omg they are so cute (oops, I already said that, right?).
Secrets: I think that the city was basically built on secrets and although I’m not a fan of familial secrets in books (there are some here but not like the ones that I don’t like, they were good secrets and added a lot to the plot), I did really like the secrets that were revealed. I think that the story moved forwards a lot thanks to these revelations and plot twists
Ancient civilisation vibes: This book was inspired by stories of mythological events (I won’t say more because it’s a spoiler) and the world, society and rituals are also inspired by ancient Greece, so if you like those elements in books, I 100% recommend because I loved the feeling of this book. It was really authentic but also familiar and I could definitely see the inspiration peeking through.
Death/grief: There are quite a lot of deaths in this book, and some different depictions of grief, so if that is a sensitive topic for you, I would stay away from this book. The book basically opens on death and it follows the characters to the end of it, but they made the story move forward, I was quite happy about one of the deaths (that sounds awful but if you’ve read it you know who I am referring too and I’m pretty sure you’ll think the same thing as me).
Gore/violence/abuse: Finally, this book, as it is set in a past time, with past rituals, lifestyles, cultures and characters set in a world resembling ancient civilisation, there is obviously going to be some gore, some violence and some abuse. There is quite a lot of all three in the book, done to the main character and the people around her, a lot of the time vividly depicted and described. This didn’t bother me at all, but if you are not okay with these themes, stay away from this book as it won’t be for you.
One thing I love about Josie’s books is that they always come with a list of all the trigger warnings at the end of the book and I think it’s so helpful, so I’m adding her list here.
Trigger Warnings: violence (murder/attempted murder, amputation, poisoning, arson, injuries), death (on-page and remembered), funeral pyre/body burning, grief seen through multiple POVs), racism, ableism (heroine is deformed from polio, suffers ableist bullying, internalised ableism), slavery, misogyny, parental abuse (emotional and physical, vivid on the page descriptions), miscarriage (remembered), attempted sexual assault, romantic tension between step-siblings (not raised together).
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this book was so good. I knew I was going to enjoy it as I’ve come to really love Josie Jaffrey’s works and writing style, so I was going in as if it was already an old friend, and I’m so glad that I decided to pick it up because my instinct was right and I adored it.
The writing style was just so fluid, beautiful, and Josie has such a way with words that I could literally picture every single aspect of the book, the world, the characters, and I just fell in love, once again with this author’s books. There is just something about her writing, ideas, descriptions, worlds, characters, themes and plots that get me every time and I can’t help but love them because they are such great books.
I am aware that I’m blathering on now, but I just can’t really put my thoughts together because I loved this book so much, it’s the 4th Josie Jaffrey book I have read and I think it’s fair to say that she is now one of my favourite authors.
I gave this book 4.5 stars, you can find my ASPECTS rating down below. If you love mythology, ancient civilisations, historical fiction, fantasy, some very strong-willed but suffering characters who don’t take no for an answer and just keep on going, some really impressive and unique plot twists and a beautiful writing style, then I highly recommend this book and I’m sure you will love it if you are anything like me.
Thank you once again to Josie for sending me a copy of your book, and to Dave for letting me be part of this tour, it was amazing, as usual. And I am definitely going to read all of Josie’s other books as soon as I can in the hopes that the second Deluge book comes out soon!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
Atmosphere – 7.5
Start – 7.5
Pacing – 7.5
Ending – 8
Characters – 8
Theme – 8
Style – 9
Total = 55.5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – JOSIE JAFFREY
Josie is a Historical, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance author who lives in Oxford, England, with her husband and two cats. When she’s not writing, she works as a lawyer, specialising in commercial and intellectual property law.
Josie has nine other novels published, all available now.