The Wolf and the Water; a review

Cover image for 'The Wolf and the Water' by Josie Jaffrey, featuring a silhouette of a wolf on a dark navy background; the wolf is a cyan blue with water reflections.

The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey
Publisher: Silver Sun Books
Published: Oct. 8th, 2020

First, I would love to thank Josie for gifting me an ARC copy of this book, and to assert that this has in no way affected my view of this book.

Second, and I mean this in all senses, what the f#*%!

A little about the book… (Taken from Jaffrey’s website)

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 is book one of the Deluge series.

I won’t give a summary of events of the novel, as I truly believe this is something you need to read for yourself – plus, I don’t wish to spoil it for any one! (Although this review will contain some mild spoilers)

It has been SO LONG since I finished a book as quick as this one – less than three hours in total, and in less than a week; it just goes to show how much hold this book has had over me. I’m in a fiction slump right now, preferring non-fiction tales, so for me to devour this with so much vigour is amazing.

To my (happy) surprise, Jaffrey included a content warning for this novel. I didn’t discover it until approximately 2/3rds of the way through as I have a habit of not reading acknowledgements/notes/dedications until after finishing, but I felt this was a lovely touch and I’m sure readers would greatly benefit from its’ inclusion.

The tagline for this publication is ‘Some secrets are worth killing for’ and boy, was this novel full of secrets. Every chapter I felt that I was discovering something new about the characters or the world. This is a fast paced YA novel, filled with a lot of complex family dynamics. The brilliancy was that there was never a dull moment, and yet none of it felt rushed or out of place.

Representation was out in full force in this, and I was living for it. There were depictions of disabilities, races, queerness, and more, and they were all handled brilliantly – very raw and real depictions. I don’t believe they were overplayed, or unnecessary. Every encounter (good and bad) revolving around one or more of them felt very thought out, and added to the plot – they definitely weren’t just there for the sake of it.

Kala as a protagonist was amazing, and seeing the world through her lens by way of a third-person narrative was interesting. The repetition of the opening phrases was alluring; instead of getting repetitively boring, it flowed like a recurring bridge and was an excellent use of rhetoric.

I am SO excited for book two, and I’m going to be following Jaffrey closely for updates!

I wish there had been some exposition prior to beginning, explaining the lore some more and some more descriptors for the surroundings – I felt the only thing lacking was the lack of visual descriptors. The only times I felt Jaffrey went into enough depth for the surroundings was during the perilous and exploratory scenes (climbing the wall, Kala’s visits to the sacred waters…). That being said, this wasn’t an issue. This is just a personal preference, and I don’t in anyway believe it detracts from the story line or the character development!

I’ve just found out I can purchase a Wolf and the Water pin badge from Jaffrey’s website… thank Diaprepes that payday was today!

Purchase Links:
Smashwords ¦ Amazon ¦ Jaffrey’s Website

Have you read The Wolf and the Water? Do you plan to? Let me know!


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