The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey
Series: Deluge #1
Published by: Silver Sun Books
Release date: 08/10/2020
Where to find: Goodreads
Trigger warnings: Violence, murder, death, racism, ableism, slavery, misogyny, parental abuse, miscarriage, sexual assault
Summary: 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.
I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.
I did not like this book. I really wanted to like it, it sounded like something I could really enjoy, and the cover really drew me in. But in the end I had too many issues with it that I just couldn’t overlook.
First of all, I just want to say that one really great thing that Josie does is that she includes a very in depth list of trigger warnings at the end of her books, which I think is a great idea and every book should have.
I have 3 major issues with this book, and they all seem to be in the book for the same reason and I think they are all unnecessary. Firstly, it is one of those fantasy books that is set in a world where if you’re not a man, you are nothing. A woman cannot own property, all property belongs to her father or husband. If a woman becomes widowed, she is expected to remarry straight away. The punishments for crimes are way more severe for women. I really hate fantasy books that do this, it just seems so unnecessary to me.
Josie has said that this book is inspired by Ancient Greece, so I assume that is why this level of sexism exists, but I am firmly of the belief that if your book is INSPIRED by a certain time period, you don’t have to take every element from that time period into your story.
Another major issue that I have with this book is to do with the main character’s physical disability. Kala has a bone abnormality in her foot caused by polio. The fact that she has a disability is not a problem in itself, its the way she is treated and regarded specifically because of her disability that really bothered me. She is constantly called a cripple and is told that she is worse than useless to their society by everyone, and that she will never find a husband because of her disability. It was also extremely unnecessary and I really didn’t enjoy reading about it.
My third issue is not as major as the first two points, its more of a personal preference, and that is the extreme cruelty and violence by one of the characters. I don’t mind having violence in books. Fantasy is my favourite genre, so I obviously come across it a lot. However, I’m not a big fan when a character performs horrifically violent acts for no reason other than cruelty. Once again, it depends on the book and the setting, but in this book it just really didn’t work for me.
Like I said, these things all seemed to be included in the book for the same reason, and that reason was to make Kala want to escape the city. I really felt this could have been achieved another way, without bringing yet another ableist, sexist fantasy book into the world. The older books are, the more forgiving I am of these sorts of things, but this book came out this year, and I really feel like we should have moved past this by now.
As I’m sure you can tell, I don’t recommend this book. I do have another of Josie’s books, which I am still interested in trying out, so hopefully I’ll enjoy that one more.