Hi everyone! Welcome or welcome back to my blog! Today I have a very fun post for y’all.
So last month, I read and enjoyed The Wolf And The Water by Josie Jaffrey. I am very excited and honored to interview Josie and share my review for her latest release, The Wolf And The Water!
So without any further ado, lets get straight into the post!
The Wolf And The Water
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.
Thank you Josie Jaffrey and Silver Sun Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not impact my review in any way.
All the quotes used in this post are from an advance reader copy and may differ in the final publication.
The Wolf And The Water follows the main protagonist Kala, who lives in Kepos, an ancient city guarded by a huge wall to keep away the souls of the dead, or atleast that’s what the priests say. The city’s land is ruled by ten families who are guided by the high priest Archon.
Kala being left permanently disabled since she was young doesn’t help make her life any easier. Her family, the Glauks were the least powerful thus were an easy target for mocking and belittling.
Kala had failed to discern the real shape of her world. The Dekorats were children playing in a sandbox while the grown-ups arranged their world around them.
One day she finds her father dead under mysterious circumstances. Even tho everyone believes that he died a natural death, Kala is sure that it was a murder. During all this, her mother is forced to remarry so that the house still has a male head.
Her suspicion about her father’s potential murder starts to make more sense as an attempt is made on her own life. She knows that something dark is afoot in the shadows, trying to claim her land. But Kala finds out there is a bigger worry and now she has to choose: fight for her land and people while someone is trying to kill her or flee.
This book was beautifully written! As you all must know by now, I am a huge sucker for some good historical fiction. This was exactly that.
Everything from the character development to the plot was amazing. I loved that it was enjoyable yet informative at the same time (KEY element of a good historical fiction book)
I really loved Kala and Melissa’s relationship and bond too! A f/f relationship made the whole book more lovable.
I absolutely cannot wait to read and enjoy the rest of the series too!
Representation: Bisexual MC of color who is disabled, side queer characters.
Trigger Warnings: violence (murder/attempted murder, amputation, poisoning, arson, injuries), death (on-page and remembered), racism, ableism, slavery, misogyny, parental abuse (emotional and physical, vivid on the page descriptions), miscarriage, attempted sexual assault.
Mini Interview With Josie Jaffrey
Hi Josie! Thank you so much for joining me for the interview! Your latest book ‘The Wolf And The Water’ is a YA Historical Fiction novel heavily inspired by ancient greek and roman history. Can you tell us something about it that the official synopsis leaves out?
Thank you for having me! I don’t want to give too much away for people who haven’t read the book yet, but I will say that it’s inspired by Atlantis. That probably gives you a big clue about where the book is going 😂
This book is your first foray into Historical Fiction, what was your experience like writing The Wolf And The Water? Any memorable moments or fun facts you’d like to share about the process?
This book was quite cathartic for me. I’ve always been obsessed with Atlantis, which is one of those myths that I love so much that I find it almost painful that it’s not real. I grew up on Greek and Roman mythology, which is probably why I ended up studying Classics at university. While there, I took a course on Mediterranean archaeology, which covered a (then) emerging theory that a sill in the Bosphorus had been breached by the rising Mediterranean in about 5,600 BCE, flooding the Black Sea and inundating all the coastal settlements. That was, supposedly, the source of all deluge mythologies, together with the myth of Atlantis (although that might have had a lot to do with the volcanic eruption on Santorini, too). That’s the idea that inspired The Wolf and The Water. In writing the book, I was finally bringing to life something I have always wished was real. It was a lot of pressure, but also a lot of fun!
Kala and Melissa are strong and lovable female protagonists. How was it writing about them?
Kala was amazing. She turned up fully-formed in my head one day, and I knew exactly who she was from the very beginning. Melissa was tough, because her relationship with Kala is so precarious. She’s Kala’s lover, but she’s also her slave, so you have to question whether what she says she feels for Kala comes from genuine emotion or from self-preservation. It was hard to communicate that delicate relationship purely from Kala’s perspective. It was only when I realized that the sequel would follow Melissa that her character really crystallized for me. I’m looking forward to bringing her into the spotlight in the next book.
If your book was to be turned into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?
I have the music taste of a fifteen-year-old in the late nineties (I have never really grown up), so the song I kept getting stuck in my head while I was writing this books was Beware(The Water) by Deftones. It’s almost too apposite 😂 I’d also probably throw in Blue Lips by Regina Spektor. I love her music.
Are there any interesting facts about the world, the characters, or anything else in the book that didn’t make it into the final draft but that you’d like to share with your readers?
There was so much of this book that didn’t end up in the published copy! I’m used to writing slightly longer books, about 100,000 words, but this one had to be cut viciously to make it a reasonable length for a YA novel that isn’t high fantasy. I have whole character profiles and family trees plotted for the civilisation, including intricate webs of relationship between each of the tribes, which will never see the light of day. But I think that’s exactly how it should be, and all that stuff is the necessary forerunner to the writing. But you might be interested to see some of my original sketches for the map that appears at the front of the book. Please excuse the scrappiness – they come straight out of my notebook.
Last but not least, what’s something you’d like to tell your readers or something you’d like them to take away from the book?
I don’t like to be prescriptive; everyone will take away something different from the story. For me, it’s about the adolescent experience of escaping from a world that feels very small, then breaking into adulthood where there are limitless possibilities and the things that loomed large in adolescence are suddenly meaningless. It’s a theme I write about a lot, but it’s not conscious – I’ve only noticed I’m doing it fairly recently. But I think different people can read a book countless different ways, so there’s no right answer!
About The Author
Josie (she/her) is the author of nine self-published novels plus short stories. She is currently working on a range of fantasy and historical fiction projects (both adult and YA), for which she is seeking representation. Ultimately, she hopes to be a hybrid author, both traditionally- and self-published.
After finishing her degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics) at the University of Oxford, Josie wasn’t sure what to do with her life.
She slogged through a brief stint working for an investment bank in London during the 2008 credit crunch, then converted to law and qualified as a solicitor specializing in intellectual property. She worked at a law firm for five years before moving to a UK-based international publisher in 2016. Whilst she loved law, in the end she didn’t love it quite as much as writing, which she now does almost full time.
Josie lives in Oxford with her husband and two cats (Sparky and Gussie), who graciously permit human cohabitation in return for regular feeding and cuddles. The resulting cat fluff makes it difficult for Josie to wear black, which is largely why she gave up being a goth. Although the cats are definitely worth it, she still misses her old wardrobe.
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Is Wolf And The Water on your TBR? Did you read it? What are your thoughts about it? Did I do well for my first ever author interview 🥺 Let me know in the comments!
Till Next Time, Stay Safe!