The Wolf and The Water: ARC Review by Asha Seth #UltimateBlogTour by @The_WriteReads

This review is a part of the #UltimateBlogTour organised by Dave from The Write Reads. I was fortunate to receive an eARC for review and tour purpose.

Author: Josie Jaffery | Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction | Pages: 268 | Publisher: Silver Sun Books

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.

Click on image to buy ‘The Wolf and The Water’

First of all, I expected a lot from this book because of the title and cover. Clearly, both were deceiving. That was a huge put off. There are no real wolves; unless of course you think of it metaphorically. The cover was an instant hit. And I was thoroughly disappointed that it did not deliver what it promised.

The mystery of Kala’s father’s murder was the only thing that kept me hooked, and that too wasn’t satisfying in the end. I expected more meat around the what and why and how. Because I really enjoy a good ‘whodunnit’ novel and those parts lacked the prominence they deserved. Another put down was the love triangle between two of the main characters. Love triangles don’t work for me; especially if romance isn’t one of the main themes of the book. So that really felt forced.

The setting was another aspect that felt good, since it was rooted in Greek mythology although none of the known gods and goddesses had a mention. I guess bringing in some of those familiar names from ancient greek mythology would have sustained the interest better.

The plot felt too dense, and overly narrated; at least the initial 70 odd pages. The build up went on for far too long, and the actual story too forever to start. That, IMO, is enough to have anyone DNF the book. There were too many awkward terms introduced all at once, and I couldn’t even remember what was what. That certainly marred my reading experience.

The characters, some of them were strong. The protagonist, Kala, seemed determined to unearth her father’s murder plot and scheming. Charis, Kala’s mother, felt like a side-character with hardly any role to play. Kala’s friend, Melissa, was sweet and friendly. Leon felt like a loveable character. I’m sure he’ll have a yet better role to play in the future books in this series. In totality, the characters felt devoid of emotions, considering the tragedies they are introduced to right at the start.

Overall, I am not sure if I would have read this book if not for that one hook of mystery the plot cast on me.

Review also available on: Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

The Wolf and The Water is a historical young-adult fiction with undertones of mystery, queer romance, politics, etc. There are other serious themes in focus here such as sexual assault, parental abuse, slavery, violence, racism, etc.; much like Game of Thrones. So if you love those kind of stories, this is the book for you. I would not recommend it to someone looking for a light yet thrilling fantasy read, because this is dystopian in all sense.

Once again, I’d like to thank Dave for including me in The Write Reads Tours for this book.

Have you read ‘The Wolf and The Water’? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading till we meet next. Until then, carpe diem! 

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