Title: The Wolf and the Water
Series: Deluge #1
Author: Stuart Turton
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: October 8th, 2020 (Silver Sun Books)
Synopsis: 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 to the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In the city of Kepos, located in a secluded valley that is sealed off from the outside world by a massive wall, ten aristocratic families rule. Kala is the daughter of the least influential of these, the Glauks, and is shunned due to a childhood illness that left her deformed. When her father dies under mysterious circumstances, her mother is forced to remarry according to the laws of the city and Kala’s new stepfather is a cruel man, and will certainly not tolerate her for long. Kala is determined to find out what happened to her father, but in the process stumbles upon the horrifying secret that has long been kept hidden from the people of the valley – what lies beyond the wall that keeps them isolated – and she must make a much bigger decision than she anticipated: flee or reveal this knowledge and jeopardize her own escape.
The world in this story is based off the ancient island of Atlantis while also drawing on several elements of Greek culture. Granted, Kepos seems to have some messed up laws (such as disowning crippled people because they’re supposedly cursed) that enables a very cutthroat aristocratic society, but from what we see of its culture and history, it certainly is a fascinating one. I’ve always found mythological stories fascinating, but I’ve never read anything based on Atlantis before, so this was something new for me, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for other stories and interpretations of this. I also loved how each chapter started with a bit of mythology which really helped me get into the mood of the story better.
I found Kala to be a really strong character who fights hard to overcome the odds despite the hand she has been dealt in life, as is Melissa, her loyal servant who is by her side through thick and thin. Leon was also an interesting character – he tries his best to be the opposite of his cruel father and is very kind to both Kala and his sister Eulalia. The other characters do have some potential but Kala’s stepfather aside, I felt they weren’t developed enough to really matter in this book as the plot moves too fast to allow for leisurely character arcs. On the other hand, the ample number of plot twists and shocking reveals made this a very entertaining read.
However, I felt that there was too much time between Kala finding out the truth and actually making a move to flee – especially considering someone is actively trying to kill her. Wouldn’t that be all the more reason to get out as soon as possible rather than wait for a day weeks away? Sure it builds tension (and does so really well, I must add), but it’s far from logical.
This was a fast-paced, easy read and I’m quite curious to see where this story is headed, especially given how this book ended. The ending was a bit of quick thinking on Kala’s part, but I do wonder how long she can keep up the ruse. I’m definitely planning to read the sequel whenever it’s out and would recommend this book if you’re a fan of mythology mixed with a bit of fantasy and history!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!