Cover Image: What the River Knows

What the River Knows

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Member Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

4.5 stars rounded up!

I loved everything about this book! You can hear the passion for Inez’s family in her narration style, as well as the love for discovery and Egypt as the story moves on. This book also has the most lovely enemies-to-lovers trope that was perfectly done. The banter and humor is a constant between Inez and Whit and I LOVED it!

There were also plot twists (that ENDING!) that kept me guessing and a cliff hanger that leaves me wanting more- I need to know what happens next!

My one critique would be that I would love to see more scenes from Whit’s point of view. I enjoyed getting into his head the little bit that we do, just wish there was more of that.
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This was a fun read! I really loved the descriptions of Egypt and the mystery - I just wanted more excavation scenes. I feel like so much of the story was building up to the archeological discovery, but then the discovery itself was a bit underwhelming. I wish there had been more magic as well, and that some of the loose ends had been tied up at the end. The cliffhanger was super shocking though and I need the second book to come out asap so I know how it ends! 

Also, Whit and Inez were super cute 🥹
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What the River Knows is my most highly anticipated book of 2023, and it did not disappoint even in the slightest. I could’ve cried when I saw I’d been approved for the eARC. Thank you thank you NetGalley and Wednesday Books!

The detail in the atmosphere and imagery was incredible—from late nineteenth-century Cairo, to the pyramids and the Nile *chef's kiss*. It was all so much fun to read about, especially when I learned how much research the author put into this book. She’s sparked a new love of Egypt and its rich history with one book.

I loved how complex and unique the characters are, each one a mystery in their own right. Their backstories were incredibly fleshed out and interesting, and as the book continued, we saw so many sides of each person, and I loved how real they all felt—especially Whitford Hayes, who just might be my favorite. From the moment he first walked onto the page and met Inez, I knew this story would be a lot of fun. Their chemistry is raw and addictive to read. I think their romance was perfectly executed and balanced.

The plot and mystery kept me on my toes the entire time. I certainly couldn’t have predicted that ending! I finished this at 2 am and was too shocked to form coherent words. That cliffhanger was so well done. I know I’ll spend the next year anxiously anticipating the next book.

I love, love, love this story and these characters, and I will definitely be picking up the second installment.
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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me review this book. This book is packed with twists and turns. I like that Inez thinks for herself and tries to do her own thing, even in the 1800s. It sounds like there might be a sequel and I hope there is!
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Okay, I’ve put it off long enough and I really need to get my review posted for this book.  It’s been months and I still don’t know what to say about it. I’m still hung up on that ending and think about it often.  I have a theory about what’s really going on…I just hope I’m right because I don’t know how I could handle it if I’m wrong. 

Inez - a very headstrong heroine who often gets herself into trouble.  I did want to scream at her many times for doing some really stupid things.

2. Whit - can he be trusted?  I want to trust him! 

3. Tio Ricardo - well, anything I want to say about him would be a spoiler.  

I loved the Egyptian setting with the magical touch.  I often found myself googling many of the majestical landmarks just so I could have an accurate visualization. 

I was able to predict a lot of things about this book and didn’t fall for any of the red hearings.  Still…I refuse to fall for that ending…. Surely, it’s just another trick.  

I originally planned to give this book 4 start, but since I’m still thinking about it months later, I’m bumping it up to 5 stars. 

ARC provided by NetGalley
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In my head I've been referring to this as Divine Rival's "sister book" because the authors dedicated their books to each other, and when I tell you that for some reason this felt like a sister book to DR? I can't quite explain it except to say that I fell HARD for What the River Knows. Walk, don't run to the shops on November 28th to pick up your copy, or better yet, pre-order it and have it sent to you so you can stay cozy and warm and read about Egypt and daydream of Brendan Fraser, and fall in love with this book in an afternoon like I did.

(I make the comparison to DR because the last time I fell this hard for a book was when I read DR for the first time last September - and now I own 5 copies of it, so that should maybe indicate my level of obsession with WtRK!)
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Oh the twists and turns were breathtaking! When Inez receives word that her parents have died she flaunts propriety and goes to Egypt to find out what happened. This was a thrilling tale for lovers of The Mummy and Indiana Jones. Wonderful storytelling and great for high school!
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A beautifully written book with so many layers of details, it made me feel like I was on the Nile with Inez! Shocking twists made it a page-turner, and I can't wait to see what is next!
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Thank you to Isabel Ibañez and NetGalley for this ARC of What the River Knows. 

5 stars!

This was a truly individual book. I was gripped from beginning to end, strung along by the highs and lows that Inez experienced throughout the story. I enjoyed the multiple layers of mystery, the Egyptian history, and the imagery that truly allowed me to picture the places and events throughout. 

We need another!
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A captivating read filled with mystery, adventure, romance and betrayal. 
Set in the 1800s in Egypt this book follows Inez as she is determined to find out what happened to her parents....very vague yes, but if you love The Mummy this book is definitely for you. 
The plot was good, pacing was a tad slow in the beginning but picked up. I liked the magic aspect but would of loved to see more. The history of ancient Egypt was immersive and made me want to know more. But my favorite part about this book was the chemistry between the two main characters. Slow burn romance is chef's kiss. I can't wait for the sequel because....the epilogue left me shook!
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A captivating and beautifully written nearly 5-star read! I was hooked from the start, immersed in the Egyptian vibes and early story set up. While I found the pacing to be on the slower side, I was still invested in the characters and the story. 

The enemies-to-lovers romance was exactly as I expected with fun banter and some added external tensions. I didn't take much issue with Whit's arranged marriage complication, particularly because it wasn't his choice and he was clearly attracted to Inez. It did feel a bit unnecessary, but it was glaringly bad either. 

I was shocked by the ending of the book, and I later realized this is the first in a series! I'm already looking forward to picking up the next installment. However, I felt like something was missing. Can't place my finger on it, but it falls juuust shy of a 5-star for me. 

A special thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press Wednesday Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I'll be posting a review on my Bookstagram, @acaffeinted_bookworm, closer to the book release in October.
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I’d like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Publishing Group for providing me with the opportunity to review this book. Additionally, congratulations to the author on her publication!

What the River Knows is part periodic adventure novel, part murder mystery with a dash of fantasy added in. It follows main character Inez as she crosses the globe to study the lives of her now-deceased parents. As she visits the archeology digs they frequented, she begins to realize that she may not have known her parents at all… 

I read this book within 24 hours. I am usually rather ambivalent to mystery, but this one sucked me right in. It was easy to read with nice prose and new reveals that kept me questioning what I already knew. Every character has his or her own motivations, known or unknown, and this drives the story. 
Additionally, the YA romance was superbly written! It relied on tension, not spice, and I loved every minute. The first moment the love interest showed up, I had my doubts, but I quickly fell in love with the two leads’ dynamic and banter. This was a fun read during which I could let go while still learning interesting tidbits of history. 

And THAT ENDING! I am so excited for the sequel because everything I thought I knew has been thrown on its head. 

My only qualm is that the magic element of the book really only appeared about halfway through (if you ignore the first chapter). This wasn’t a huge deal; I just forgot that the novel was fantasy and felt a little surprised when it appeared. I also want to understand more about the magic system and what exactly the artifacts do, though that may be hit upon in the next book.

Overall, What the River Knows is a fun drama and intrigue—a cute read for when you need something sweet and just a little shocking.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this title. I have been dying for more books set in Egypt! This book had more a historical fiction feel than fantasy. It was cozy in a Death on the Nile sort of way. The descriptions of the setting/enviornment really had me wandering around Cairo. I enjoyed the fantastical element of magic being imbued into objects and the ability to see the memory of the previous holder. I would have liked to see more of that, but based on the ending there will be a book a two. I thought the main character was tenacious and fun. There were a few times I was annoyed by her, but mostly enjoyed the trouble she got herself in. I loved Whit. I want more of him, but I am afraid of what's to come. I will say the pacing felt a bit off and some of the twists were predictable and a few characters felt unnecessary. The idea as a parebt of leaving my child for 6 months at a time seems crazy to me and I didn't particularly understand her parents. However, back in the 1880s I'm sure it was commonplace. For a YA historical fiction/romance/slight fantasy I did enjoy this read. After that ending, I am interested to see what comes next.
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I loved this book. The Egyptian setting was done so well. The twists and turns were fun. And I think Ibanez has written the best rivals-to-lovers character I've ever read.  There are very certain and particular things I want to happen as the story continues, so I'll be very anxiously awaiting the second book!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for an ARC of this book!

What The River Knows
By: @isabelwriter09
Pub Date: October 31st, 2023

Inez is on a quest to find answers surrounding the tragic deaths of her parents. A quest that leads her to Egypt, a land filled with magic, mystery and deception.

I knew this was going to be an automatic read for me. A book by a Latina author, a Latina protagonist, and Egyptian historical fiction — I am here for it!

This book captivated me from the start. Although this was a slow burn, Ibañez’s descriptive story telling kept me hooked until the very end.

I absolutely adored Inez! She’s exactly what I’d expect out of a young Latina lead — witty, stubborn, curious and fueled by fire. I equally loved Whit, too. His darkness and mystery kept me wanting to find out more about him and his past. I loved their banter and enjoyed watching their relationship grow.

There’s a little bit of magic, Egyptian history, love, mystery, some twists I did see coming and a bunch more I didn’t! This book is the first in a series, so I cannot wait to find out how Inez’s story plays out, because that ending…

I’m going to finish this review with two emojis that sum up how the end of this book left me: 🤯💔
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An absolute jewel of a book. I feel as though five stars is not enough. By far this is my favorite read this year and I can not stop thinking or talking about it now that I’ve finished it. I need the second book in my hands ASAP please! It’s been described as The Mummy meets Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile and I would say that’s a pretty fair comparison. I would also say if you enjoy the writing style of Stephanie Garber you will love this novel by Isabel Ibanez. It’s historical fiction with a bit of magical realism I would say. The adventure and mystery is so well written and will make you feel like you’re there in Egypt yourself! The main character is strong, confident and not afraid to stand up for herself and what she wants. The love interest is sarcastic, rugged, and oh so devilishly charming. The chemistry between the two is off the charts and the banter will have you in its grip! This was my first read by this author but it won’t be my last that’s for sure. I’ve already ordered another one of her books while I patiently wait for the sequel to this book! Thank you so much to NetGalley and the Author for giving me a chance to read this one early! I believe this book releases on Halloween of this year (2023) so keep your eyes peeled it’s going to be one you want to keep on your radar!
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Inez Olivera lives a life of luxury as part of the glittering upper crust of Argentinian society. She has anything she could ever want except for one thing: her parents. Inez's parents are part of an archeological dig in Egypt and often spend months away from Inez. Inez has always longed to go with them, but her parents have never allowed it. But when Inez receives a letter from her estranged uncle with the tragic news of her parents passing, Inez decides to go to Egypt for answers. 

Inez crosses the seas with little more than her precious sketchbooks and a mysterious golden ring her father sent her. When she arrives, Inez quickly realizes she's in over her head. Her uncle is not pleased to see her and will barely acknowledge her, leaving her to be dealt with by his infuriatingly charming assistant, Whit. But Inez is determined to uncover the truth about her parents' disappearances, no matter the cost. But when old magic embeds itself into Inez, she must rely on it to guide her hand or risk becoming a pawn in an even greater game. 

If you went through an Egyptology phase growing up, then this book is for you. I wasn't sure if I would like this because the first half felt incredibly slow, and you could tell that Ibañez was laying the groundwork for an intricate plot to unfold. But once we hit the halfway mark the action ramped up, and I couldn't get enough. Inez was such a strong-willed character, and I loved how she refused to back down from her pursuits. She and Whit butted heads at every turn, but the kind of interaction that had you going, "Ok, now kiss." They had great banter and had me smiling the whole time. I liked the mythology throughout this, but I wish the magic system had been explained more, as I still don't have a firm handle on it. Aside from that, I did see one of the plot twists coming from a mile away, but so many others took me by surprise. My jaw was on the floor by the end, and I'm already preparing my heart for the fallout. If you're in the mood to get swept away in an atmospheric adventure, I highly recommend checking it out.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books for providing me with this digital review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Egypt? Magic? Naive and beautiful main character and dashing, but mysterious handsome man?  Sign me up, please! 
The premise of the novel is great, but What the River Knows by Isabel Ibanez contains some very formulaic elements in the plot.  Inez, a young woman who’s come of age in lush Argentina, feels repressed and rebellious in the household of her prime and proper aunt while her exciting archeologist parents spend half the year away in exotic Egypt.  All Inez longs for is the letter from her parents giving her permission to travel to Egypt and share in their work. Hopeful after receiving a package containing an ancient magical ring from her father, Inez received instead a devastating letter from her Uncle Ricardo telling her that her parents were missing and presumed dead and to be careful of whom she trusted. 
Determined to find out what exactly happened to her parents, Inez books passage to Egypt to confront her uncle and seek out the truth.  Rather than a warm welcome after her long voyage, Inez is met with condescension and hostility from her uncle and his unsettlingly handsome right-hand man, Whitford Hayes. Both men are brimming with secrets and both are determined to get her back on a ship to Argentina.  But Inez is just as determined to stay as they are to get rid of her, and after some carriage chases,  trips through the dusty side alleys of Cairo, and a great deal of subterfuge, Inez is begrudgingly allowed to stay IF she sketches and records the ruins that her uncle and his crew are studying.  That’s when Inez’s life is turned upside down even more than she thought it already was.
What I liked about this book is evenly matched with what I did not care for. The author’s descriptions of the beauty of Argentina and the mystery and antiquity of Egypt were very well done.  I felt as if I was there in those settings and was actually traveling down the Nile with Inez in a dahabeeyah and marveling at the massive columns in ruined temples. The details about the historic sites in Cairo as well as the island of Philae had me scrambling to look up more information about them.   I appreciated the fact that the main character was not an insipid Englishwoman on holiday, but a feisty young lady from South America. I even (almost) liked the frustrating chemistry between Inez and Whit.  Come on Whit, just kiss her, will you? 
What I did not particularly like was the lack of clarity.  There were just too many unanswered questions, and I am not just referring just to that jaw-dropping ending either.  It reminded me of conversations with people who, while trying to be coy, drop just enough hints so that you’d beg them for more information so that they can remain the center of attention. I also think the author missed out on developing many of the secondary characters.  I would have happily read another 50 pages in order to get some background details on these supporting people.  
Another thread that dwindled away to nothing when it could have been great was the theme of magic.  Magic was dropped into the readers’ lap at the start as if this was something normal.  Apparently, everyone who was anyone could detect and use magical objects in 1884.  Unfortunately, that subplot just popped up whenever the author had one of the characters in a spot where he or she needed a little extra help.  That sort of thing is a “go big or go home” element, and the writer clearly did the latter in regard to the magic.  Lastly, the killing of one of the characters (not going to ruin it for other readers) at the end was unnecessary and cruel.  That could have been handled so many other ways but instead, the author resorted to unforgivable gratuitous violence.  
Overall, I rate this book as 3 out of 5 stars due to all of the threads that go nowhere. The author leaves readers with a cliffhanger.  Will I read the next one?  Maybe, because I am nosey and want to find out more about the mess that we were left with at the end of this book.
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This YA fantasy feels unique from the majority of popular offerings on shelves today. Firstly, I love the settings of historical Egypt and Buenos Aires, and I love the choice to infuse magic into this already magical-feeling premise. It gives strong vibes of The Mummy, which naturally only makes me like it more. The film is never more clearly evoked than in the interactions between Inez and Whit, who carry the story. They are by far the brightest spot in this novel for me. They have witty exchanges that sometimes made me laugh out loud, and I always looked forward to seeing them on the page together. Watching their relationship develop was a highlight, despite some aspects lacking real depth.
	Also of note was the atmospheric depiction of Egypt and incorporation of its history, which was intriguing and did transport me in a way that I will never get tired of in fiction.
	I did feel like some prominent elements of the plot were rushed, and I would have liked to see the magic system more deeply explored and defined. Additionally, some characters seemed to serve no clear substantial purpose. Overall, I feel that the book would have benefitted from tightening up and improving the focus. Nevertheless, the story’s cliffhanger brought me around again, and I will be awaiting book two! Hopefully, with all the groundwork laid in book one, we’ll be able to really dig into the characters, magic, and the true goings-on in the secret world of Egyptian excavation and antiquities. I will say that I think this book benefitted greatly from the Mummy film nostalgia and the Rick-and-Evie energy from our male and female leads, and I hope it can truly step into its own distinct identity as it continues.
	Thank you to Isabel Ibanez, St. Martin’s Press/Wednesday Books, and NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review!
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Holy shit, this book was so good! The Mummy vibes were perfect, like I seriously will be binge watching the movies constantly while I wait for this sequel. The mystery and romance were both so good. Inez and Whit are *chef's kiss*. This book has reawakened my obsession with Egypt and I want to learn to read hieroglyphics and learn about the Egyptian gods and visit Egypt. The setting was so good and the story felt so real. Some really amazing twists, one of which I guessed but several I did not. And did I mention the cliffhanger?? I am not ok and will not be ok until the sequel comes out.
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