Cover Image: What the River Knows

What the River Knows

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Member Reviews

It’s a historical fantasy which is something I do enjoy from time to time and this was no exception!
I loved the fast pace of the story, the Egyptian history and elements of Cleopatra was so interesting and kept me engaged in the story.  

I really like the main female character as well as the love interest!

My absolute favorite thing about this book was the banter, angst and tension between Inez and Whit! I LOOOOOOVE that in a story and it kept me wanting more from them!
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I loved the premise of the book, but the twists didn’t always make sense. I needed more background on the mother to see how she became so evil, and more explanation on why parents left their kid for six months every year.
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ok this was so so SO fun! really compelling storyline that totally drew me in and I loved the narrator. Really strong writing, I will definitely read more from this author!
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I wanted to like this more than I did. 

While the setting was lush and well described and I do love Egypt, not much else worked. The mythology was not pulled into the story near as much as I would've liked; in fact, it felt a little bit forgotten a lot of the time. 

The characters were fine, but the relationships were a bit hard to figure out. The romance went from nothing to everything so fast I got whiplash; i did not feel the connection was truly built between them. The familial relationships were confusing and seemed to change frequently, and I had trouble following everyone's changing feelings and opinions. 

The plot suffered a similar issue- so little happened for a long time, and then all of a sudden everything happened, there were twists and betrayals and deaths and all sorts of things happening way too close together. It needed better pacing, a bit more going on in the beginning, and less of an all out run to the cliffhanger finish. 

And finally, the magic system was not fleshed out or explained either. It was just thrown in at random times, with little to go off of and it seemed to be forgotten randomly.

I do have hope for the second book due to the ending, but this one was a bit of a mess in a lot of ways. Highly disappointing for me, i was anticipating this being a favorite.
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I did not expect to like this one so much, but it was great. I really liked Inez, she was reckless at times but her strength and wit would always get her out of bad situations. She is absolutely determined to get answers about what happened to her parents and stopped at nothing, which I loved. Her feelings about her parents were so well depicted and her actions were realistic.
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I enjoyed this book! It took a little bit for me to get into it, as well as understand the characters. There was a lot of set up for this book to succeed in placing the reader in the same world as Inez, Ricardo, and Whit, but it was necessary in my opinion. I do hope the second book in the duology comes out soon to conclude the story, but there were some twists that really set up for book 2.
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WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS by Isabel Ibañez is a young adult historical mystery which I looked forward to reading based on positive reviews, including a starred review from Booklist. Sadly, I found this novel to be a "slog" in need of more thorough editing. It is VERY slow and repetitive with over 100 references to hair (does anyone really care how the color changes in the sunlight?). In another instance, the uncle makes a "quiet approach" twice within seven pages (Chapter 18 or Capitulo Dieciocho). I found myself wondering what happened to "show, not tell" as a guide for writing. There are also numerous (over thirty) references to a main character's jaw (hardened, squared, clenched, filled with tension). Readers will quickly understand that this young man (Whitford Hayes) offers an attraction for Senorita Inez Olivera. She is a young woman from Argentina who has come to Egypt in 1884 to learn what has happened to her parents who were involved in an archeological dig. Her independent and resourceful action is paired with her naivety and trusting nature. A combination that seems out of balance and doesn't quite work. Readers who struggle through WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS will be disappointed by the violent, cliffhanger ending.  3 stars at most.
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Inez has been left by her parents again. They are in Egypt living their best life without her…or so she thinks. When she receives word of their tragic deaths, Inez strikes out to Egypt on her own to discover exactly what happened to her beloved parents.

I have to say, Inez is very resourceful and she does not take no for an answer. I enjoy her ingenuity but I found her a bit vapid in places. She is a bit of a conundrum in this tale. I guess what I am trying to say is, she flip flops between tough and smart to whiny and clueless. She frustrated me a little bit.

Even though I loved the time period, the magic and the setting of Egypt. This story is a bit too long and dragged in quite a few places. But, like I always say, read it yourself and develop your own opinion. Quite a few people really loved this. It does read like an Agatha Christie novel.

Need a tale set in Egypt with a twist…THIS IS IT. Grab your copy today.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review
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I am so mad at myself for not moving this book to the top of my TBR. 

Do you like ancient Egypt?  Are you a fan of mystery?  Do not let this book being marketed as YA deter you from taking a chance on What the River Knows. 

This historical fantasy is set in Egypt where a group of scientists are trying to locate Cleopatras tomb. Inez is grieving the loss of her parents while being under the overbearing rule of her uncle. She desperately wants to find out why her parents traveled alone in the night and she decides that she must be the person to find out what happened. 

There are so many twists and double crossings throughout the story. I highly recommend to anyone that they at least give this book a few chapters. Inez is such a badass character and I could not wait to figure out what she would do next. 

Thank you to St Martins Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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What was that ending?! This book started out a little slow for me, but once I was into the setting and had grasped what was going on, this story took off. 
Definitely will be reading the next one too!
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What the River Knows by @isabelwriter09 is a breathtaking adventure filled with secrets, betrayals, and love!

Blurb: Bolivian-Argentinian Inez Olivera belongs to the glittering upper society of nineteenth century Buenos Aires, and like the rest of the world, the town is steeped in old world magic that’s been largely left behind or forgotten. Inez has everything a girl might want, except for the one thing she yearns the most: her globetrotting parents―who frequently leave her behind.

When she receives word of their tragic deaths, Inez inherits their massive fortune and a mysterious guardian, an archeologist in partnership with his Egyptian brother-in-law. Yearning for answers, Inez sails to Cairo, bringing her sketch pads and a golden ring her father sent to her for safekeeping before he died. But upon her arrival, the old world magic tethered to the ring pulls her down a path where she soon discovers there’s more to her parent’s disappearance than what her guardian led her to believe.

With her guardian’s infuriatingly handsome assistant thwarting her at every turn, Inez must rely on ancient magic to uncover the truth about her parent’s disappearance―or risk becoming a pawn in a larger game that will kill her. 


This book gave off “The Mummy” vibes and I LOVED every second of reading it! Inez is such a powerful heroine, who will not stop at finding her parents. Whit is so dreamy and amazing, I found myself smiling every time he was on the page. The writing is incredible, as it immerses you into a world of magic and mystery. The last 30 pages of the book BROKE ME, and the cliffhanger was fantastically crafted. I cannot wait to read the sequel!!! Please pick up What the River Knows at wherever books are sold or the library. ⛵️🧡✨

Thank you to @netgalley for the opportunity to read/review this ARC! 🤩📚❤️

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I wanted to love this book. It had an intersting concept, and I did enjoy the author's writing style. But at some point, the story just fell flat for me. I will start with what I did like. Inez was such a fun character, especially in the first half of the story. Her love of adventure and interest in everything around her was very engaging. I also enjoyed Whit as a love interest. They just worked as a couple. I didn't like many of the "twists" in the second half of the book. It felt rushed and like plot arcs were used for shock value rather than making sense. I also wish we had a better sense of the magic rules in this story. Magic concepts were sprinkled throughout the narrative, but it never felt like I understood it beyond the basic concept. I give this book 3/5 stars.
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It’s an 3.5 for me. After learning that her parents were killed while away for work in Egypt, she takes is upon herself to find out what happened. She makes her way from Argentina to Egypt, and when she gets to Egypt her Uncle sends someone to send her packing straight back home, and after evading them and making it to the hotel and going thru her parents belongs she sneaks onto her Uncle’s boat and goes with them to the dig site, where she learns that ancient Egypt items have powers and can do different things. She spends her time helping them find different items and their way to Cleopatra’s tomb. After being at the dig site her mother comes to her at night and further convinces her that her uncle is the one that murdered her father and that she needs her help to sneak out the artifacts so that he doesn’t sell them on the market, and after learning that she has put her trust in all the wrong people, everything ends up going wrong. There were a few things in the book that I just didn’t care for like an ancient shoe being buckled makes set itself on fire, and the ending. After all that she has gone thru that even her friend turns on her at the end, leaving it on a cliff hanger leaving you wanting to know what happened.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!

This was so interesting and different than anything I've read before - Isabel Ibanez has such a clear voice and I absolutely loved the Egyptian and archeology backdrop. The story was so well written and I absolutely adored both Inez and Whit. My only complaint was pacing, as I felt it dragged in places and likely could have been a bit shorter with the same impact - but overall this was such a great book, especially for a debut!

If you want an almost enemies to lovers slow burn but don't want spice....this will-they-won't-they is for you. 
If you want want stunning imagery and a beautifully rendered setting, this is for you. 
If you are a big ol' nerd (like me) and you love historical fiction, especially when it isn't against a war back drop, this is for you.
If you just want something different, unique, and fantastical without a ton of magic (there is magic, but not high fantasy) and crazy beasts, this is for you!

Basically, I'm saying you should read this book - I was captivated by the plot, the setting, the characters. Inez is such a great main character. She's intelligent, cunning, and mulishly determined...but also naive and foolish at times. She doesn't succeed at everything but does use her wit to succeed where most would expect her to fail - she exceeds expectations but isn't super human. Whit is mysterious, sexy, and conflicted - the perfect morally grey love interest that you never know if you can trust but you want to end up with the MC (or yourself) all the same. 

This is such a fantastic addition to the genre and I highly recommend it! That cliffhanger WAS rude though...I need to sequel!
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This book was so fun! Since I was a kid, I've loved Egyptian history and this book really scratched that itch. There was some great Cleopatra history that I enjoyed reading. In addition, I loved Inez as a character. She was full of spunk and sass. My kinda girl! I also enjoyed Mr. Hayes and some of the side characters. They felt very real and lived in. I was truly invested in their journey. 

The book kept me interested and I couldn't wait to keep reading every time I had to stop. It had it all, a slow burn romance, magic, and intrigue. I wasn't the biggest fan of the magic in the story but it didn't take away from the story so I didn't mind it much. I was also able to guess one of the major twists about halfway through, but even that I didn't mind because I was enjoying the journey. 

And can we talk about that ending!?!? The epilogue was INSANE! I can't wait for the sequel! Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for my copy. I really enjoyed and I can't wait to read more from this author.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I did not expect to love this one so much, but it’s AMAZING. I really liked Inez, she was reckless at times but her strength and wit would always get her out of bad situations. She is absolutely determined to get answers about what happened to her parents and stopped at nothing, which I loved. Her feelings about her parents were so well depicted and her actions were realistic.

Whit was keeping one too many secrets but I did really enjoy him and Inez. I think it definitely makes sense for his loyalty to be to her uncle first and foremost, so while I didn’t like his secretiveness I understood it. 

I’ve been seeing miscommunication as a big negative factor for this book and I hate that trope, but I actually think this was believable and I don’t even know if I would quantify it as miscommunication. Inez’s uncle actively doesn’t want to tell her anything, and as we can see at the end, it’s for good reason (more on this later). 

I thought the plot was really strong, and I didn’t suspect the truth until just a little bit before it was revealed - but I don’t blame Inez for not realizing at all. This tied tightly with the theme of her parents and uncle being absent and was done really well.

This is the “good reason” I referred to earlier. So let’s talk about Elvira. She didn’t get much page time but I did really like her and I was shocked when she died. We get minimal information from Ricardo, and Elvira’s death shows exactly why he was hesitant to tell Inez anything. Inez and Elvira are mirrors of each other; both crossed the ocean for someone important by themselves and are trying to navigate a foreign country, but the difference between them killed Elvira. Ricardo couldn’t have known the kind of person Inez was because he hasn’t really seen her, so his concern about involving her made sense - and I also believe he wished Inez wouldn’t get involved so she never had to learn about her mother’s treachery.

Also, THE ENDING. I need the second book immediately.
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Very interesting read! The book pulled me in from the start and I wanted to see how it ended. Try it and see if this book is for you!
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This story had me intrigued from the beginning. I knew there had to be something deeper going on from the beginning, and it was a fun ride to see the twists and turns play out.

I enjoyed the romance, though the image of the love interest I created in my head was more rugged than described on page, which I felt suited the story better.

This book reads like a true YA novel for the teen audience. The main character was a bit too rash, naive, and over confident sometimes, but that is to be expected for a teen character from a sheltered background.
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"What the River Knows" by Isabel Ibañez is a riveting blend of adventure and romance set against the enchanting backdrop of ancient Egypt. With a strong heroine, a charming yet morally complex love interest, and a plot full of twists, the book offers a fast-paced and immersive experience. The seamless integration of magic and history, along with a captivating supporting cast, adds depth to this must-read tale. In short: buckle up, read it, and thank me later.

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for giving me an e-arc of this book!
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although this book felt a bit slow at times I enjoyed the plot and the indiana jones vibes were great. Character development was very well written and I loooooved Whit hehe I will definitely be picking up the sequel when it is released!
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