Cover Image: What the River Knows

What the River Knows

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Member Reviews

What The River Knows ⚰️⛏️

Inez Olivera lives in Argentina under the care of her aunt while her parents spend most of the year in Egypt. But when she receives news of their tragic passing she decides to embark on a quest to find answers and reasoning about their deaths and why they left her behind all those years. Facing opposition from her new guardian and his assistant following her every step, can she discover what really happened to her family?

This genre is completely out of my comfort zone, but when I heard this book being compared to The Mummy, I needed to read it. After finishing it, I can certainly say that it was nothing like the movie and I think this works against the book by heightening the reader's expectations.

The setting was exceptional and the descriptions made me feel like I was there. I didn't really like FMC, even considering she was only 18 she was a little reckless and self-sabotaging at times. I did like the MMC, even with the constant description of his posture and mannerisms. But as a couple they were cute and the banter was great. I might add, this was a double POV book, but Whit’s were too short and sometimes not necessary.

This book has a little bit of many things. A little mystery, a little action, a little historical fiction, a little magic and a little romance. I found the beginning to be at the right pace, but the last 15% was a rollercoaster that I'm still trying to understand. So many twists and turns, and one scene that was soooo unnecessary, that I'm still furious about. It actually felt like the first and last part of the book were written by two different persons. Still for me this was a solid 4 stars especially because of the ending, it was amazing and unexpected.

For a book out of my comfort zone I can say that it is an entertaining read and even if you are not a fan of ancient Egypt you will definitely enjoy it.

What you’ll find:
Double POV
Historical Fantasy 
Set in Egypt
Forced proximity 

Loss of a parent

Thank you @NetGalley and @ for sending this ARC for review consideration. All opinions are my own.
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Inez is a socialite from Buenos Aires in the 19th century who’s getting to the age when society deems she must be married. 

Her parents have always left her for half the year to work as paleontologists in Egypt. As much as Inez has begged to join them, she was never allowed. 

Now she’s gotten a letter saying they died suddenly and without answers, she feels that she must go to Egypt to see what they loved so much and find answers about their death. 

I’ve never thought I was a fantasy reader but I think that’s changing and this book helped! 

The balance of magic, history, mystery and betrayal here was perfect! 

There were a few times I actually gasped from how shocked I was. 

Beware of the cliffhanger at the end of this because just like I said I didn’t think myself a fantasy reader, I’d say the same about series BUT I will be anxiously awaiting the next novel in this series. 

Big thanks to @pragmaticallypassionate_reader for talking about this one and putting in on my radar! 

Thanks to @netgalley, the publisher and the author for this e-arc. Inez is a socialite from Buenos Aires in the 19th century who’s getting to the age when society deems she must be married. 

Her parents have always left her for half the year to work as paleontologists in Egypt. As much as Inez has begged to join them, she was never allowed. 

Now she’s gotten a letter saying they died suddenly and without answers, she feels that she must go to Egypt to see what they loved so much and find answers about their death. 

I’ve never thought I was a fantasy reader but I think that’s changing and this book helped! 

The balance of magic, history, mystery and betrayal here was perfect! 

There were a few times I actually gasped from how shocked I was. 

Beware of the cliffhanger at the end of this because just like I said I didn’t think myself a fantasy reader, I’d say the same about series BUT I will be anxiously awaiting the next novel in this series. 

Thanks to @netgalley, the publisher and the author for this e-arc.
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Immersed in 19th-century Buenos Aires, I journeyed alongside the determined Inez Olivera, driven by the enigma surrounding her archaeologist parents' demise in Egypt. Inheriting their wealth and an ancient ring, Inez's quest led her to Cairo, unveiling a world steeped in magic, mystery, and adventure. Despite her guardian's attempts to thwart her, Inez's resilience and artistic prowess propelled her forward, adding depth to her character. The story intricately wove Egyptian mythology, family complexities, and cultural nuances, immersing me in bustling markets and archaeological wonders. While the beginning felt slow with historical details, the narrative gained momentum, introducing a captivating slow-burning romance and surprising twists. Whit, the guardian's assistant, added an intriguing layer to the tale. Ending on a cliffhanger, the book left me eagerly anticipating the sequel, promising a continuation of Inez's compelling journey filled with magic, love, and unexpected revelations.
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Happy Publication Day to What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez! This was a wild ride, and I just loved it. 

Inez Olivera lives in nineteenth century Buenos Aires and is the daughter of two globetrotting parents, and she is frequently left behind. When she receives word that both her parents have died in Egypt, she is determined to find out what happened. She sneaks away and travels by herself to Egypt to meet her uncle and demand the truth. What follows is a daring adventure story that includes romance, tension, and danger. Who can Inez trust? Who can readers believe? 

I could not put this down. This is historical fiction with elements of fantasy that works perfectly. Inez reminded me of a younger Veronica Speedwell–she is made of strong stuff. The characters are wonderfully developed and the setting fascinating–I felt like I was in Egypt with Inez. But can we just stop for a minute and say OMG THAT ENDING. No spoilers here, but I need book two asap. 

Highly recommend this romantic adventure story. You’ll find yourself swept away by the story. And if you’re a BOTM subscriber, I see it is one of the November books. Just go ahead and put it in your box. You can thank me later. @wednesdaybooks
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A riveting adventure that had me HOOKED. This novel is a tapestry woven together with Egyptian history, secrets, lies and love that keep you eagerly turning the pages. Readers will be on their toes as each secret is revealed leaving you second-guessing yourself throughout the read.

The strength of the story lies not only in its historical and archaeological elements but also in its characters. Inez Olivera, everything we wish for ourselves. Her determination and risk-taking nature make her a fun and unpredictable MC to follow, as she cares little for what consequences may come, but it's her love and loyalty to her family that truly is the shower stopper! (My on my family-ish again!! Haha) Inez's resilience in the face of adversity and taking control of her own destiny is truly inspiring! 

The slow-burn romance between Inez and Whit is like a designer gown– exquisite. The chemistry between them is magnetic! It leaves you wondering if they'll take the plunge into love, and you can't help but turn the pages wondering what’s going to happen next.

I can’t wait to see what comes next!!!!
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When Inez Olivera’s parents pass away tragically while they are abroad on a dig, she is determined to find answers. She sets sail for Cairo, where she meets her guardian’s handsome and infuriating assistant. He is determined to send her home to Bolivia and she is determined to discover what really happened to her parents. As they spend time together in Egypt, loyalties shift like the sand and their attraction continues to build.

Let’s get this out of the way - the ending was not nice. I am DESPERATE for the next book in a way I haven’t been since I finished The Ballad of Never After. It was so good and not at all what I expected.

I really, really loved the setting of this book! As someone who dreamed of discovering something buried in my backyard as a child, archaeology is a profession that I love reading about. Isabel paints such a magical picture of Egypt, and I felt like I was right there alongside the characters.

I thought the romance was handled excellently! I love a rivals-to-lovers story and this one has TENSION! 🥵

I would love to see more historical fantasy novels, preferably as well written and researched as this one. 🤩 I highly, highly recommend this book! Even if you’re not normally a fan of fantasy, give it a try! It leans more into the adventure and action genres than fantasy, but I loved the magical elements Isabel wove into the story.

I re-watched The Mummy the other day and I love how What the River Knows merges The Mummy’s fun puzzle solving adventure vibes with a YA romance.

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for an eARC. All thoughts are my own.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Wednesday Books! 💚 

4.3 ⭐

Wonderful YA historical fantasy with magical artifacts and swoon-worthy forbidden romance. While trying to solve the mystery of her parents' tragic deaths, Inez journeys to where they were last seen exploring in faraway Egypt. She meets the handsome yet infuriating Whit, and they are forced to go on an archeological quest and work together to find Cleopatra's tomb while denying their burning attraction to one another.

The tension and the banter were such a good time, and while there were parts that slowed down the story a bit for me, there was still plenty of action and danger to keep me hooked. Also the cliffhanger had me gasping and reeling.

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I enjoyed this book very much and it kept me turning the pages to see what happens next. I loved the historical, mythology and Egyptian in the story as I love this kind of stories. Im looking forward to reading more as this is my first read from this Author.
 Thank you Net galley for the opportunity to read this wonderfully written story.
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Genre: Young Adult, General Fiction
Actual Rating: 4 stars
Spicy Meter: 1 fire emoji
Content Warnings: Discusses death of parent, kidnapping, murder, colonization, cultural appropriation, and violence in general. Contains some romantic content.

What do you get when you mix a murder mystery of sorts with Egyptology? Well, you get “What the River Knows.” This historial fantasy book is set in the 1800s and it follows Inez Olivera, a Bolivian-Argentinian that sails to Egypt in search for answers after getting word that her parents had died a tragic death in that side of the world.

I am officially a goner for Isabel Ibañez’s storytelling. I loved her novel “Together We Burn” and I thought it would be hard to top, but Ibañez has done just that with “What the River Knows”. I love how she incorporates latin-ness into her novels without it feeling forced or just a diversity token, she engrains this characters with true purpose and identity.

Left with a cliffhanger, I’m a bit anxious about what this duology will bring—like, really, why did that Epilogue have to come along a tear my heart out? Either way this was a very entertaining and captivating read that I would particularly recommend if you’re a fan of Agatha Christie books and Egyptian lore.

If you click here, you’ll be redirected to Goodreads, so you can add the book to your TBR list.

Or you could click here, and be redirected to Amazon, so you can order the book.

ARC provided by NetGalley and Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: October 31, 2023
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The one thing I loved most about this book was the setting. 

The plot was engaging. I can understand how it was sort of like The Mummy. More like the archaeologist aspect of it, I guess . I was I a little disappointed because of the comparison. I honestly don’t like when books are compared to movies or other books. It sort of takes away from the story because you’re expecting the same beats. I like to guess where the inspiration came from. It makes it more fun.

The slow burn, banter was okay. There wasn’t a lot of magic but I’m thinking we’ll get more in the second book maybe. 

Inez was a determined and resourceful girl and I loved seeing that through the story.
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This was beautifull written and it's not just the ancient egyptian history, the vibrant archeological atmosphere, or the mysterious characters with questionable motives. As far as a first book in a series goes, this has everything you need - fun setting, engaging plot, likeable characters, and great writing - to get invested in the story and, with that ending, i know I'm hooked and cant wait for the sequel!!
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This book is so magical. The atmosphere is everything. The protagonist, Inez, is a wonderfully interesting woman. She embarks on a journey to the mystical Egypt to uncover the truth about her parents. 

While I found this book more magical and mystical than gothic, the development is phenomenal. The mystery is well done and intricately crafted. Inez’s relationship with her uncle’s man, Whit, is also infuriatingly intriguing. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is phenomenal.
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What The River Knows (ARC)

Release Date: 10/31/2023
Happy Release Day! 🎉

Inez belongs in the 19th century high society Buenos Aires. She has everything she could possibly want. All except her parents, who have been traveling for the most part of her life. But when she receives a package from her father, one with ancient magic that have seeped into her, and news of her parents' deaths, she knew she had to find the truth. She sails to Cairo for answers, but gets thwarted by his uncle's annoyingly handsome assistant. Secrets run deep, and Inez risks being a pawn to this archeological and familial whirlwind. 

Oh. My. Gosh. This is another one of those books I was ranting about a few weeks ago.

Immediately into the first few chapters, it was already interesting and fascinating. There's this immediate mystery to her parents' deaths, the "dig" and the significance of the ring that was sent to her. I will say, it's like watching a movie in my head when Inez initially came to Egypt and had to escape a couple of people (ahem, Whit) and hurdles! Now let's talk about Whit. What a big fat flirt! The banter and interactions between Inez and Whit were so entertaining and it made my heart happy reading about them. The romance was clean but the teasing was amazing! Very apt for the 1800s. 

This book mostly has Inez's POV but every few chapters, there are very short sections of Whit's POV and they are a delight! Sometimes they're just one word or sentence and they made me laugh! His comments matched his personality so much! But I definitely got a mysterious and brooding vibe from him. About 20% of the book, the plot picks up very quickly. The plot is unpredictable and deceitful. 

THE ENDING! MASSIVE REVEAL AND CLIFFHANGER! I cannot believe it ended how it did! I seriously need the next book RIGHT NOW!!! I died. DEATH BY PLOT!!! 

There was so much happening. There's adventure, magic, romance, mystery - you would think that it's trying too hard to do a lot at once. But it was so well written that the author made it work. Love!

Thank you @stmartinspress and @netgalley for a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review!
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I loved absolutely everything about What the River Knows. The history, the magic, the romance - it is all so good!

Inez is a force of nature, and I love her with every fiber of my being. She and Whit had fantastic banter, and the simmering tension, phew!!

I’d like everyone to read this and then have to suffer waiting for book 2 right along with me.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Isabel Ibañez for providing me with a complimentary digital ARC for What the River Knows coming out October 31, 2023. The honest opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

This is the first book I’ve read from this author. I’ve been obsessed with ancient Egypt for a long time so a book set in the 1800s about discovering ancient tombs in Egypt sounded amazing. I thought the magic aspect was done  really well. The magic had rules that I felt were explained well. The writing was just so amazing! I absolutely loved the characters! I thought they had layers and complexities to them. Inez and Whit were by far my favorite characters. I loved that they came from two different worlds and had to work together. It’s very much like the Mummy, which I loved. It was 400 pages, but it didn’t feel long and it held my attention the entire time. I can’t wait for book 2 to be released!

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys books about ancient Egypt, Victorian Era and magic.
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: 3.5 / 5

Publication Date: October 31, 2023

I want to thank St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books and Net Galley for allowing me to get an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! 

The prologue did a great job at establishing the catalyst for the rest of this story. We find ourselves in Argentina with Inez and her aunt and cousins. 

One of the coolest aspects of this story, was the vivid descriptions of Egypt from Alexandria to Cairo and beyond. The atmosphere surrounding the markets of Egypt and even archaeological sites were truly enchanting. I also loved the fact that Spanish was sprinkled in from time to time. 

As for my reservations, there’s quite a few. This feels like it’s a younger tone to almost all of the story except for the final chapters which I found jarring my violent and out of the blue. The Whit POV being used so inconsistently was also frustrating. Additionally, the ending felt abrupt. I kept going back and forth on the final pages to make sure I hadn’t missed something because it felt like a scene that ended prematurely. Some of the “twists” were very predictable. 

Overall I wanted more from this book. I really had such high hopes and I just don’t think this first book in the series quite did it for me. While it’s written in a way that’s both beautiful and accessible I still was hoping for more. 

Would recommend for those who are fans of
- Historical fiction 
- Egyptian history
- Enemies to friends? 
- Dual POVs

⚠️ colonization
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This is such a beautiful book! This historical fantasy follows 19-year old Inez as she tries to uncover the truth about her parents’ deaths. Her uncle has hired Whitford Hayes to stop her in her search. Also, the old magic she is imbued with is pulling her towards something that will reveal more than she is prepared for. 

There is banter, delicious slow burn, secrets, and mysteries! I loved it, especially how strong Inez is as a character. She is proactive, curious, and determined. Watching her story unfold was incredible.
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What the River Knows had me hooked from the very first page.  It was filled with great imagery and adventure, Egyptian history and archeology, secrets, lies, and intrigue.  Our main characters are strong and fearless and the banter and slow-burn between them is *chefs kiss*.

Isabel Ibañez has spinned a story full of so many secrets, she gives us morsels throughout and I second guesssed myself a few times when trying to figure out where the story was taking us. 

Inez Olivera is full of determination and a risk taker.  She’s the “act now and think about the consequences later” type.  She has a huge heart and cares deeply for her family.

When she loses her parents she doesn’t think twice about leaving the comfort of her upper class home to find out what truly happened to them.  She seeks answers, and never expects the adventure that awaits her.

The slow burning love story left me wanting more, just the way I like it.  Whitford Hayes is that broody, mysterious love interest that we know is full of secrets.  The need to know more is what pulls Inez in.  Their interactions and growing relationship was another adventure on its own.

“He was the kind of person who could charm someone while robbing them blind.”

I fell in love with this story!  If you love historical fantasies paired with secrets and intrigue, fun banter, a sprinkle of magic, and a good slow-burn romance, then be sure to pick this one up. 

*A huge thanks to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC for review.  All thoughts are my own.*
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The setting and story were right up my alley, taking place in Egypt with magic and a mystery… sign me up. The pacing was a little slow but the story itself was lovely and beautifully written. I cannot wait for the sequel.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Isabel Ibañez, and St. Martin's Press and Wednesday Books for the opportunity to read this book early. I have loved Isabel's previous works, so What The River Knows has been one of my most anticipated reads of the year. 
This book did not disappoint. The immersive world building, and colourful characters left me wanting more. Luckily, there will be a sequel.
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