Cover Image: What the River Knows

What the River Knows

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Member Reviews

Loved this one! Not to sound too milennial but the vibes of this were truly so good! I really liked all the characters and thought they were very well fleshed out - nothing felt like it was out of character or came out of left field.
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What the River Knows by Isabel Ibanez is a historical fantasy full of secrets, lies, mystery, and magic. This story follows Inez Olivero as she embarks on an adventure to find out the truth about her parent's deaths. 

Inez has always been left behind when her parents go to Egypt for most of the year. When she finds out through a letter from her uncle that her parents have mysteriously died, she sets her sights on Egypt. Her uncle is a famous archeologist and is now her guardian, however, he has an indifferent attitude towards her. He is determined to send her home until he discovers Inez has a secret that could help him make one of the biggest discoveries in Egyptian history. 

Along with her uncle, Inez also has Whit trying to get her back home. Whit is her uncle's hired man, who tries to block her from finding the answers she seeks. Their contentious relationship is filled with romantic tension that they both don’t want to address. 

I loved the writing in this book, it was so immersive and took you right to Egypt with Inez. I thought the magic and historical aspects were well-balanced. Inez is a phenomenal character, I loved her tenacity and determination to find the answers she wanted. The banter between Inez and Whit was top-notch and kept me turning the pages for more. 

I liked how atmospheric the setting and time period were, however, there were times when the history explanation was dragged out a bit and threw off the pacing for me. 

If you are in the mood for unique fantasy, historical fiction, and slow-burn romance, with some mystery, this book is for you!

Thank you to St. Martins Press, Wednesday Books, Isabel Ibañez and Netgalley for the gifted arc
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What a fun and enjoyable read! Lately I've been feeling a bit worn out on the YA fantasy genre, to the point where I've wondered if I've moved on from the genre. Whether it be immature dialogue or minimal development, they just haven't been stimulating. So reading this was such a breath of fresh air! It was unique and fun and intense. The characters had great banter and the romantic tension between them was delectable. It made me realize that I still love YA fantasy, I just need to be more particular on the books I read.

What I loved:

- The characters.
- Getting Whit's perspective. I love multi-POV, so I would have even taken a bit more from Whit's perspective.
- The romance. I loved Inez and Whit together! One of my current favorite couples and their tension was so delightful!
- That ending!!! Since it leads back into the prior point, I need to know what Whit was talking about!!
- The vibe/setting. Loved the Egypt setting! It gave me Mummy vibes and was delightful! It spoke to my 1990's heart!

What I didn't/don't love:

- How long I have to wait for book 2!
- I didn't love bring Elvira in towards the end just for what happened a couple chapters later. It would have felt more impactful if she had a stronger presence throughout the book.

Overall, I loved this book and I can't wait for book 2! It can't come soon enough! This was a 5 star read for me and I would recommend it to all, but especially fans of the following: YA fantasy, overall fantasy, enemies to lovers, slow burn, historical fantasy, and adventure!
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2.5 rounded up. I got waaaay too frustrated about the FMC here. 😭 It's unfair, but I couldn't help but think that she was responsible for basically all but one conflict. I get she was definitely way in over her head and that was emphasized here, but did this really have to play out that way?? 😬 It just felt too coincidental that basically ALL Inez's actions would lead straight to the next problem over and over again throughout the whole book.

Whit was a fun MMC and definitely gave Flynn Rider and Rick O'Connell vibes, but I didn't fully believe in the chemistry of the romance for a long while.

I'd still pick up book 2 though because THE CLIFFHANGER??? GOD DAMN.
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This book was filled with so many things that I love! Magic, romance, and history! I think it is a very solid start to this series.

While it did have a slow beginning, I could always interested in where the story was headed. I felt very immersed in the world, and I loved the writing and characters. Inez and Whit are such a great duo. I can’t wait to see where the story goes!
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For most of her life, Inez has lived vicariously through the letters her parents sent to her in Buenos Aires while they spent half of each year in Egypt. Despite her repeated requests to join them, however, the answer was always no. But when her parents go missing just before her nineteenth birthday and they are presumed dead, Inez comes into the means to traverse the vast ocean and search for the answers to her beloved parents’ disappearance. Egypt is not at all what Inez expected, however, and as she ventures further into desert life, she discovers many of the secrets that were kept from her while building a new existence of her own.

This period fantasy adventure is a good fit for fans of Indiana Jones and Agatha Christie, especially as Inez spends much of the book exploring the mysteries of ancient Egypt. Beautifully written descriptions bring the reality of the 1880s to life for contemporary readers, including the expectations of gender stereotypes of the day and the limited means of travel and communication available at the time. Additionally, Spanish language is found within the narrative, which serves as an anchor to Inez’s heritage and culture even while she is using English among many of the characters she finds in Egypt. 

Dynamic dialogue and action sequences give the narrative an enjoyable quality, and the inclusion of Ancient Egyptian relics and anthropology speak to readers interested in this aspect of global history. A predictable enemies-to-lovers romantic arc is included in the story, but Inez is also her own strong personality who can rely on her intelligence and wit to survive independently. Inez is the primary speaker in the novel, but a secondary character’s thoughts are occasionally included, as well. While some of the character development is lackluster and the plot takes a little time to settle in, the overall feel of the book is enjoyable and keeps readers interested once the pacing picks up. This is an intriguing addition to library collections for mature young adult readers.
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The latest novel by Isabel Ibanez sees a young adult Argentinian, Inez, travel to Egypt following the news of her parents presumed death. Inez hasn’t had the closest relationship with her parents or uncle and quickly learns that there was more to her parent’s trips to Egypt than she first imagined. 

The book is filled with fantasy elements, slow burn romance, the enemies to lovers trope. As advertised by the book’s blurb, it reminded me of a mashup of the The Mummy meets Death on the Nile. The history of 1800s Egypt is expertly embedded throughout the plot and narration of the book. 

The last 10% were shocking and punch to the heart. I’m all in for the next one. My only complaint was the middle half felt like it could have been sped up a bit. While there were consistent warnings of ongoing threats, there largely weren’t any during this period of time.  Additionally, would love if she explored more of the magic system and fantasy element in the next book. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC.
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I didn't really like or care about the main character. And I didn't like the romance and it took up a lot of the book. I don't understand why she was interested in him almost immediately.
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Book Review: What the River Knows - Isabel Ibañez⁣
What the River Knows is a YA historical fantasy set in Egypt that is pure escapism!  Inez Olivera is a member of the 19th century gentile class in Argentina, she has everything a girl could want, except her parents.  Inez has never grown accustomed to her parents’ frequent and extended absences.  Left in the care of her proper Tía Lorena, Inez finds herself bored with ladylike pursuits and would prefer to hide out in the old potter’s shed with her books and a sketch pad.  One day everything changes when Inez receives a letter telling of her parents’ mysterious disappearance.  Determined to discover what happened to her parents, she leaves a note for her aunt, and dressed like a widow, sets sail for Cairo.  She hopes her Tío Ricardo, a partner in her parents’ business, will have answers.  ⁣
If you’re looking for a reading adventure brimming with magical artifacts, archeologists, treasure hunters, profiteers, crooked officials and those who will stop at nothing to get what they want, then pick up What the River Knows.  Did I mention that there is a brewing enemies-to-lovers romance?  But never mind that, the cliffhanger ending will leave you eager for the next installment in the riveting and twisty Secrets of the Nile duology. ⁣
My special thanks to @IsabelWriter09, @StMartinsPress and @NetGalley for the gift of this advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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✨Book Review✨
What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez 
@isabelwriter09 [Pub Date: Oct 31, 2023]

This. Book. 

So many twists and turns-some predictable, some expected, others devastating and surprising. 

With the recklessness of youth and inexperience, Inez travels across the world from all she’s known in Argentina to the wonders of Egypt. Her parents spent more time there than anywhere else and now that they are gone, she wants answers…and to be connected to what they loved most. What she didn’t expect was Tio Ricardo’s reaction nor his lackey Mr. Hayes. 

So much sassy banter, sadness, and laugh out loud moments you’ll be pulled down the Nile in the adventure of a lifetime. 

I cannot tell you how many times I fell asleep reading this because I could not put it down and make myself go to bed. Just one more page, moment, chapter. 😅 

Thanks @Netgalley for the eARC! Definitely a fav of the year.
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This book is giving off The Mummy vibes all day and I am HERE for it! Inez is a strong-willed, intelligent, and take-no-shit main character who sets off from Buenos Aires to Egypt to find answers after receiving word that her parents have died while in the country on an archaeological expedition. Upon arriving in Alexandria she immediately crosses paths (and wits and wills) with her uncle's English assistant Whitford Hayes. She problem solves and perseveres at every turn to be included in her Tio Ricardo's expedition to find Cleopatra's tomb. She discovers several secrets along the way that shake all of her beliefs and foundations. 
The last third was the book was action-packed, heart pounding, and heartbreaking leaving us with an epilogue that made my jaw drop. It's safe to say that I CANNOT wait for the second book to finish off Inez's journey and figure out what is truly going on.
I really loved the banter between Inez and Whit and following them on their journey on the Nile and beyond. The Egyptian history and mythology was gorgeously woven into the story with an added splash of magic.
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Inez is a defiant young woman who leaves her home in Argentina in a secretive manner to travel to Egypt to look into her parents’ deaths. She expects to be greeted by her uncle, Ricardo but instead, she encounters Whit, her uncle’s assistant, who has orders to put her right back on the ship to return to Argentina. But Inez manages to thwart her uncle’s attempts to keep her away from his archeological dig for Cleopatra’s tomb on the island of Philae. Inez and other members of the team also possess some magical abilities which help their quest and Inez stumbles unwittingly into plots for selling artifacts on the black market while learning more about her parents’ disappearances. Meanwhile, she and Whit are exploring a potential romantic relationship.
Whew! Sounds like a lot going on in this story and this is one of the more positive aspects of the book. I enjoyed the action and the plot around archeology in Egypt. But, contrary to the popular opinions of other reviewers, the book was disappointing for me. I actually didn’t like any of the characters, including Inez - she was supposed to be independent and strong but also naive and the contrasts in her personality just didn’t work. Whit was also poorly developed and the dialogue between him and Inez was just lame overall. And most of the other characters were mean and/or deceitful. Elvira was the only character with some potential. I wish romance hadn’t even been thrown into this mess but what little there was seemed like an afterthought - there was nothing to base any affection on between Whit and Inez. The magical realism aspects of the story were also underdeveloped and seemed out of place. I have seen some hints about this book being the first in a series (which I won’t be continuing) but I really hated the cliffhanger ending. I really wanted to like this book so overall, I’m really disappointed.
#NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress
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Wow, just wow! This was like the mummy, a treasure hunt and a will-they-won’t-they romance all in one. This was amazing from start to finish! The ending!?! Mindblowing! I need a second book! This was seriously phenomenal. 

Inez, tío Ricardo, Whit, Elvira, and Abdullah were all amazing characters. Inez was innocent and trusting, but also brave as heck. Whit was the elusive “bad boy” and struck me as complicated from minute one. Tío Ricardo was grumpy, bossy, but ultimately, the good guy. I saw the mom being the bad guy coming, but now, that final telegram left me with SO MANY QUESTIONS! 🤯
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Yay a great historical fiction book about Egypt! I got a lot of different vibes from this book from Indiana Jones to Tomb Raider with the mystery of Death on the Nile. I am a lover of Egyptian art and history and this book really brought the culture to life! I loved the mix of mystery and romance and thought the author created such a great amount of suspense and intrigue that I didn't want to stop reading.

Inez Olivera leaves Argentina after her parents sudden death in Egypt to find out the cause of their mysterious disappearance. Her uncle is being cagey with the details and Inez wants to know why her parents have passed away and see where they have spent the majority of their time. Although they visited her in Argentina, most of the year they were in archaeological digs in Egypt. Right before his passing, Inez's father had sent her an Egyptian ring. No note was attached, but Inez feels a power when she wears it.

Leaving Argentina and taking a cross-ocean boat was not easy, but her uncle and his companions make it even harder for Inez to stay in Egypt. They want her to leave immediately leaving Inez to question what they are hiding from her about her parents and their archaeological findings. Great read!

I did not realize this was going to be duopoly when I started reading the book, but that makes me even more excited! Now I get to read a second book in this deeply immersive setting!
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I wanted to LOVE it because I loved The Mummy movies, but this one didn't meet expectations.  I enjoyed the historical aspect, and her overall depiction of Egypt.  I think the author did a good job in keeping a mysterious aura about the characters that made you dislike/hate/distrust them, as it played a role into her twists.   I love the references to Cleopatra being a strong leader and not getting her due in history.

As an adult, I go into YA books knowing that the main characters are going to do stupid things, and be annoying.  I can usually overlook it ("because teenagers") but I really didn't like this main character.    For a young adult book, the FMC fits the tropes, so I guess that's good, but she was extra annoying.  The pacing of the first 2/3 was really slow, and it took me longer to get into this book than what I would've liked.  The last 1/3 flew by and what a way of leaving the reader hanging!     Might pick up the next one.   We'll see.  

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin Press and Wednesday Books for the advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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What I did like: I loved all the rich descriptions of Cairo and Egypt and the historical history on ancient Egypt and Cleopatra. The author did a great job setting the scene and creating the atmosphere. Loved all of that. 

What didn’t work for me: Very slow moving plot. It took forever for the story to pick up. The Uncle got on my nerves and the characters could’ve have been more fleshed out. Could’ve used more magic as well. Also, when you reference The Mummy and Death on the Nile (I like 1978 version), two movies that are favs, my expectations are high. The book did not meet those expectations. 
I’m bummed because I really wanted to love this book but overall, I was just bored. The book did end in a cliffhanger and now I want to know what happens next but fool me once…..
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Thanks to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for the eARC!

Inez has been waiting for her parents to summon her on their latest trip and when she gets news that they does, she decides to jaunt to a different continent to find out more.

It's such good writing and characterization! Enemies to lovers done right!
And a doozy of a cliffhanger!

But there's so much more of it dealing with colonialism and theft of culture. Again it's a brilliant ride and I can't wait  to find out what happens next!
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This story I had a hard time connecting with soo it took me a longer time to read it. I am glad I pushed through though because it ended up being a story I really enjoyed.
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Such a fun book! The description of The Mummy meets Death on the Nile is spot on. Loved the historical fantasy elements and all the historical details. Lots of adventure and mystery, twists and turns. Great banter and romantic tension. The cliffhanger is jaw dropping and I’m dying to know what comes next.
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Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you, NetGalley and publishers. 
If you ever watched Indiana Jones or the Mummy, or went through a phase when you were fascinated with ancient Egypt, this book is for you. As the book opens, Inez is eagerly awaiting for her parents to write her, and invite her to join them in their adventures in Egypt, where they’ve spent most of her life. But the letter she does get contains terrible news: her parents are dead. Heartbroken and grieving, she makes the impulsive decision to travel to Egypt on her own, determined to discover the truth of their lives and what  happened in their final days. In this historical fantasy there is love, adventure and betrayal.
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