Cover Image: What the River Knows

What the River Knows

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Member Reviews

This is a BEAUTIFULLY written fantasy that weaves fantasy and forbidden romance into it so intricately. Egyptian mythology had me from the start, but you add in intrigue, romance, mystery, and an action packed plot and it’s just even more amazing. 

Our FMC is one of the best written to date. Her need for adventure was popping off the page and it was just an amazing time. 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press & Wednesday Books for the e-arc.
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It’s the mid-1880s and Inez’s parents have been in the thick of all things ancient Egypt— working and living there the past 17 years while leaving Inez behind with her aunt in Buenos Aires. She has always dreamt of joining them but is consistently told that Cairo is not the place for a young proper woman. When Inez receives an unusual package from her father and then distressing news about her parents, she takes matters into her own hands. A trip across the ocean later and she is in Egypt and she is looking for answers. What follows is a mix of mystery, intrigue, magic and treasure. Will Inez make it through unscathed?

I really enjoyed this novel! I have always been interested in ancient civilizations and Egypt is one that captures the imagination so easily. Placing a novel in a time where tombs are being discovered and treated as opportunities to make money by crooked excavation teams is a perfect opportunity for a great story. The added magical element to it really makes the novel interesting and engaging. I enjoyed Inez’s character and her strength in a foreign land. The relationship between her and Whit is also a fun one to follow. The novel kept me flipping the pages all the way to the very end and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book! 5 stars.

Review based on a digital Advanced Reader’s Copy provided by St. Martin’s Press/Wednesday Books and NetGalley. Thank you!
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thank you to netgalley for this arc!

I cannot say enough good things about this book, the storytelling was phenomenal. I felt so immersed in the story that when the ending came I knew I needed more before it was even over. I loved everything about the book except the massive cliffhanger at the end of the book! I mean that ending? wow! 
The elements of the colonialism that went on in Egypt were so well researched and thought out (i have a small background in archaeology and antiquities and the illegal trade of them). Whit was a 10/10 love interest for me, his background was a little explored but not enough that I saw the twist coming. HER MOTHER?! absolutely criminal, literally. I need to know what happens next asap!
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The premise for Isabel Ibañez's WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS was so promising, and how it was described (Indiana Jones-esque, for lovers of The Mummy, etc.) had me so excited for the story--exactly the postcolonial YA fantasy I have been looking for. Unfortunately, the story and characters fell flat for me. I've read some of Ibañez's other work, and she can definitely write, but WHAT THE RIVER KNOWS is disappointing. I'm genuinely perplexed by all the five star reviews. Overall, the story needed a major overhaul in terms of plot development and pacing. There is no satisfying arc or character development. And the cliffhanger ending...instead of exciting me, was just annoying. On the plus side, Ibañez clearly did her research. I never felt pulled out of the setting. And I didn't predict the twists. I just wish there had been more or different voices on the editing/feedback team.
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Book Name: What the River Knows
Author: Isabel Ibañez

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books for an ARC of Isabel Ibañez’s What the River Knows

Stars: 5
Spice : 0

New Series: 
Cliffhanger of EIPC proportions 
Fast Paced 
High Stakes 
Dual POV (Swoon)
Alternative Magical Historical Romance Mystery 
Argentinian Representation 

- Thoughts.
    - ****The Mummy with Magic!* ****
    - Romance was brillant
    - Complex Family Relationships
    - FMC's naivety was infuriating at times
    - The ending was an insane cliffhanger… need more
    - beliavble magic system
    - believable romance arc
    - Side charetyers were brillant isadora and tio ricardo and eliveira
    - So good if you like the mummy, like fantasy, or like magical alternative history this is a must-read
- Tropes
    - Rivals to Lovers
    - Hidden Identities
    - Secret
    - Miscommunication
    - Found family
    - Betrayal
    - Family Dynamics
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The vibes? Immaculate. The story? Immaculate. The romance? Immaculate. That cliffhanger? Ma'am I'm gonna need the next book posthaste.

If you are like me and had phase where you watched the mummy on repeat solely for Brendan Fraser than do yourself a favor and read this. Thank you netgalley for the e arc
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I believe that books often find us at the right time and this is exactly the case with What The River Knows.
I've had an arc since January but I didnt have the time to pick it up till now when just recently I caught The Mummy (original and remake) on TV and they really put me in the mood for this type of story .

It's been a hot minute since I've read anything by Isabel Ibañez so I didn't really go into this with any expectations, but the story still managed to impress and surprise me.

WtRK has everything I love - adventure, romance, mystery, magic, secrets, lies, betrayal, morally grey characters - and I enjoyed every minute of it!
II perfectly blends Egyptian mythology and historical details with magical elements blurring the lines between fiction and reality which is just about one of my fav things ever. 

I had a hard time putting this down and it's difficult for me to even write a review since I loved everything about it.

The characters are fantastic. 
19 year old Inez is the type of heroine I love and relate to - willful, stubborn, curious, tenacious, defiant. She could be too trusting and naïve at times which made perfect sense with the way she was brought up and she went through a lot in this book, my heart broke for her more than once. 
Inez also has a great sense of humor and her banter with Whit was on point. 
Speaking of Whit, I'm obsessed with him. He's morally grey, witty, smart, loyal, has a great intuition and he wears many masks to keep people at arms length, which Inez saw right through.
Their romance was forbidden and torturously slow burn and I loved every second. The banter and tension between them was *chef's kiss*.

I wouldn't say that the book is dual POV but I appreciate we got glimpses of Whit's inner thoughts, only wish we got them more often.

I really enjoyed the magic system and I hope it's explored even more in the sequel. 

The last few chapters were crazy! There was an earlier plot twist that didn't surprise me but those few chapters...... I'm still reeling!! I can't believe I have to wait for the sequel, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN AAAGGHHHH
send help and sequel 'cause this was fantastic and I need to know what's gonna happen next!!

Eternal gratitude to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC
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Isabel Ibanez just keeps getting better.

Set in 1884, Inez is pulled into the world of ancient Egyptian history and magic when she learns of her parents' deaths and vows to figure out what truly happened to them.

There's so much to dissect in this book. From the worldbuilding to the slow burn romance to the mystery and magic of Egypt!! The plot was incredibly engaging, albeit a bit slow at times and frustrating because the mystery aspect seems to just stem from people actively keeping Inez in the dark. And while the first quarter of the book dragged, the rest of the book was fun to read and I adored the vast Egyptian history that was explored.

There are a few things I wished this book had more off, especially when it's harking The Mummy and Death on the Nile vibes and seemed to lack much of it. Where's the murder? The fast-paced danger? The mummy???? I also wanted more longing/tension between Whit and Inez, and got a mid version of Evie and Rick. 

But I enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read the sequel because that ending?? I have so many questions that I'm praying get answered soon.
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What the River Knows is a wonderfully captivating historical fantasy with mystery, betrayals, adventure, magical artifacts and romance.

Inez, who was raised in Argentina, receives word that her parents have died on their annual stint in Egypt. Everything about their time spent in Egypt has been a huge mystery to Inez, especially since they never bring her along or divulge any details about their archaeological projects. Inez makes the journey to Egypt to track down her uncle and uncover any answers about her parents’ disappearance. While in Egypt against her uncle wishes, Inez quickly realizes that her parents hid everything from her and that there’s something amiss about her family’s business in excavating historical sites. There are small touches of fantastical elements - mainly surrounding magical artifacts that belonged to Cleopatra, one of which Inez is in possession of, that can be used to help locate Cleopatra’s tomb.

Inez’s resilience is truly a highlight of this story. Not only did she cross the Atlantic Ocean alone to visit a country she’d never been to and find an uncle she didn’t know or fully trust, she was extremely determined to find out what happened to her parents while everyone was telling her to go home. Inez meets Whit, who is the mysterious, brooding young Englishman who works for her uncle. Their tension and banter was so entertaining and I was eagerly waiting for the progression of their relationship. They reluctantly start relying on each other because they have no one else to confide in. Whit’s character development was a joy to witness and I cannot wait to learn more about his past in the sequel.

The betrayals and plot twists really kept me on the edge of my seat! I thought I knew where the story was going but I was sooooo wrong. The ending was MEAN and I need the sequel NOW!!
Thank you Wednesday for the advanced copy.
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dnf. the main character is every single insufferable ya heroine archetype wrapped into one, and i naively thought we’d left all those not like other girls cliches behind long ago.
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This was excellent historical fantasy, and there were many facets of this book that I found interesting.  I enjoyed the setting in 1880s Egypt, as well as the ties to Ancient Egypt through the book’s focus on archaeology.  I appreciated that the author took the time to demonstrate and discuss British colonialism in the country during that time period and its many effects, including the theft and illegal sale of historical artifacts and the fact that Egyptians were generally not allowed access to their own history.

I also found the magic system and its ties to Cleopatra interesting, and appreciated how it was used to connect the two time periods, as well as her and Inez.  I hope all of this is explored in even more detail in the next book.  And speaking of Inez, she was wonderful.  Even if she didn’t always make the smartest decisions, she always strove to learn from her mistakes and do the right thing.  I understood why she did what she did and sympathized with her decisions.  I greatly admired her determination, especially since she was at a disadvantage in several ways throughout the book.

And that ending…a cliffhanger if there ever was one.  I’m excited to see how everything will tie together in the next book.
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A fun, mysterious historical fiction novel set in the 1800’s. For everyone who grew up obsessed with ancient Egypt (or the Mummy, like me) this is a rich love letter to the beauty and history of the country. But with a twist!

In What The River Knows, enchanted objects and artifacts are a part of daily life. I found it a really cute and charming detail, since the people would stumble upon old shoes that ignited fire or scarves that could shrink any object they could cover. I was expectantly waiting for the next enchanted object to appear on the page!

The protagonist, Inez, leaves Argentina in search of the truth behind her parents’ mysterious deaths. She travels to Cairo, where she meets a cast of characters that all seem to be keeping their own secrets… so who really knows if they’re really telling the truth about her parents?

There’s also a romance plot with lot’s of escaping from the death together and silly banter in between. (My favorite).

I gave it 4 stars because the mystery tended to feel repetitive, or the protagonist wouldn’t do enough to keep learning more information- therefore the plot would slow down or lose any sense of urgency.
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The thing that Inez Oliveras has longed for more than anything else is to accompany her parents on one of their many expeditions to Egypt. Instead, she's like back in Argentina with her Aunt and cousins waiting for her parent's short return trip home before they're off and away again on their adventures, but Inez bets that the next letter home will include an invitation for her to join them. That letter comes, but from her Uncle and with the shocking, and heartbreaking, revelation of their deaths. 

Feeling there is more to the story, Inez travels to Egypt on her own to look into her parents' deaths and comes face to face with her near-stranger of an Uncle - who is now her guardian -  and his assistant. They don't want Inez anywhere within Egypt especially not to one of their sites, but she thwarts them at every turn. 

Now, filled with the irrepressible magic of a bygone era, Inez finds herself torn between finding out what happened to her parents and a discovery that, in the right hands, could change the world. 

I loved the ambiance of the story. It does call to mind The Mummy (which the book is likened to in the synopsis). It's the history and the mystery and the adventure of discovering treasures thought lost, while also giving a healthy dose of background on what it actually means when people dig up these ancient artifacts and sell them. 

I like the relationship between Inez and Whit. I was surprised, in a good way, with how open Inez is about her burgeoning feelings for him and informs him of this. Even though there are obstacles (aren't there always) I like that it's out in the open. I think it slightly reduces some of the angst that can cloud up too much of a story at times.

On the other hand of that, though, we deal a lot with Inez's naivete. I don't begrudge Inez's naiveté or her impulsivity. She's been kept away from things her entire life and has yearned for her parents' love and attention. No wonder something happens to them and she throws herself into finding out what. Also, I can't fault her when everyone around her is clearly keeping secrets and instead trying to shut her out. This is especially apparent after the third or forth time she thwarted the plans to keep her "safe" thereby at least indicating that she's capable. I think this ends up leaving Inez more vulnerable. You can't prepare for what you don't know about. 

Overall, I like the trip through 19th century Egypt. Some of my other  minor qualms I can put aside seeing as how this is only the first book in a series and, I'll tell you now, Isabel Ibañez leaves us with such a tantalizing ending that I cannot help but want to read more. Inez's adventure is just getting started.
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The Mummy meets Dead in the Nile in this adventurous book. Inez is stubborn, her curiosity has no bounds so when news of her parents’ death reached her, she immediately embarks in the adventure of her life to find out what happened to them. And I will tell you, there will be a dozen theories going through your head on how this book is going but the plot twist and then the plot bomb at the end will have you at the edge of your seat, biting your lip and begging for book two. 

Now, I wish we had learnt more about Inez’ visions about Cleopatra. I’m sure we’ll learn the significance of them in the next book(s) but I would have to see more of that but I’ll “patiently” wait! 

This book is full of mystery, magic with a dash of romance, I truly cannot wait!
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This was a really fun YA Historical fantasy but ultimately not a new favourite. The ancient Egypt vibes were really good and I did quite enjoy Ines as a main character. 

The plot twists sometimes made me roll my eyes BUT that did make it a fun read.
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Set in 1880's Egypt, with the backdrop of archaeology, ancient Egyptian mythology, history and magic, we follow Inez Olivera as she travels from Buenos Aires to Cairo, in search of truth, but finds danger, intrigue and betrayal instead. 

First of all, what an interesting setting, I haven't read anything set in Egypt before, and given my fascination with Ancient Egypt, that sucked me right in. I would say this was very light in the fantasy though, but the way it was incorporated was very believable. 

I liked Inez but I sometimes got annoyed with her stubbornness, rashness and gullibility, which just entangled her further in deeper messes. Her banter, friendship (?) and budding romance (?) with Whit provided a lightness to the heavier plot points. What's up with him anyway? He's as morally gray as they come. 

The first half was really slow, full of world building and history lessons, but the second half flew by. There's action filled with mysteries, deceit, and revelations (one after the other). The twists got me dizzy and gasping out loud. 

From the start to the end, you won't know who to trust. 

That cliffhanger though! I don't know what to believe anymore, what even is the truth? I need the sequel as soon as possible please.

Read this if you enjoy:
Historical adventures 
Ancient Egyptian mythology
Drama and intrigue
Rivals to lovers 
"Touch her and you die" energy

Thank you to the author, St Martin's Press, Wednesday Books, and Netgalley for this eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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This book has left me so angry honestly. It took a bit to get to the main parts of the books but I was captivated through the whole book. 

All the twist and the betrayal throughout has me left feeling broken and angry. The way it ended has me excited for a sequel though.
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Inez Olivera has spent her whole life dreaming of accompanying her parents on their yearly six month long archeological excursion to Egypt. Unfortunately, her dreams are shattered when she receives a letter detailing the mysterious and tragic deaths of her parents. In search of answers, Inez makes the decision to leave Buenos Aires behind, and sail to Cairo. Upon her arrival she is greeted by the handsome yet incredibly infuriating Whitford Hayes, who, on her uncles orders, immediately tries to send her back home. Guided by ancient magic, Inez must evade Whit’s attempts to thwart her, and uncover the truth she is so desperately looking for. 

I really, really enjoyed this read!! I loved the setting for this book, Egypt in the 1880s. There’s a good mix of both actual historical facts and fiction, and an added layer of magic that feels very believable. I love the idea of magic once being this great force but is now only felt as remnants in objects from long ago. 

The characters are also very interesting and different from each other. Inez is a little naive but headstrong and opinionated. I really resonated with her character. She has a lot of growth throughout the book as she learns how the world works outside of her home in Buenos Aires, and who can be trusted. Then there’s Whit, the secretive Englishman working for her uncle. His character was fun, stubborn, and a little morally grey. He made for a very interesting companion to Inez. I enjoyed the portrayal of her uncle as well, how you never knew his intentions or if he could be trusted.

There was always this air of mystery that kept me captivated throughout the entire book. There are many moments where I wasn’t sure what was the truth and what was a red herring. And that ending! I honestly was not aware before going into this that it was going to be a series, so I was pleasantly surprised by the cliffhanger! 

I am so happy I had a chance to read and review an advance copy of Isabel Ibañez book, and I am eagerly waiting for the next one! Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press & Wednesday Books for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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What the River Knows is a historical fantasy novel set in Egypt in the mid-1800s. The story is steeped in magic, mystery and intrigue. 

I have seen comparisons to The Mummy which is not entirely untrue. We do get The Mummy vibes in the feel of adventure and exploration. However, don't come into this book expecting animated mummies rising from the dead. Instead this is an action packed adventure/mystery with a light romance and magic imbued items that have certain abilities. 

I really enjoyed reading What the River Knows. The plot was engaging, the banter between the characters was cheeky and playful without being overdone and we have an Argentinian heroine that is bold, competent and fun. 

I can't wait to read the sequel after THAT ending. 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
Pub Date: October 31st, 2023
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I absolutely loved this book! It’s a historical fantasy which usually isn’t my most favorite but this worked so well for me. It was fast paced, I LOVED the fmc, the Egyptian history and moments about Cleopatra were so interesting, it was full of mystery and betrayals, and the BANTER and TENSION between Inez and Whit had me sweating!!! The archaeology aspects were so interesting to read about and I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who I could trust. I loved this so much and will absolutely be buying a physical copy when it releases on Tuesday!!!

Thank you so much Wednesday Books & NetGalley for the arc!!
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