Cover Image: What the River Knows

What the River Knows

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Member Reviews

Oh how I wanted to love this book! The setting and overall plot had me intrigued and the promise of a Rick/Evelyn style romance had me downright excited! The first quarter of the book captured my attention with its Egyptian atmosphere and clever character depictions. Sadly the book began to feel like a slog for me somewhere  in the middle with the characters and plot stagnating. By the time the story started moving again I had all but lost interest.
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This book was fantastic. The perfect  mix of adventure, romance, and thrilling mystery. I need book two right now!
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I didn't realize this book was YA until I listed it as "Currently Reading" but that didn't lower my enjoyment at all! As someone who has always been interest in Ancient and Modern Egypt, I absolutely loved the setting of this novel. My favorite restaurant is Egyptian and it was really fun seeing all the foods I loved being talked about in such a positive light. The hunt for Cleopatra's tomb is something that I've been following very closely recently and it was cool seeing how much research the author needed to put into this novel. Every twist in this surprised me and I didn't see any of them coming, but at the same time, they didn't seem unplausible. My biggest complaint about this novel is that I really didn't want the love story line to be happening. I do understand why the love interest became the love interest, but I just wanted them to either remain friends or for the yearning to continue the entire time. I'm really looking forward to reading more from this series and this author in general and I'm already excited to re-read this novel in preparation to read the second book.
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✩ ✩ ✩ ✩ /5

I loved that this setting was so different than other fantasy books I’ve read lately. I felt like it was a fun, easy read and I enjoyed the world in it. I’m excited to read the next book and see where this story goes!

Thank you to the author & @netgalley for the ARC 💕
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What The River Knows is about Inez Olivera, a 19th century Argentinian girl, whose parents have been away studying Egypt for half of her life.  One day she receives a letter from Egypt where her uncle informs her that her parents have tragically died in the desert.  She immediately rushes to Egypt herself to search for answers to what happened to her parents.  This book was said to be like Death on the Nile meets the Mummy, and I think that is a spectacular and accurate comparison.  While this book takes place in 19th century Egypt and Argentina, there is a fantasy element where there is an old ancient magic that exists in the world.  I loved that even though this was a true fantasy, it felt more like magical realism because of how well the magic was incorporated into the existing world and history.  You could tell how deeply researched this book was too.  The amount of specific details that were included made the world vivid and beautiful and fully immerses the reader into the culture and history.  I loved Inez right away.   She was feisty, intelligent, and powerful, and she goes after what she wants, not taking no for an answer.  I admire her and aspire to be more like her.  Her uncle’s assistant, Mr. Hayes, was so hot, and their banter was top notch.  On top of all of that, this book was a wild and twisty ride!  The ending was jaw-droppingly insane and had me audibly gasping and screaming.  It also ends on a huge cliffhanger, so there better be another book coming!
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I was not a super fan of this..... 
sad because I really wanted to, it was slow and confusing. It may just be me but maybe this historical fantasy was just not for me. 
MMC and FMC seemed boring to me, there was no click between them. 
It took me forever to want to pick this back up. 

I recommend others to read, and maybe you'll have a different opinion and love it! 

Thank you Netgalley for an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Absolutely loved this book! Thank you for this ARC copy ..... this is a classic magical story. I was absolutely inspired and intrigued by the characters ans the storyline that is unlike any other. Isabel is a phenomenal storyteller that changes readers hearts and minds. #whattheriverknows #netgalley
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Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the ARC of this book!

I absolutely loved this book and it made The Mummy (1999) lover in me so happy. It's got action, adventure, romance, mystery and I will not stop recommending it.

The book starts with Inez setting off across the Pacific alone on a mission to find out what happened to her parents in Egypt. Her uncle tries to make her go back home, but Inez is determined to stay and learn more about the place where her parents spent more time than with her. There's a dose of magic mixed in as we learn about ancient Egypt and the hunt for Cleopatra's tomb. The banter and tension between Inez and Whit is so good, and is the closest thing to the Evie/Rick relationship from The Mummy that I've seen since. It left me with so many questions but I'm so excited to read the next book when it comes out (which I hope isn't too far away).
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Inez is determined to find out what happened to her parents who disappeared from a dig in Egypt, and she won't stop looking until she finds answers. 

There is so much to love about this book!  First of all Egypt and mummies will always grab my attention, but add in Nile Crocodiles, gun wielding proper ladies, magic shoes, and a great plot and this is a book you should not miss out on.  I have always enjoyed being swept up in the magic of Egypt and Ibanez makes that incredibly easy with her descriptions of this beautiful country.  It felt like I was part of the adventure.  Plus there is a little bit of literal magic in the story which adds a fun layer.  The main character, Inez, is such a strong heroine and perfect to follow.  She is headstrong and independent, and not even the reader finds it easy to guess what she will do next.  Honestly all the characters are well written and I want so much more of them.  The romance is a slow burn that feels natural, and there's no misunderstanding trope that drives me crazy.  Instead there's witty conversations between Inez and Whit, and a sweet protectiveness mixed with frustration over her inability to take "no" for an answer.   The plot was pretty well paced and I quickly devoured the whole book.  There were some twists that I guessed, but also some I wasn't expecting!

I definitely recommend this book, especially if you grew up in the era of Brendan Frasier and The Mummy, or enjoy Ancient Egypt and mythology.  I feel like this is written kind of as an older YA, the romance isn't super steamy.  I look forward to reading more from Isabel Ibanez and would love to continue this adventure!  I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and St Martin's Press.
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What an inventive work--this historical fantasy has a tidbit of everything for a reader, adventure, history, romance and magical elements. it's a wonderful read and I fully expect it to have lots of award buzz.  Inez feels much like a an orphan even before she formally is one. Upon her jet-setting parents mysterious death, she learns she has inherited the family fortune as well as a guardian who has summoned her to join him in Egypt.  Pretty quickly she realizes there's much more to the story of her parents' demise and she herself might be in mortal danger.  Again-teens will love!
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This a wonderful narrative about Egyptian lore and culture. Though classified as YA, I wonder if the narrator really counts as a a young adult. I did think that she is a good model of resourcefulness, persistence, and strength. There were parts of this novel that were very predictable, but the plot itself was intriguing. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel.
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What do I do with myself now that I've finished this book and have to wait for book two?!

I was immediately sold by the description of The Mummy (love!) meets Death on the Nile, but I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Inez was a great main character and I loved watching her adventure from Buenos Aires to Cairo and beyond. I caught myself going, "what are you doing?!" several times throughout this book and I think the author did a great job of capturing the restless spirit of an 18 year old. At times her actions seemed a bit farfetched given the time period so I had to suspend my disbelief a bit. There were plenty of twists here and I wasn't sure who I could trust. While I did see a few of them coming, I loved being kept on my feet. 

Also, I loved Whit. I thought he was the perfect love interest for Inez and they complimented eachother well. I enjoyed the small moments we got to see from his point of view, and I hope we get to see more of that in the next book. I have so many questions! I also loved the elements of magic and alchemy. 

But that last page...Isabel Ibañez how dare you do that to us! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for a review copy. I can't wait for the next book in the series!
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Thank you to Wednesday Books for a digital ARC. I didn't really know what to expect going into this book other than that it takes place in Egypt and the MC is from Argentina. I really enjoyed all the adventure. This book has The Mummy vibes but with some magical realism included. You could even say it's got some Indiana Jones vibes but not as much action. If you're expecting major fantasy elements, this probably isn't going to meet your expectations. I'd say it's more historical fictions with some magical realism. I liked that Inez is adventurous and willing to take risks. Whit was a fun character to get to know and I liked reading a little of his POV. There are some major plot twists that I didn't see coming and some other things that I expected. I don't want to give any spoilers so that's all I'll say about that, but the story keeps moving and I was intrigued enough to stay up late reading it. Just so you know, this book will leave you wanting book 2 asap and it doesn't even have a title yet. If you're okay with waiting for the sequel, I'd say go ahead and pick this one up.
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I've struggled with this one. It has been a very slow story to start and at 25% I'm just not in the mood to be the right reader for this series. I've heard so much positivity around this story that I would encourage you to check out others' reviews. But do know, if it feels slow you aren't alone. I will give this another chance in the future.
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The set-up for this story was immaculate. Just the banter between Inez and Whit... was *chef's kiss* was just so sassy for the timeline the author had provided. You wouldn't have expected that kind of sass from a proper lady in those days. 

The book was pitched as "The Mummy meets Death on the Nile", and it lived up to the pitch. You can definitely visualize Whit as an English Rick O'Connell. Just more rugged and withdrawn. He chooses when he wants to open up. 

Inez is a young girl whose parents chose to parent from overseas. She grew up wishing she was next to her parents in Cairo. 

The search for Cleopatra's tomb and mysticism is the driving mystery of this title. The search for family and answers is what pushes Inez to do things she wouldn't have normally done in Argentina. The magic pulls everyone to Cairo. 

Desperately waiting for the second installement to see what happens next to Whit and Inez.
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This book immediately pulled me in. I was so immersed right away. We learn that Inez's parents have always spent half the year in Egypt digging and looking for ancient artifacts, and the other half in Argentina with Inez. One year, instead of her parents coming home, she gets a letter from her uncle who also lives in Egypt saying her parents had gotten lost in the desert and died. Inez needs to know why, so she runs away from her aunt who she lives with and makes her way to Egypt. This book takes place in the 1800's, so she needs to hide and pretend she's a widow since girls aren't supposed to travel alone. 
I was so invested in Inez's journey to Egypt to find out what happened to her parents. But once she got there, the intrigue really slowed down. It wasn't boring, but I just wasn't as intrigued as I was at the beginning. By the end, I really needed to know what happened though, so the intrigue was back.
I liked the characters, Inez was very independent and determined to do whatever it took to get answers out of anyone about her parents. Once Inez gets to Egypt she meets Whit who works for her uncle. I liked his character as well. He tried to be this scary person (and partly was), but he had another side to him as well. 
We get almost all of the story from Inez's POV, but randomly we would get a very short POV from Whit. It felt kind of weird since they were so short and very sparse. I wish it was either more 50/50, or not at all. 
There was magic in this book that had a really interesting premise. There were certain items that were made with magic long in the past. The less people to handle them, the more potent the magic remains. I wish this magic system was explained better, or incorporated more into the story. It's not mentioned a ton, so I'm hoping it gets more page time in the next book. 
There were several plot twists in this book, I felt like I guessed the "big" one very early on and I feel like Inez should have also, but I can see why she didn't. There were several at the very end that had me guessing which made it exciting. 
While I'm hoping a few things are changed and expanded upon in the second book, I really can't wait to read it!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book.

Inez is devastated when her parents die while on an excursion in Egypt. Looking for answers, she travels there, alone, to meet up with her uncle. While there, she is met with Whit, her uncle's associate, who intrigues and infuriates her like no other. Egypt doesn't give up her secrets easily, and neither does her uncle, but Inez is determined to discover what happened to her parents. 

I loved this book. While there were moments in the beginning and middle that were a little slow, overall, it was a book that had me absorbed in the narrative and wanting more. It's one of those books that you don't want to end, and when it does, you need more. I can't wait for the next one!
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Inez Olivera enjoys a good life among the wealthy set in late-19th-century Buenos Aires. She loves her cousins, one of whom is her best friend. But she misses her parents half the time — they travel every year for six months to Egypt, their second home. Not only does she miss having them around, but she is frustrated that they never take her along. Inez yearns to travel to exotic locations; she’d love to see this place they hold so dear.

Then Inez gets a letter from her uncle, whose archaeological expeditions her parents had been funding. He tells her they have gone missing in the desert and must be dead. She’s devastated, but she can’t simply stay put and accept that they’re gone. She packs her bags, leaves a note for her aunt and boards a ship to Egypt. When she arrives, her uncle insists she cannot stay. While 19-year-old Inez has inherited her parents’ riches, her uncle is in charge of that money until she is older. She has to listen to what he says.

Or not. Inez manages to keep finding ways to elude a journey back to Argentina, even when her uncle assigns his annoying (but handsome and charming-when-he-wants-to-be) assistant to make sure she gets on the ship. She wants so much to go on this next expedition with her uncle; it’s secret and clearly important. Inez’s father had sent her an antique ring that had some magic attached to it, and she’s putting together clues that tell her it must all have to do with Cleopatra. And she knows she can help: the magic in the ring has attached to her and she could sense more that may be connected to that legendary queen.

Her uncle doesn’t want Inez in danger, and she has no idea just how much she is in for once she does get herself on the expedition. It’s not clear whom she can trust: indeed, it’s as clear as the muddy river water.

This is my first time reading a book by Isabel Ibañez. Another reviewer on Rated Reads has read two of her young adult fantasies: Woven in Moonlight and Written in Starlight. What the River Knows had a bit stronger content than those two (so it was more than I was expecting); neither had any strong language. I’d say while this is officially young adult I’d almost call it “new adult.” I enjoyed the book, and I was definitely turning pages quickly toward the end, as the action got intense and some of the mystery played out. But there were times in the first half that I wasn’t quite as engaged in it as I may have expected to be. Perhaps because the characters fell into categories so easily: feisty, stubborn heroine; handsome and charming hero with a difficult past who may or may not be trustworthy. Toward the end, they felt a bit more real to me, but it took a while. I was also super disappointed to figure out about 85% of the way through that this was going to be the first in a series and the story would not conclude here. It’s good to know that ahead of time.
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I wish I could give an entire review bc this book was brilliant, however due to SMP’s silence on their employees racist and harmful rhetoric I cannot review publicly
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What the River Knows by Isabel Ibanez was such a good and entertaining read. I couldn't get enough of it and I will have to patiently wait for another book. The characters felt real, the setting was done so well and overall, the story kept me entertained.
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