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What the River Knows - Review

What the River Knows ♦ Isabel Ibañez | Review

What the River Knows — A Tribute to Myths and Magic

What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez is a fascinating trip that lures readers into a world where the ordinary and the extraordinary blend perfectly. It is a tribute to myth and magic, as well as a gripping narrative of love and sacrifice. I found myself captivated by a brilliantly created novel that easily blends mythology, mystery, and passionate emotions with each page turn.

What the River KnowsWhat the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez
Published: 14. November 2023
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 416
Genre: Adventure, Egyptian, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Audience: Young Adult
Shelve: Read 2023
Link to Goodreads

The Mummy meets Death on the Nile in this lush, immersive historical fantasy set in Egypt filled with adventure, a rivals-to-lovers romance, and a dangerous race.

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 an ancient 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.

Buy the Book: Amazon*

What the River Knows ♦ Isabel Ibañez


Ibañez’s skill as a storyteller is clear from the first chapter, bringing readers into the lives of the characters with vivid imagery and fascinating conversation. The protagonist’s journey, which is weighted with personal hardships as well as the weight of fate, feels surprisingly authentic. The intricacy of each character’s connections and the depth of their emotions are depicted with such precision that it’s difficult not to be emotionally invested in their futures.

The world-building in What the River Knows is outstanding. The author offers a vivid picture of a universe in which old tales merge with late-nineteenth-century times, producing a tapestry of wonder and enchantment. The seamless integration of real-world elements with mythological folklore is enthralling, providing a fresh and unusual perspective that kept me flipping pages late into the night.

Furthermore, the story’s tempo is well maintained, keeping suspense and tension at precisely the appropriate proportions. The plot’s ebb and flow are expertly handled, providing moments of calm among dramatic, heart-pounding episodes. The story’s twists and turns are both shocking and satisfying, constructing a narrative that keeps you interested from start to finish.

While the book provides an extremely immersive experience, there were times when I hoped for a bit more depth in some of the secondary characters and their motivations. Despite this, the story’s overarching tapestry is so engaging that it rarely detracts from the novel’s overall enjoyment.



Finally, What the River Knows is a book that transcends age and genre, appealing to both young adult and adult readers. It’s a story about the enduring power of love, the tenacity of the human spirit, and the riddle of old stories. Isabel Ibañez has created a gripping world full of wonder, making this story a must-read for anybody looking for an intriguing escape into a world where the river actually knows everything.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

About Isabel Ibañez

Isabel Ibañez

Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and is the proud daughter of two Bolivian immigrants. A true word nerd, she received her degree in creative writing and has been a Pitch Wars mentor for three years. Isabel is an avid moviegoer and loves hosting family and friends around the dinner table. She currently lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband, their adorable dog, and a serious collection of books.

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