The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Posted On 28 January 2019

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 32 responses

wolfinthewhale.jpgThe Wolf in the Whale was an absolutely gorgeous read.  I adored it.  It pulled me in from the first page and held me under its spell to the final pages – in fact beyond because I also read the information provided by the author about Inuit words/research, etc..  It gave me a flood of emotions making me well up with tears at one point and then smile and laugh ridiculously the next.  I just literally couldn’t get enough of this and in fact tore through it in two pages – well, sleep is overrated anyway, especially when you’re reading such a good book.  On top of that the main character has to be one of the best written characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  Her will to survive against the odds and in the harshest conditions, even struggling to be herself and keep her family alive make for compulsive reading indeed.  Truly, I don’t think I can do this book justice in this review but I’ll give it a good try.  Prepare yourself for some gushing.

I’m not going to over elaborate on the plot.  The story brings to us a character called Omat.  Omat’s birth is watched by the Gods, she could be the portent of good or evil depending on how you look at things.  When she’s born she receives the protection of the Wolf Spirit whilst at the same time angering the Sea Mother. She has the soul of a hunter and her path will follow that of her grandfather’s before her.  She will become an angakkuq, a shamen, who can talk with spirits and use their knowledge to guide her family.

This is without doubt a brutal world so you need to be aware of that before picking this one up.  Life for the Inuits was tough.  Staying alive in such a landscape is hard enough by itself, on top of that Omat’s little family is shrinking following the death of a number of their hunters in a tragic accident, they need new people in order to keep their family going.  On top of this there is the very real fear of starvation.  Omat’s family must follow the movements of the animals they need to survive, but they barely have enough people to hunt, so when they’re surprised by the arrival of more Inuit’s who can help, even though things don’t feel quite right, it feels like a blessing.  Now, this is a turning point for Omat and for the story and I must use the opportunity to say that things become violent in more ways than one from this point onward.  To be clear, I don’t think there’s anything gratuitous and I wouldn’t call this a grimdark style book but that doesn’t mean that things don’t become both grim and dark and there are definitely triggers contained within in terms of violence towards women and children, rape and even mention of torture.  I certainly don’t want to put anybody off by mentioning those things and to be honest I think they’re all necessary in terms of the story and the realistic vision it portrays.

Characters.  Omat is an amazing character to read about with her inner conflicts.  Born a female with the soul of her deceased father and raised for many years unaware that she’s actually a female.  She makes for absolutely fascinating reading and I literally couldn’t get enough of her.  There are other characters of course but for me Omat stole the show completely – well, her wolves were pretty awesome too.  Alongside Omat’s family and the eventual inclusion of the Vikings and one particular character called Brandr – who does eventually become a romantic focus in the story – there are of course the Gods.  This book is amazing in respect that this isn’t just about a changing world in which people are still grasping to their faiths and beliefs, it’s also about a clash of the Gods – themselves facing the grim reality of ever reducing numbers of worshippers – they’re in fact fighting for their own survival.

It’s this coming together of Gods and people – both in times of conflict – that felt so original and fascinating.  I loved it – to be honest, I’m always happy when reading about the Norse Gods and Loki in particular, who is up to his usual meddling here.  But, learning of the Inuit’s beliefs as well was just magical for me.  I couldn’t get enough of it.

The world portrayed is cold and more often than not dark but that didn’t keep the family down – survival is the aim of the game and they work relentlessly in that respect.  More than that I loved their coming together to tell stories which themselves helped to add an extra layer to the strength of the world building.

In terms of criticisms.  I didn’t have anything to be honest.  This hooked me from start to finish, maybe the ending could have taken a little longer but that’s just me being greedy and wanting more.

This is a fascinating, superbly written, captivating, emotional rollercoaster of a book.  I loved it and want more.  I’m going to say that this was a perfect read and that I had a wonderful time with it.

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher, through Netgalley, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.


32 Responses to “The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky”

  1. waytoofantasy

    Wow, this sounds fantastic. Another book to add to my gigantic TBR pile. 😀

  2. Liam

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I’ve had the NetGalley Arc sat on my kindle for a while due to its length but you’ve sold me on getting more stuck into it 🙂

  3. Timy

    I have a copy of this. I keep hearing good things about it. I’ll see if I can bump it up on my TBR

  4. bkfrgr

    This sounds phenomenal! I’ve seen one other review that was also super positive. I am definitely in the market for something beautiful and awe-inspiring right now, and this sounds just the thing. A really great review, Lyn. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Many thanks. I loved this and want everyone to read it so I can hush some more! Lynn 😄

      • bkfrgr

        😀 Well I’ll get on it then! 😀

  5. Carmen

    So, an amazing read overall. I’m glad you devoured this one in two sittings and that it dazzled you. The darkness would put me off though.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah. It’s a harsh environment and when the invasion begins it also becomes brutal. But. It’s not the majority of the book, in fact rather a small element when I think about it. I felt like I should include something though because being forewarned is better I think. Lynn 😄

  6. Tammy

    I’m so excited to start this!! I have one more review book I have to squeeze in then this is up next. I just skimmed your review because I want to go in as blind as possible😁

  7. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Sold! I’ve been eyeing this one and I’m going to work it into my year-long Fantasy challenge somehow.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Excellent. I hope you live it when you pick it up. Lynn 😄

  8. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I’ve been eyeing this book for a long time now and trying to find the way to fit it into my reading queue without getting distracted by other equally fascinating books (easier said than done… SIGH). Still, it’s wonderful to learn about a fantasy story set in a world so different from what we are used to in our reading choices, and based on actual lore from the Inuit. One of these days… One of these days… 🙂
    Great review, thanks for sharing!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I loved the setting. It was so different and the way of life so fascinating to read about. Plus all the different myths, God’s, and other folklore. I just adored this. But. I hear you about your reading schedule and you can’t read everything after all. Never say never though! That could be a reader’s motto after all. Lynn 😄

  9. sjhigbee

    What a fabulous review, Lynn:)). I’m delighted that you enjoyed it so much – but it’s a brick of a book… I love the idea of getting hold of this one, but it’s a matter of time!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah. I think since reading I’ve realised how many pages were involved. It certainly didn’t feel like that whilst reading. In fact I read this in two days. To be fair though, I ignored everyone and everything. I was in a trance. I think you will love it and hope your schedule eventually gives you breathing space to fit it in. Lynn 😄

      • sjhigbee

        It certainly sounds special if you were pulled into the world to that extent. And thank you, I’ll do my very best to squeeze it in:)

      • @lynnsbooks

        Yes, yes, do squeeze it in. It’s so good.
        Lynn 😀

  10. Greg

    I was curious about this after reading her Immortals series. I’m definitely thinking of giving this one a shot!

  11. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’m nodding my head to everything in this review, and even though we already gushed all over this book on Twitter, I feel like pouring my heart all over again on just how much I adored this! My review’s scheduled to go up tomorrow!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Can’t wait to read your thoughts. To be honest I wasn’t really happy with this review. I don’t think I ever am when I live the book. I want to say everything so much better.

  12. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    So many great reviews for this one!

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