What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez | ARC Review

A huge thank you to Hachette UK for sending me an ARC of What the River Knows!


‘The Mummy meets Death on the Nile in this lush, immersive historical fantasy set in 19th century Egypt, filled with adventure, a rivals-to-lovers romance, and a dangerous race.

In the glittering society of nineteenth-century Buenos Aires, Inez Olivera has everything, except the one thing she really wants: her parents, who frequently leave her behind on their globetrotting adventures.

Then she receives a terrible letter: her parents have passed away in mysterious circumstances. Determined to uncover the truth, she sets sails for their last port-of-call, Cairo, bringing only her sketch pads and an ancient ring that her father sent to her for safekeeping.

But upon her arrival in Egypt, the ring flares with ancient magic, and Inez is thrust into a treacherous game that could threaten her life – and into the path of her new guardian’s infuriatingly handsome assistant, who seems determined to thwart her at every turn . . .’ - Hachette UK


If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I was recently sent an ARC of one of my most anticipated releases of 2023! Isabel Ibañez is one of my favourite author, and I’ve been waiting rather impatiently since this book was announced. 

What the River Knows is a mysterious, twisty, thrilling fantasy with romance, family drama and a unique and fascinating magic system.

Set in nineteenth century Egypt and Buenos Aires, What the River Knows follows Inez Olivera as she attempts to solve the mystery of her parents' mysterious deaths. 

This book was pitched as The Mummy meets Death on the Nile, which was what originally drew me in. If you like a twisty mystery, with an atmospheric setting and an emotional romance at the heart of the story, this is the book for you. 

What the River Knows is a labyrinth of a book, leaving the reader constantly wanting more, and questioning everything along the way. 

Inez quickly became one of my favourite characters, with her stubbornness and wild personality. Whit as a love interest is equal parts charming and infuriating, and I found that their banter and interactions were hilarious, emotional and believable. The dialogue was so well written, and had me feeling so many emotions. 

Without spoiling anything, the end of this book had me screaming. It has been a long time since I finished a book, and had to take a few days to recover before writing a review. The way that Isabel Ibañez writes drama and complex family (and romantic) relationships is incredible, and I found myself tabbing not just my favourite scenes, but the scenes and quotations that called out to me as a writer, as well as a reader.

The way the setting was described paints a vivid and colourful picture, transporting the reader effortlessly across nineteenth century Egypt. As someone who has always been interested in Ancient Egypt, this was such a fun and enjoyable read, with both fantastical and historical elements. 

This has to be one of my favourite magic systems, and while it wasn’t explained in great detail, it left enough to the imagination to seem mysterious while feeling fleshed out and definitely unique. The way that the magic seeped into almost every aspect of this story, both subtly and more directly, was beautifully done. 

If you’re a fan of mysterious fantasies, with family drama, emotional romance and all of the twists and turns, I would highly recommend you pick up What the River Knows on November 14th.

Thank you again to Hachette UK for sending me an ARC of What the River Knows!

If you’ve already read this wonderful fantasy, let me know what you thought in the comments, or join the conversation over on my socials!