The Wolf in the Whale was EVERY KIND OF COOL!

*Received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review- but the  gushing you’re about to see is all me*

wolf in the whaleYeah, there’s a lot of yelling in that title- but THAT’S COS I’M EXCITED DAMMIT! Sometimes a book just floats on up to you and you simply have to read it. This was absolutely the case when I saw Liis’ wonderful review for the Wolf in the Whale. A story that somehow married Inuit and Viking cultures- WHOA- that grabbed my attention right away!

Enter into a narrative couched in storytelling and I knew this was the book for me. By now, you’ve probably heard me go on a million times about how much I love stories within stories- and this book was no exception to that rule. Not only was the overarching plot an amazing tale to tell, each section began with a mythic story, illustrating and foreshadowing all the wondrous events to come.

It was an experience delving into this icy realm. Cloaked in atmosphere, every step into this book gave a sense of the setting and culture. Cosy in my room, I was transported to the frozen wastes of the Arctic (a perfect setting for this time of the year 😉 ). The writing was impeccably detailed and the imagery in line with the landscape. Above all, that image of the wolf in the whale WORKED SO WELL. To say this was sophisticated world building would be a massive understatement.

What’s especially clever is how the magic system goes beyond the setting and lends itself to the main character’s arc. In a transformative journey, the spiritual concepts are used to address questions of identity. While Omat goes through innumerable changes, she fundamentally must learn to be comfortable with every side of herself and to find the strength to fight back when things get bad. Above all, it is this that makes her a heroine- though I loved every aspect of her character- from her skills to her cleverness- it was the way she fought when her back was up against the wall that made me truly admire her.

And she really does go through a hell of a time. There is traumatic content in here, but it’s really well handled. It is both realistic and emotive. Personally, I am glad Brodsky didn’t forsake accuracy when it came to exploring the brutality of history. Instead, the book was a triumph- because it represents that real power is dreaming a way out and never giving up.

The plot follows this idea, weaving into ever-more imaginative territory. With little surprises along the way, the truth of the stories we tell ourselves is revealed. The very distinct mythologies of Inuit and Norse are expertly intertwined; the ominous forces at work are revealed. Far from chill, there are some serious stakes at play here. All that building tension finally breaks in an exquisite apotheosis of drama. It is a performance worthy of the gods. All the while presenting very human relationships, making every victory and moment of redemption feel earned.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed what Wolf in the Whale did with folklore. It was complex and beautiful and ahhh-mazing!! Forgive me just losing my cool there- by the end of the book I was just writing “awws” and “squeaks” and been reduced to tears. I will add that this is the definition of a slow burn- so make sure you’re in the right mood to really sink your teeth into a book. Granted, it is a little on the long side, yet the upside of this is it really absorbs you into the world and you can take your time with this standalone fantasy. This book is a rarity in every regard and I simply can’t cover all the ways that it made me feverishly happy- all I can do is give it:

Rating: 5/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

So what do you think? Do you plan to read this now? Let me know in the comments!

53 thoughts on “The Wolf in the Whale was EVERY KIND OF COOL!

  1. Wow. This book looks absolutely gorgeous! Ever since I learned about the Norse in school, they have completely fascinated me – I’m always looking for good mythological retellings surrounding them! I’ll definitely need to crack open this book 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Every book that gets a full 5 bananas goes straight to my TBR list! 😄 Also the title is damn intriguing and marrying Inuit and Viking culture sounds fantastic! Exactly my cup of tea. 😄 Thanks for this wonderful review and recommendation! 💕🐳

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I literally just added this to my TBR list after seeing it on a list in an email from the publisher … I’m so glad to see someone read it and really enjoyed it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review! I’ve seen this book around and at first thought that it wouldn’t be for me but it sounds sooo good now. I love folklore in books and especially Northern folklore, and I’ve never seen one with Inuit folklore before!! Definitely picking this one up soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, this book sounds amazing. If Liis’ review convinced you to read The Wolf in the Whale your review has just convinced me to do the same. 🙂 I was interested when you said it blended Inuit and Viking mythology, then even more so when you talked about how beautiful the writing was, but I think what hooked me was what you said about the magic system. I’m weak for well written world building, and it sounds like this book has that in spades! 😀
    Great review. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I JUST saw this up at the bookstore, but stupidly put it back on the shelf because I already had too many in my basket, but now, I’m definitely getting it next time. Thank you for that!

    Liked by 1 person

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