39603796A young Inuit shaman’s epic quest for survival in the frozen lands of North America in 1000 AD.

Born with the soul of a hunter and the language of the gods, Omat is destined to become a shaman like her grandfather. To protect her people, she invokes the spirits of the sky, the sea, and the air.

But the gods have stopped listening, the seals won’t come, and Omat’s family is starving.

Desperate to save them, Omat journeys through the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she meets a Viking warrior and his strange new gods, together they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world…or save it.

The Wolf in the Whale is a powerful tale of magic, discovery and adventure, featuring an unforgettable narrator ready to confront the gods themselves.

SourceFormatPagesPublisherGenrePublication Date
NetgalleyeARC576Orbit BooksFantasy / Historical / MythologyJanuary 29th, 2019

You should read this book. In fact, don’t even bother with my review, spend that few minutes getting the book instead and then reading it! Ciao!

OK, you’re still here πŸ™‚ Need more convincing? Not a problem! Well, first of all, I would like to say that this book is quite ‘dark’ in nature. I mean, literally, the Sun disappears for quite a while far up in the North… but… If you’re sensitive to the more cruel side of life and nature then you won’t manage to handle it in places. People (old and young) and animals (furry, fluffy and feathered) die in this book. You’re warned! It does get occasionally very grim!

But…

On the other hand, this book is structured perfectly around its historical, mythological Inuit/Viking theme where the plot takes us on a journey from the very beginning to the end… like one big circle… You’re born, you live, you die and you’re born again… that kind of way awesome! And every part of this journey is important! The Inuit way of life- so natural and common sense and down to earth and even a bit otherworldly as it tiptoes to the spiritual side; with its stories of spirits- well, I was left positively breathless. This book is everything! I definitely read myself into 2019 with a masterpiece that now sits firmly as my favourite for decades to come!

I even read all of the author’s notes in the end where she explains the research and work and effort that has gone into this book over a decade and I just want to… I don’t know, erect a monument for Jordanna! Yes, she has taken some artistic license with the historical facts, culture and mythology but she knows it, admits it and points it out, and as far as a fictional work- I think Jordanna has done herself well proud here.

They say that from the first moment I took my first breath, I have lived between many worlds- between Sun and Moon, man and woman, Inuk and animal.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky (quote subject to change in final proof)

This story is about Omat… about her birth and how she inherits her fathers soul and how her grandfather raises her as a boy to become a man and an angakkuq (shaman). And what a story this is! Spanning many years of Omat’s life. All these years of life that fit within them the challenges she faces with her own people being who she is, the challenges she faces when she meets threatening strangers (Norse vikings) and the challenges she faces when the gods interfere!

I was apprehensive throughout this book… With the inclusion of Norse mythology (Thor, Odin, Loki, etc) alongside Inuit beliefs and culture, the clash and contrast in between the 2 were striking. The implications of new people arriving to new lands bringing their own religion, perhaps even the desert walking Christ, were setting the whole story up for doom and I couldn’t wait to see what kind of solutions Omat brought to the table in order to save her own people. The whole story, the plot is set up perfectly to make her character shine in the rich story-telling and she is someone you really learn to respect and love early on.

The Viking warrior Brandr that Omat meets is an interesting addition overall and his role is carefully considered and crafted by the author. Brandr also opens up the possibility for a bit more playful dialogue, which I really enjoyed! And yet, he has to work hard to gain the love and trust from both Omat and the reader. I found him intriguing and myself solid jealous of Omat for having his company! ^^

The story is not something you sit down and zoom through with speed. This story is meant to be savoured. Sure, of course, once I started reading this book I didn’t want to stop but by the gods, I lapped up every word, every mythological story and element. Every setting and scene and piece of dialogue creating a seamless and vivid picture. I don’t know, this book and the story just makes me feel like when I read it, I was looking at the sky and saw the Universe… that kind of way! The whole picture! Simply precious! So precious it makes me want to weep with adoration!

An Inuk planned for the future; a wolf lived in the now.

The Wolf in the Whale – Jordanna Max Brodsky (quote subject to change in final proof)

So, yes, there are hardships and death and war and revenge and the bloody Ragnarok. But they are all the obstacles that life would always place in front of every living being anyway.. well, kind of. I’m taking my own artistic license here! You get the gist- there is no good without the bad, ever. There is no easy or simple without the hard and the difficult, ever. There is only the way we accept the lot given to us and the way we decide to deal. There is some wisdom in this book and there are sacrifices but there is also the lesson of love and loyalty and doing the right thing!

Just… Get this book. Read this book!

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