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New Year, New Book : The Wolf in the Whale

Cover blog post

Synopsis: A 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.

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On the hills above the camp, far from curious eyes and listening ears, I flung my song into the sky. The new words came easily to my lips. I sang all through the long twilight, until the sky grew black as peat and spangled with stars. Clouds swirled in, ghostly white in the Moon’s glow, and I danced with them, knowing that Sila the Air moved to the rhythm of my drumbeats.

Review: This is a brilliantly written fantasy novel about Inuits, Vikings, and their gods and legends. 

The book starts with the birth of our protagonist, Omat. Omat’s grandfather predicts she(/he) will become a shaman or Angakkuq like him.

Omat is a girl with a man’s spirit or, someone we can identify as transgender. However, as the story progresses, Omat’s situations force her to choose between her identities – her woman’s body is abused repeatedly. I admired Omat’s strength and her spirit, and I will always remember her as one of my favorite characters.

In the beginning, I thought I wouldn’t like the story, but as I ventured further, I loved the storytelling. First, we meet Omat and her family. Omat is raised like a boy and it isn’t until she is ten years old or so that she learns she is a girl. Omat’s grandfather tells her that until she bleeds she will have the spirit of a man and therefore, can hunt and provide for her family. Then Omat is separated from her family, and she survives not only the separation but the brutal way in which the separation occurred. After her attacker’s family is attacked and killed, Omat meets a Viking, an incident which leads her into the path of the Norse gods and a War . 

The writing is descriptive in a way I loved. We can sense the isolation Omat or her Inuit family faces in a vast arctic landscape. There was a whole lot of research involved, and the author manages to translate that into a literary work brilliantly. There is a lot of Inuit and Norse language, Inuit and Norse folklore and mythology in this story.

The part I loved best was after Omat met Brandr and I felt that this is where the story really picked itself up.

Warnings : There are scenes and mentions of rape along with violence. If you think this might be triggering for you, then I'd suggest you give this a pass.

Overall, I thought this was a fascinating book set in the frozen arctic about a person in a war between two identities, about two different but fascinating cultures, and the Gods .

I highly encourage you to pick up this book (if some of the scenes aren’t triggering for you) now ! Add it to your TBR or preorder it !

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange of an honest review.

Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars

Author: Connect with Author Jordanna Max Brodsky on Goodreads.

  • Publisher: Orbit books
  • Publication Date: 29 January 2019
  • Paperback(ARC): 576 Pages

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on


Author: Book Rambler

Hi! I'm Shalini. I am an avid reader, daydreamer, future scientist. In order to ramble about books with you, I created this blog. You can find me here and on any of my social media channels.

5 thoughts on “New Year, New Book : The Wolf in the Whale”

  1. This sounds amazing, I’ll definitely have to check it out when it is out. I read Clan of the Cave Bear years ago and need an ancient times novel in my life!

    Liked by 1 person

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