"If you liked American Gods by Neil Gaiman or Circe by Madeline Miller, be sure to pick this one up." Timeworn
A sweeping tale of forbidden love and warring gods, where a young Inuit shaman and a Viking warrior become unwilling allies in a war that will determine the fate of the new world.
There is a very old story, rarely told, of a wolf that runs into the ocean and becomes a whale...
Born with the soul of a hunter and the spirit of the Wolf, Omat is destined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps-invoking the spirits of the land, sea, and sky to protect her people.
But the gods have stopped listening and Omat's family is starving. Desperate to save them, Omat journeys across the icy wastes, fighting for survival with every step. When she encounters Brandr, a wounded Viking warrior, they set in motion a conflict that could shatter her world...or save it.
Also by Jordanna Max Brodsky:
The Olympus Bound series
Winter of the Gods
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Jordanna Max Brodsky hails from Virginia, where she made it through a science and technology high school by pretending it was a theater conservatory. She holds a degree in history and literature from Harvard University. She lives with her husband in Manhattan, where she is working on her next novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 2 Story: 4.5 Taking us back to 1000 A.D., the story focuses on a young girl, Omat and her Inuit tribe – she’s been imbued with the spirit of her father – and raised to be their Shaman – it’s a curious mix of personal conflict for her: as she is a woman, yet expected to deny that part of herself and lead her tribe through challenges and remain strong for then. Even more interesting in this mix that offers great personal conflict and some pretty interesting opportunities to explore ‘both sides’ of her nature, Omat is also tasked with navigating the conundrum that is the gods – and her realization that the gods only exist if someone is to worship them almost seems to underline her unexpected personality with a series of truths and questions that, unlike most stories of this time, feel very modern and tie neatly to the whole existential questions of life and purpose….. But, Omat is not alone in her struggles – with starvation and privations haunting her tribe - a chance encounter with another Inuit tribe brings false hope of survival and opportunity, and reveals an even deeper series of changes and challenges to come in the form of Norse explorers. Already demonstrating her facility of thought and determination to survive, Omat finds a way to curry favor and make a connection to these war-like, savage new people – and bind together in search of survival. Introducing Norse mythology and gods to the story adds yet another layer of complexity that shows the ‘important’ issues and questions for each culture are similar – as gods are there to explain and address each of these issues (health, weather, food, hunt, etc.) and Omat’s rather facile ability to adopt, discard and acknowledge each as she herself is finding a place and a way of being as she grows into adulthood and the mantle of responsibility laid on her shoulders. Narration is provided by the author – and for me, this is a first. The premise of the title was too good to pass up, and while I found several moments where I would have preferred another narrator, the author’s knowledge of the story and ability to present the history and a sense of the conflict inside Omat and her struggles with the often dark influx of fantastical and mythological elements. Beautiful descriptions and a clear presentation allowed the more complex moments to unfold in a way that was easier to follow, although some moments did require a second listen to get all the bits straight. As a story – this was evocative and lush, richly detailed and researched, with plenty of intrigue. I think that it is a story best read for yourself, allowing each moment to be mulled over, rather than being pushed forward by a narration. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
This is an epic tale of love, family, perseverance, and will. The author deftly narrates the tale of these characters with such heart and spirit that it is impossible to not fall in love with this novel and its protagonists. The writer is masterful in her use of prose, language and the various ways she manages to, not only include multiple viewpoints but, manipulates the communication between characters who would normally not have. She is brilliant in her writing and storytelling and this book is magnificent.
This book is a masterful story of cultural contact and sacrifice.
Omat is a tough and able hunter. The only problem is she’s female. Hunters of the Inuit tribes must be male or they’ll anger the Gods. Omat is granted a reprieve until she reaches the age to bleed. Life for her is fulfilling until her blood begins to flow. Omat must comply and live by the strict female rule. The author, Jordanna Max Brodsky, has done tremendous research into the history and evolution of the Inuit tribes. As you read the thoughts, emotions and living conditions of Omat you’ll feel so in tune with her landscape and traditions. Omat is a shaman; she can communicate with the gods. This angle of the book may be a bit far-fetched for some readers but the author is staying true to the Intuits’ belief that the gods of the sun, moon, ocean, etc. must be kept content and happy in order for survival on the earth. Omat makes many trips to the gods, enabling her soul to leave her human body and become whatever creature is needed to move and persist. She listens to and tells many of the folk stories that help explain where they are and how they got there. Due to the belief that women jinx the hunt, Omat is cast from her hunting tribe. In her struggle to survive alone, she saves the lives of 3 wolf puppies. Her life is rewarded many times over for her kindness; these wolves become her only means of survival as she endures the cold and hunger. Just as she’s regaining her powers and strength, a wounded Norseman crosses her path. The first gut reaction is to kill him, but again, she shows compassion and allows him to live. She and her wolves both assist him as he recovers from his wounds. Thus starts the journey of the uncommon group, one Inuit, one Norseman, and three highly intelligent wolves. This book reminds me of the Clan of the Cave Bear, but it’s also very different and unique. If you’re an avid reader of the history and evolution of man, this book will satisfy your hunger. And here ends this tale. (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you to Redhook Books for making it available.)
Readers who enjoy historical fiction might enjoy "The Wolf in the Whale" more than those who enjoy fantasy. This is because the historical and the anthropological aspects drive the story more than the appearances of the gods and the spirits. That is not to say fantasy fans won’t enjoy this book, they might not appreciate it as much as historical fiction fans. This is the author’s first standalone novel. So, readers who are curious about the author should read this novel. Fans of the TV show, "Vikings," and/or the video game, "Never Alone," should find "The Wolf in the Whale" to be a well-structured story with the right amount of cultural elements that makes it more believable than the “what if” concept. The protagonist of this story is also our narrator, who is retelling the events of her life. Omat was born with her father’s spirit as a hunter and with her grandfather’s abilities as a shaman. Hence, Omat is raised and treated as a male by her aunt, her grandfather, and her tribesmen, and she is expected to become the next leader of the tribe much to her cousin’s, Kiasik, chagrin. At the same time, the gods of the world—particularly the Inuit and the Norse—fear the changes to come due to the rise of a new and powerful monotheistic god. Unbeknownst to her, the gods mark Omat as a “threat” for she is expected to bring forth Ragnarök, or the end of the world. The gods’ fear causes Omat’s family to suffer from starvation and isolation. However, anyone who is familiar with myths, legends, and prophecies know that the more anyone tries to prevent a prophecy or an event from happening, the more likely it will occur. Omat’s interaction with her family, other tribesmen, the Vikings, and the gods and the spirits shape her character as she transitions from adolescence to adult. "The Wolf in the Whale" caught my attention due to its description about “clashing cultures and warring gods.” I was not sure what to expect from the novel besides shamans and Vikings. Being clueless, but open-minded about the novel allowed me to read the story as it is, and not what I thought it was going to be. The topics of sex and gender roles, culture, survival, interactions between different groups of people, and family drive the story as much as the history and the fantasy within it. There were times in which, some of the real-time events dragged the story. There were times in which, I wanted more from certain characters, but realized it would have diverted from the protagonist. Overall, "The Wolf in the Whale" is a speculative fiction novel that is a hybrid of fantasy, folklore, history, and anthropology. I was immersed in the story from start to finish. I recommend this novel for anyone who enjoys an eclectic mix of genres in fiction.