Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Wolf in the Whale” as Want to Read:
The Wolf in the Whale
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Wolf in the Whale

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  3,942 ratings  ·  787 reviews
A sweeping tale of clashing cultures, warring gods, and forbidden love: In 1000 AD, a young Inuit shaman and a Viking warrior become unwilling allies as war breaks out between their peoples and their gods-one that will determine the fate of them all.

"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 hunt
Paperback, 544 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Redhook
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Wolf in the Whale, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jordanna Brodsky Hi Charity! I spent a lot of time as a kid up in eastern Canada, which is where I first heard about the Viking explorations of North America a thousan…moreHi Charity! I spent a lot of time as a kid up in eastern Canada, which is where I first heard about the Viking explorations of North America a thousand years ago. It's a magical place, and I always imagined a descendent of those long-ago Vikings was hiding amid the spreading ferns or tumbling waterfalls. When I started researching as an adult, I discovered that the Norse interacted not only with the local Beothuk Indians, but also with the ancestors of today's Inuit. That led me into a further exploration of Inuit culture, history, and mythology...I was hooked! Once I read about the traditional Inuit practice (no longer in use) of sometimes raising children in the gender of their namesake, even if that gender doesn't correspond with the baby's biological sex, I knew I had the basis for my protagonist.(less)
Jordanna Brodsky Nope! Although the protagonist is a teenager for much of the story, the book is geared for adults. It includes some pretty graphic violence, sexual co…moreNope! Although the protagonist is a teenager for much of the story, the book is geared for adults. It includes some pretty graphic violence, sexual content, and a lot of anthropological detail. That being said, I have no doubt that mature teen readers would enjoy it.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,942 ratings  ·  787 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Wolf in the Whale
Nils | nilsreviewsit
‘I am no longer scared of being a woman — it doesn’t make me any less a man. I am both. I am neither. I am only myself.’
The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky is the story of a young Inuit shaman, living on the edge of the world, trying survive in a devastatingly hostile environment. WOW! This was one powerful, dark, atmospheric but absolutely beautiful read, and one I fell in love with instantly.
The world building in this book was incredible, I could really appreciate the amount of res
Allison Hurd
In the book club I moderate, I've asked people on occasion to think of authors who write about colonialism from the perspective of a non-colonial power. This book is a great example of why "being against a colonial power" is not the same thing as what I'm looking for. This book for me didn't quite work. I loved the mythology, but I don't think the author grappled with the concepts in a way that honored the people whose stories she was telling. And a hearty apology to my friends who loved this, I ...more
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
“Why would I continue life as a man trapped in a girl’s body when I could just as easily fly into the heavens or run with the wolves?”

Imagine a world so breathtakingly beautiful and dangerous, so hard and cold and brutal, yet bristling with colors that will never be brighter and enormous landscapes unmarked by the will of humankind. In this world, every step could be your last, and every breath is spent in the fight for survival.

I must praise Brodsky on her inimitable style and writing technique
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 star at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/01/29/...

I expected to enjoy The Wolf and the Whale, but what I was not prepared for was how completely it swept me off my feet. In this stunning masterpiece, Jordanna Max Brodsky weaves a cinematic tale of adventure and survival, blending history, mythology and timeless romance. All of this is set to the epic backdrop of the Arctic wilderness at a time of great change towards the end of the first millennium.

Our story follows Omat,
“Birth and death, we are torn apart and recreated.”
Loss, love, trauma, survival, spirituality, power, war, identity...the above quote can be seen in all of these elements as experienced by the main character Omat, an Inuit shaman.

Spoiler contains my spin on the book synopsis.
(view spoiler)
Apr 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5**** and might round up to 5***** later.
I absolutely loved the blend of Inuit and Norse mythology in this book, as well as the amazing character of Omat.
I approached this novel with a great amount of hope; I was very happy to encounter a narrative that embraced and explored the culture and people and mythology and magic of an Inuit settlement, and for much of the first third or so of the novel, those details sustained my interest and affection.

But then the plot accelerates and it leaves the textured moments behind, and begins featuring far too many cartoonishly evil villains, entirely too much speechifying, and an utter lack of internal charact
The Wolf in the Whale is $2.99 in the US Kindle Store today! April 1, 2019

This is the book I feel like I have been waiting for since this terrible reading slump hit back in October. I really just needed something to sweep me away- to make me care, to give me a reason to stay curled up on the couch all day and read. It has been a really long time since I read a 500+ page book in a 24 hour period. It was impossible to put down.

This is the story of Omat, an Inuit two-spirit shaman living around 100
Feb 08, 2019 added it
This is a very different take on fantasy, I’ve never read anything from the perspective of the Inuit people so I was pretty excited about it going in.

This is a single POV book (I think, I DNF’d) about a girl growing up in a very remote Inuit clan. They are far removed from everyone else and are struggling to make it by, every decision they make can have long-lasting impacts on their group as a whole. One wrong move could be disastrous, and losing members of their clan when their numbers are so f
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this, especially as a breath of fresh air in the fantasy books I've been reading in the last year. I absolutely adored the Inuit & Viking lore interwoven to create the magic system & fantasy world. I loved the characters, and was delighted to see the exploration of fluidity in Omat's gender identity. That was definitely an unexpected thematic element to this 1000AD era fantasy world, and I thought the author's unraveling of Omat's feelings about her own status as both man and wo ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review was originally published at THE FANTASY HIVE - https://fantasy-hive.co.uk/2019/02/th...

I’ve just finished The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky and I’m a bit blown away. It starts as a very tight and intimate story about a young Inuit and their relationship with their family and with the spirits that guide their daily life, then introduces the Viking threat from the outside world, then throws their gods into the mix and by the end just goes absolutely maniacally insane.

When O
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Novels featuring Gods and Goddesses and mythology aren’t generally my go-to. But this book, admittedly, attracted me based on the native Inuit character, Omat. I have been long fascinated by North American native culture.

I also read with heightened interest, as my sister was – at the same time – listening to an audiobook about mythology amongst cultures, nations, and religions. She shared the audiobook’s parallels drawn between stories in the Bible and those in African, Norse, and Greek tales. I
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 :) 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
Holly (The GrimDragon)
*Review originally published on Fantasy Book Review*

"There are few sounds at night on the frozen sea besides the roar of the wind. No plants to rustle, no waves to crash upon the shore, no birds to caw. The white owl flies on hushed wings. The white fox walks with silent tread. Even Inuit move as softly as spirits, the snow too hard to yield and crunch beneath our boots. We hear little, but what we do hear is vital: the exploding breath of a surfacing seal, the shift and crack of drifting ice.
Dawn F
I don’t know how to rate this. The portrayal of indigenous Inuit people, gender, and a two spirited person, someone who is both male and female or “third gendered” and was revered and respected among indigenous peoples, were problematic and unfortunate, despite the author’s good intentions. If you want to learn more about being born male in a female body, this is absolutely not the place to go.

However as a tale of mythology and a look into the life on the ice a thousand years ago, it’s an intrig
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full review is here on my blog!~

Wow. This book.

I’m not sure how I’m going to sum this up, because this book gave me all kinds of the feels.

This is the story of Omat, who is a young Inuit hunter and apprentice shaman. As there are very strong taboos about women hunting and women being shamans in Omat’s culture, this is a bit of a difficult situation. Omat holds her father’s spirit, and as such, she is raised like a boy, in fact she doesn’t even realize that she is physically a girl until she’s te
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this was just SO good.

The story is about an Inuk living through a time of great upheaval and change, the coming of the Norse to the Arctic. Jordana Max Brodsky's story uses the mix of cultures, the clash of traditions, the everyday presence but often inaccessibility of spiritual/magical forces, and excellent character development in a way that reminded me strongly of Juliet Marillier.

I'm already predisposed to liking books set in the North, but even so, this is one of my favorite books rea
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A rich and gorgeous tale, sucked me in from the beginning and didn't let go.

It is a slower paced read at times, but always character driven. The landscape itself feels so alive and vibrant as the people in it.

I don't have enough words right now to cover how much I love this book:).
Kitty G Books
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
*Trigger warning: Rape; Bloody scenes*

This book was stellar, and I loved it right from the start which was so evocative of the icy lands in which it is set. This book draws the nights in, sets the scene, and pulls you along on the journey with it. There's magic in the form of vengeful and fickle gods, Inuit groups who live and travel the ice landscapes hunting for their survival, and a young character called Omat and it's their story we follow.

Omat is a character unlike any I have read before as
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Wolf in the Whale is not a book I've seen or heard a lot about so I definitely think I've found a hidden gem. I've never read a book that included Inuit culture and spiritual traditions before. It was fascinating and made this book really unique. I love when fantasy books take you away from the more traditional European setting. All the ice and snow are perfect for a winter read.

I also really enjoyed the clash of the Inuit and Vikings. It was really interesting to see how the author used m
Michelle {Book Hangovers}
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My favorite read of 2019 so far. What a delightfully brutal tale with myth and magic, Friendship and family bonds intertwined. I haven’t loved a character like Omat in a long time. So happy I got to take this journey with her.
I loved the story. Really enjoyed the setting, the meeting of different cultures- the attempts at communication early on were possibly my favorite part, while the fantasy aspects provided an easy bridge, of course. I’m always squeamish about animals slaughter, but I liked how the animals are appreciated by the Inuit, it stood in contrast with the Vikings who sow death and destruction in their path.

The ending was dragging quite a bit, but overall a wonderful tribute to Inuit culture and mytholog
Joy D
“They say that from the moment I [Omat] took my first breath, I have lived between many worlds—between Sun and Moon, man and woman, Inuk and animal. So perhaps it’s not surprising that I have seen worlds my family could never imagine. I have seen the painted men in their bark houses, and I have slept beneath trees as tall as a whale is long. I have spoken with the spirits and walked in their land. I have seen men who could harness the wind, men with hair the color of flame and eyes the color of ...more
The Wolf in the Whale was a book that I expected to enjoy but found myself surprised by how much I ended up loving! so many feels - this book is grim, brutal, heartbreaking. the wolf in the whale is a powerful exploration of survival in the most barren of landscapes, family loyalty, and gender fluidity in a time that afforded no leniency for challenging the established ways.

these characters, especially omat and brandr, got under my skin and spoke to me deeply. i’ve never read anything like omat,
Lou (nonfiction fiend)
From the moment I first clapped eyes on The Wolf and the Whale and read the synopsis I knew this was going to be something special, and boy it certainly was that! This is a tale that immerses you in the beautiful writing and the ominous plot right from the outset, and it reads a lot like a fairytale or the myths, legends and folk tales of old with the same deceptively sunken depths and intrigue. One of the standout aspects for me had to be the atmosphere that underpins the whole story; proceedin ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sff-group-shelf
This book tore me apart!

There were passages I hated with all of my heart, and I wanted to deduct stars because of them – but I couldn’t. Because such a hate is in itself as powerful an emotion as love, and any author who makes me feel this way is to be applauded.

The story about the two-spirited Omat who grows up in a poor Inuit community that is on the brink of extinction is powerful, brutal, beautiful and deeply personal. We learn a lot about the shamanism and animism of the people, we feel th
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I had one or two niggles with this book but the story was so all encompassing and immersive I couldn’t in all conscience have given it any less. I loved the combining of cultures and mythology and thought it was extremely well done. This was fascinating historical fiction as well as fantasy and a very accomplished piece of storytelling.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bunny by: Jes Reads Books
Shelves: owned, gift, read-in-18
My 250th Book Read for the Year

Before I start this review, a shout out to Jes Reads Books, and her review of this incredible book. I heard about it through her, I was excited to read it because of her passion in talking about it. And then she went and sent it to me like the amazing person she is. Watch her review, read my review, then add this to your must read list.

Because this book is truly incredible. And there is so much to love for so many different kinds of people. You don't even know you
Oleksandr Zholud
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a fantasy novel about the meeting of Inuit and Norse circa XI century AD from the point of view of Inuit.

The story starts with a birth of our protagonist: recently before that the father and other hunters drowned when ice crashed and this ought to be a lonely kid for a long time. Mother dies giving birth and the new born is too weak, so put outside for a night. At the morning, it is not only alive but is cared by a white wolf. The tribe shaman (Angakkuq in Inuktitut) sees that the kid go
Karen  ⚜Mess⚜
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
It's only January and I already know this is my favorite read of 2019. The Wolf In The Whale is a story that will stay with me.

A beautiful, vivid tale of two cultures inevitably bound to collide. An Inuit story of how one tribe survives at the edge of the world and Norsemen out to conquer and discover new lands.

I cannot just walk away from such an awe inspiring novel. Long after the pages stopped turning I still find myself seeking documentaries and movies about these beautiful people and

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Scourge (Brilliant Darkness, #1)
  • The Amber Crown
  • The Bird King
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle, #1)
  • King's Dragon (Crown of Stars, #1)
  • Swamplands: Tundra Beavers, Quaking Bogs, and the Improbable World of Peat
  • Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1)
  • The Witch's Heart
  • She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1)
  • The Damage Done
  • The Boy Who Walked Too Far (The Xindii Chronicles, #1)
  • She Dreams in Blood (The Obsidian Path, #2)
  • The Wolf and the Woodsman
  • The Alchemist's Door
  • Mary of Nazareth
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow
  • Antoinette's Sister
  • Banner of Souls
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Jordanna Max Brodsky hails from Virginia. She holds a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University. She lives in Manhattan with her husband.

Articles featuring this book

When you work at Goodreads, it's pretty tough to keep that Want to Read shelf under control. (And let's be honest, most of us don't even...
162 likes · 44 comments
“I am no longer scared of being a woman — it doesn’t make me any less a man. I am both. I am neither. I am only myself.” 7 likes
“Life attracts life.” 6 likes
More quotes…