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 ·  280 ratings  ·  126 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…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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  280 ratings  ·  126 reviews

Sort order
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
Jes Reads
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After taking a few days to have a good cry now that I've finished this book I think it's time for me to sit down and finally give everyone my full review. There is also a scheduled video review of this going up on my Youtube channel this week if you're interested in watching me attempt to not cry for 15 minutes.

Thank you to Hachette Books for sending me an early copy for my honest review. Now to get into what I truly thought of this book. Often I struggle to put how I'm feeling about a book int
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 star at The BiblioSanctum

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)
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
Esmerelda Weatherwax
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
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.
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
This review was originally published at THE FANTASY HIVE -

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
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
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
kath | novelandfolk
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,
In brief - Well crafted and clever story telling. 4.5/5

In full

I found the start of this very intriguing. It is about the birth of Omat's, the main character. We are in the land of ice with an extended family of Inuit and in a time of gods and legends. Omat will become a shaman like Ataata, her grandfather. With these powers she can talk to and see the gods. However when they stop listening to her why is it that a number of gods continue watching her with such interest?

While the setting for this
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 ma ...more
Karen  ⚜Mess⚜
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

An ARC was provided to me for free by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In 1000AD, an Inuit community is dying. A young girl grows up with the soul of a hunter, raised as a man and determined to follow in her grandfather's steps. She wants to become the next shaman-type leader of her community, communicating with the spirits. But the spirits have stopped listening. Her community is starving and hope is all they have left.

Wow. I LOVED this book. It was just so complex
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Wolf in the Whale is a unique book, I haven't read anything like it! It has so many interesting elements: Inuit mythology (that I knew absolutely nothing about), Norse mythology, Arctic fantasy, discussion on different religions, and the aspect that I found the most fascinating - the complexity of gender identity.

The author, Jordanna Max Brodsky, conducted an extensive research about Inuit people and their way of life in the harsh Arctic wilderness. And it translated into a beautiful, descr
The Wolf in the Whale is a languid, immersive tapestry consisting primarily of Inuit culture and mythology but one that has threads of Norse mythos weaving through it. And the result has a little bit of everything--fantastic character work, slow-burn romance, meddling gods, wolves that are whales that are wolves, battles ranging from small-scale to continent-spanning, and themes of gender roles and identity.

Above all that, though, it's about changing narratives that others have set up for you.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bunny by: Jes Reads
Shelves: read-in-18, gift, owned
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
Books on Stereo
A unique historical fantasy that failed to enthrall.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman with an obsession with wolves, will automatically read any book featuring one on the cover.

In all seriousness, this sounds amazing.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little slow to start with, but worth the build-up in the end. Simply put, I adored this. Full review to come!
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jordanna Max Brodsky's The Wolf and the Whale (Redhook 2019) is a saga of life before man was the unequivocal alpha on the planet, when Nature still thought she could defeat us. This is a time when man protected barely survived the coldest weather, when food was a treat to be relished when available, when only the tough had any expectation of surviving. If you weren't tough, you weren't valued.

Omat is that person. She suffers mightily from hunger, bad luck, and deaths of the hunters within her I
Geonn Cannon
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book. I requested it because I was a fan of the author's Olympus Bound books, but this is a whole new level of writing compared to those. She takes her time setting the scene, a world that's alien but familiar at the same time, and then ties it all together with a fascinating exploration of mythology from two very different cultures. This book was everything I'd hoped it might be when I read the description. I was a fan of the author before, but now I'm definitely going to b ...more
Tucker (TuckerTheReader)
Jan 08, 2019 marked it as not-released-tbr
OMG! Poor wolfie. It's gonna die in there
Lynn Williams
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it, Absolutely loved it.
The Wolf in the Whale was an absolutely gorgeous read. I adored it. It pulled me in from the first page and held me under its spell to the final pages – in fact beyond because I also read the information provided by the author about Inuit words/research, etc.. It gave me a flood of emotions making me well up with tears at one point and then smile and laugh ridiculously the next. I just literally couldn’t get enough of this an
4 Stars

*An intriguing blend of Historical Fiction and Fantasy that explores Inuit and Norse mythology*

ARC provided by Redhook Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Last year, I read Brodsky’s debut novel, The Immortals, which was a creative, modern retelling of Greek mythology. When I saw that she had a new book coming out that would involve Inuit and Norse mythology, I knew I had to read it. I love mythology and am always on the lookout for books about it especially if they invol
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Anna 'Bookbuyer' call me bookbuyer. ^-^
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Kay
I received this from in exchange for a review.

The heroic journey of an Inuit shaman and a Viking warrior in an epic tale of survival, love, and clashing gods in the frozen Arctic of 1000 AD.

Fantasy wrapped around Inuit and Viking legends. This is a very creative story but lagged in places. The final battle (Ragnarok) seemed to go on and on.

3.25 stars

Nina Carboni
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! A bit slow to start but I had goosebumps by the end.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
  • The Affair of the Mysterious Letter
  • The True Queen (Sorcerer Royal #2)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow
  • The Bird King
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015
  • Gideon the Ninth (The Ninth House #1)
  • A Brightness Long Ago
  • Learning to See
  • Fenrir (The Wolfsangel Cycle #2)
  • Seven Devils (Seven Devils, #1)
  • Sea Monsters
  • Magic for Liars
  • The Affairs of the Falcóns
  • Crazy Cupid Love
  • Alice Payne Arrives (Alice Payne, #1)
  • 4 Wizards
  • The Bloodsworn (Bloodbound, #3)
Jordanna Max Brodsky hails from Virginia. She holds a degree in History and Literature from Harvard University. She lives in Manhattan with her husband.
“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?” 0 likes
“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. But in the forest there is always sound. The trees, even in their shrouds of snow, are alive, and their voices--groans, creaks, screams--never cease.” 0 likes
More quotes…