Written by: Julie Eshbaugh
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 384, hardcover
Series: Ivory and Bone, #1
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A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.
Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.
As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.
To be honest, if I hadn’t read this book as an ARC, I wouldn’t be reviewing it at all.
There wasn’t anything glaringly wrong with it. The writing was solid, the setting was interesting, the characters were…characters. But I remember about an hour after trying to finish the book, I tried to find something that stood out to me, and I couldn’t. It all just felt very one-note, predictable, and generally meh.
Ivory and Bone is, as the summary says, basically a prehistoric Pride and Prejudice, featuring two clans with a dark history between them and the love story between two young people who begin with conflict but learn to understand each other. Everything about the summary sounds great, and there were some lovely moments in the writing, but something was just missing for me.
There were so many secondary characters, many of whom were only barely developed and whose voices sounded pretty much the same. There were so many times when I would see a name and have to flip back to remind myself who that person was. The secondary characters just did not make an impression at all.
I also found the connection to Pride and Prejudice very thinly sketched out and not all that necessary. There were some similarities–a new family coming into town, misunderstandings, the lovers not getting along at first–but honestly, most of those are present in pretty much every romance. Other times, it seemed as though the author was forcing certain scenes in just because they resembled Pride and Prejudice scenes.
I liked the writing. It was lovely and descriptive, and made a very different world come alive to me. The second-person POV also helped to draw me in, even if the reason Kol is using it requires suspension of disbelief.
The tension and build-up of the story led to something very significant and not underwhelming, which I was worried about. The fallout from Lo’s actions made the ending of the story very interesting. This goes for the romantic tension as well, actually–even though I wasn’t too invested in the romance, I could appreciate how well it was built up. The first half of the book, at least, was pretty compulsively readable for me.
It fell pretty flat for me, but I can understand why it might appeal to others. Your call, I guess.