Title: Ivory and Bone
Series: Ivory and Bone, #1
Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Length: 371 pages | 8 Hours 41 Minutes
Source: Gifted from the generous Cassie Frye
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.
I was a big fan of Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series when I was a preteen, even though the themes might have been a bit out of my league. So I was stoked to read this, which sounds like a YA sort of version. Plus, there’s allusions to Pride and Prejudice.
The book itself is fine. It’s OK. It’s pretty slow in pace for the first 30 chapters, but I was prepared with the whole “shades of Jane Austen” thing. But that itself presented a bit of an issue. I just wasn’t that involved in the narrative or characters, so I found myself trying to figure out which characters in Ivory and Bone correlated to which characters in P&P. There are very obvious ones, and then situations like Lo, where the general themes are the same but there isn’t a one-for-one retelling. But again…I was ignoring the plot in favor of figuring out the subtleties.
Around chapter 30, things pick up considerably. The danger notches up, reflected through the setting, and Kol and Mya both have some eye opener moments. I thought their relationship, especially in the early antagonistic phase, was handled very well. I also liked Kol, even when he was being a twat. There were a few things left unresolved, but since I was framing it mentally as a P&P-influences story, the conclusion felt natural.
In all, I recommend this for anyone looking for an interesting, gender-bent Austenesque YA in an unusual time period and setting. I likely won’t be continuing the series, because it didn’t inspire me too much to keep reading- but the narrative was well written and most of the characters were well fleshed out.