Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Genre: YA Historical, Fantasy
Published June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen
Length: 384 pages
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.
Thank you to the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
IVORY AND BONE is sold as a PRIDE AND PREJUDICE retelling in the Ice Age period, so I was immediately interested. I was generally impressed with the writing style and setting, but I was a bit dispirited by the plot and the other aspects of this story.
The plot centers around Kol and his clan and the need to form an alliance between Kol’s clan and a neighboring clan. I admit, I had trouble pinpointing why things were happening in the story; it just seemed like nothing major was happening. I found much of the characters’ actions and the clan-wide drama to be dry and frankly, boring. The novel is quite slow towards the beginning and middle but definitely climaxes towards the end. Although, I felt as if it was rushed and I truly didn’t felt indifferent towards what was happening.
Despite that, I continued reading this book because I found Eshbaugh’s writing style to be spectacular. I don’t want to spoil it, but it was very unique and I’ve never read a book like it. The style was intriguing, albeit confusing. It took me a long time to get used to this style, which admittedly slowed down my reading pace because I had to consciously make sure I understood what was actually going on.
The characters were mediocre. Kol is weirdly obsessed with Mya; most of his thoughts are about how rude she is to him but also how much he likes her and her stubbornness. I don’t know about you, but this trope annoys the heck out of me. Mya also seems flat and emotionless, which made me feel apathetic towards her. However, by the end of the novel, they suddenly fall in love, and everything just went too quickly for my taste.
Overall, I found this book’s plot and characters to be lacking, but its setting and writing style to be interesting. If you decide to read this book, you should probably expect a slow and boring plot but you just might stick around just by how this novel is written.