Title: Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1)
Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Genre: Young Adult | Historical Fantasy | Romance
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
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 (goodreads).
An interesting format does not make up for a lack of plot.
Plot: If you were to put a gun to my head and force me to sum up Ivory and Bone in one word I would say, "boring." The setting is interesting, but following Kol's day-to-day life did not grip me as a reader. I suppose it gets interesting when Kol and his brother meet Mya and her family, but the plot is still on par with molasses. As someone who hasn't read Pride and Prejudice, I can't talk about its similarities to the Jane Austen novel, but Ivory and Bone has ensured that I won't read it now.
The major conflict also felt very far removed from Kol since he wasn't directly related to it. Nor did it feel like he helped contribute to any resolutions. I see that this is listed as book one in a series but I have no idea what the future installments could even be about.
Characters: Eshbaugh takes a risk with the format, but it doesn't pay off. I don't know how to verbalize the POV; it is told from Kol's 1st person perspective, but he refers to Mya as "you." So the reader is inserted in the novel. I struggled with this because I couldn't relate to Mya. Very little details are given about her, and I couldn't accept that she was "me." Most likely, I would have enjoyed Ivory and Bone a lot more if it were told from the traditional 1st person perspective. Kol himself is a "paint by the numbers" character and his monotone voice made it difficult for me to pick up the novel at times.
Worldbuilding: Ivory and Bone is fresh because of its setting, how often do people write about prehistoric times? In the writing, I could tell that the worldbuilding was Eshbaugh's favorite aspect, she detailed the religions, the lifestyles, and the everyday life of a person during this era. I thought it was done quite well, I only wished that scenes involving great hunts and religious rituals were written with more emotion.
Short N Sweet: Ivory and Bone's odd perspective and flat characters made it difficult for me to stay engaged, which is a shame because the world was so rich.