Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Title: Ivory and Bone
Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Genre: Young Adult, Historical (Prehistoric), High Fantasy
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

It was incredibly interesting and fresh to get a YA set in the prehistoric time period (in a fantasy world, but still). They use spears and harpoons carved out of bone and ivory, carve kayaks out of wood and hunt mammoths and sabre tooth cats and other such extinct creatures. I think this is the first prehistoric YA (and actually maybe even first prehistoric book in general) that I've read, and it was certainly an entertaining experience. The only thing was that the world building was somewhat limited, but that wasn't necessarily surprising considering that the whole book was in a setting that was restricted by the viewpoint of the relatively naive Kol.

So the blurb mentions that the book took some inspiration from Pride and Prejudice, and I can certainly see that. But the genders have been swapped, and it's the male main character who thinks that one of the female characters is arrogant and unsuitable. Always like to see a nice gender bender. On the other hand, Kol is a bit of an idiot throughout the novel, and all he thinks about the entire book seems to be his goal of getting a wife (which I guess is understandable considering the time period/setting, but at the same time, did get a little irritating). The story itself is pretty basic, but I think I was already won over somewhat by the novelty of the prehistoric setting and this didn't annoy me as much as it might have in another novel.

Probably the main negative for me was the fact that the book was written in second person. For some reason these days in YA, there seem to be a surge of books written in second person (or maybe I've just happened to read quite a few recently). I must say, I'm really not the biggest fan. I realise it's supposed to draw you into the narrative, but all it does for me is distance me from the characters.

So basically, if you're looking for something quite unconventional (prehistoric setting, second person POV) then Ivory and Bone may be a book for you. I'm certainly going to be reading the sequel.

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
World Building: 3.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 4/5