Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.
Actual rating: 4.5
Ivory and Bone is set in the Ice Age, and thus it sets itself apart almost immediately, and it is what drew my attention in the first place. Kol, our protagonist, is the oldest son of the High Elder of their clan. The clan are finding themselves upon harder times with a diminishing food supply. But Kol has additional worries. As the eldest son of the High Elder, Kol needs to find himself a wife, but options are limited within his small clan with no girls his age. Then they make contact with another clan, and Kol meets Mya – arrogant and stubborn. But they do not hit it off and instead they take an instant disliking to one another. When another clan arrives upon their shores, tensions mount between the three clans, which comes to an epic conclusion.
I really enjoyed the dynamic between Kol and Mya, and the slow burn romance. They started off disliking each other very much, eventually warming to one another when they got to know each other better. I particularly enjoyed Kol’s narrative, and his personality really shone through. Slowly, as the novel progressed, we saw a calmer and softer side to Mya, which I really appreciated because she was a fantastic character. I enjoyed the side characters, too, such as Pek and Seeri.
Another fantastic aspect of the novel was the politics and conflicts between the clans, and the mounting tensions as back stories were slowly revealed and connections to one another made clear. It is a very slow novel though, and the pacing almost made me give this a lower rating, but it had a lot of other redeeming qualities.
As I said, the plot is slow to build up and the book consists mainly of meeting the new clans, and new members in those clans such as Mya and Lo, who also had an interesting dynamic, but then it all builds up to an epic conclusion within that last 30 percent or so which made the wait worth it.
Finally, Ivory and Bone is written in a very unique way – it’s a mix of first person and second person narrative which I was unsure of at first, and which I found quite off-putting. Yet as I got used it, I began to appreciate how personalised it made the reading experience feel.
Overall, Ivory and Bone is definitely a book I would recommend if looking for a unique setting and a character driven story.
RATING: ★★★★☆ (4.5)