Mindee Arnett

Onyx and Ivory [Book Review]

Author: Mindee Arnett | Publisher: Harper Collins

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king of Rime.

Cast out of the nobility, Kate now works for the royal courier service. Only the most skilled ride for the Relay and only the fastest survive, for when night falls, the drakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: She is a wilder, born with forbidden magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals.

And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by drakes in broad daylight—the only survivor Corwin Tormaine, the son of the king. Her first love, the boy she swore to forget after he condemned her father to death.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin must put the past behind them to face this new threat and an even darker menace stirring in the kingdom.

I picked up Onyx and Ivory in desperation for something new to read. My current TBR is looking a bit thin. Or, more likely, I’m just not feeling anything on it… So I was looking for something light and fun, and Onyx and Ivory didn’t disappoint!

Classic fantasy with a YA feel, the book may not be the most beautifully written piece of literature you’re ever going to encounter, but any flaws in style are more than made up for by expansive world building and good characterisation. It also explores some fairly heavy themes with a gentle touch. And, some combination of pace and characterisation, the tension in the plot, made it impossible to put down. There was actually some grumbling at home when I was “too busy” reading to make dinner or pay attention to anyone… But I just had to know what happened!

A third party, omniscient narrator jumps between two perspectives, which, as some of you know, is not a technique I’m really a fan of. I like things a little more linear. But it worked here. Firstly, both characters are equally interesting, and they’re clearly linked and both necessary to the plot, so you don’t feel you lose focus or are just waiting for the story to switch back to the one you actually give a crap about. Happens way too much in this genre when they use multiple perspectives… Seriously… The author also used the opportunity of having a narrator with an outside perspective thoughtfully and cleverly to illustrate quirks of the characters, to present the reader with a wider world view and make them feel they understood something beyond the characters’ own perspectives. I thought it was well done.

The characters themselves demonstrate clear growth through the book, and I found them realistic, well-rounded, and easy to fall in love with. I also thought that using a female protagonist who’s fallen from grace was an interesting choice, and it gave her a great story arc.

Onyx and Ivory isn’t the most original or earth shattering of books. I didn’t have a big “wow moment” at the end of it. It could use a more suspenseful ending. However, that being said, there’s some comfort in familiar tropes and ideas within a genre. It was fun, cleverly written, thoughtful, and a great example of good worldbuilding. I enjoyed it immensely.

I would definitely recommend this book for fans of YA fantasy with a feminist touch, and I know I’ll be looking out for the sequel.

Rating: 4/5

Oh, and does anyone have any suggestions for things to add to my TBR? What should I read next?


3 thoughts on “Onyx and Ivory [Book Review]”

  1. I haven’t actually read much sci-fi! It’s been on my to do list… so I’ll check it out! Thanks for the suggestion 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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