Friday, June 1, 2018

Review: Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Onyx and IvoryTitle: Onyx and Ivory
Author:  Mindee Arnett
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date:  May 15th, 2018
Pages: 512
Genre: YA High Fantasy
Series:  Rime Chronicles #1
Source:  Audio
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the Nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by Nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.
The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.
With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

I am always hesitant with High Fantasy. I am so picky about this genre. I have read some really great ones, some pretty good ones, and some not so good. There is either love, really like, or don't like with me. I really really really loved this one. One of the main problems that I have with High Fantasy is the pacing. I often get bored. This one didn't have any of those pesky pacing issues. I loved the characters, I was so invested in the characters. The story felt original and I just well I just so loved everything about it. 

Traitor Kate lives in a world where magic exists, those that contain it is either a wilder or a mage. The Mage's work for the kings and the law, the Wilders are outlawed. Kate is a Wilder, She can speak to animals and see their minds. This comes in hand for her rider job. Being a Wilder isn't her only problem. Outside of the of the city Nightdrakes prowl the nights. Very dangerous creatures. Oh, and there is the entire Traitor Kate thing. Her father attempted to kill the High King and now she is marked. She has some good friends, a history with the High King's son and she is a Wilder. This is her life. All of this works together when a new threat comes to her world. She must band together with the Prince, her friends, and the animals to save the world and the all the Wilders. 

Where to start with this review. I have so much love for this book. I am not sure what I loved the most, well that is probably a lie, I loved the characters so much. Kate is just the right kind of heroine. She is strong, independent, sassy, brave, and pretty dang tough. Not to mention she has magic and some pretty powerful magic at that. She is smart and she really thinks things through even when she is overwhelmed with emotion. She was such a great strong female lead. Loved her! 

Corwin. Oh, what to say about Corwin. There were times I wasn't sure about Corwin but really he is a pretty decent guy. He is a bit mixed with truth and morals about the Wilders and their magic. But only because of what the magic has done to those he loved. He is still a pretty open-minded man and a kind soul. He needs work but I do love him. Sometimes his words get away from him and he doesn't think before speaking or think at all but he has such a grand heart. 

The love for the characters doesn't end here though. There were so many great ones and I loved them or loved to hate them. There were good guys and bad guys, confused and helpless, betrayed and lied too. There were some innocent bystanders and some very brainwashed characters. There were all kinds and they were all written so well. 

The story was grand too but it wasn't the wow factor for the story. Although it did play into it. I love stories that really test the lines of morality and what's too far when the protection of the people is the end goal. Saftey vs freedom. Human rights. And all that good stuff.  This is what this book is about, this is this story. Told from alternating POVs of Corwin and Kate. We see the heart of the kingdom, the heart of its people, and the heart of the heroes. I also love a great story of heroism and rebellion. So yes my kind of book. 

I did love the world building. The actual country and kingdom and royal structure weren't all that special... except for a few things. The Nightdrakes. Scary freaking creatures. Loved them and I could picture them so easily and they creeped me out. The magic system. I loved all the different types of magic. There really wasn't any limitations on what people could do. The final thing that I thought was quite creative was the way the next king is picked. There are trials to see who is worthy out of the king's heirs. The trials were pretty cool to go through. Very detailed and very freaking cool.

There was no lagging, no boring parts, no over descriptive paragraphs filling multiple pages. It was just right for getting the visual, connecting to the characters, feeling all the emotions and just having a great old time. I can't wait for the next book. 

Oh and just a tad bit of a cliffhanger. Not a huge one, but it's there. 

So loved this book. I mean book hangover when it was done. I am anxiously awaiting (for like a year) for the next book. blah!

Mindee Arnett

YA Author of THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, a contemporary fantasy coming March 5, 2013 from Tor Teen (Macmillan) and AVALON, a YA sci-fi thriller coming Winter 2014 from Balzer+Bray (HarperCollins). Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. Addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you loved it! I've been dying to read this one (I'm still kicking myself because I was granted access on Edelweiss, but I didn't realize it was going to be unavailable the day after I was granted access and I didn't download it in time--oops! :O) The worldbuilding sounds great and I'm glad to hear that the pacing was so on target, that's so important in fantasy. Great review!


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