3 star, YA

Review: Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Series: Rime Chronicles #1

onyx & ivory -mindee arnettThey 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.

3 Drink Me Potions

A copy was provided by Edelweiss and HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

I will admit, coming into this fantasy book, I thought it wouldn’t be able to surprise me much. I mean, a competition between brothers for the crown. A mysterious death of the previous king. Monstrous creatures coming out at night. A protagonist with secret magical abilities that may come in handy more than she could know. And enemies lurking in the shadows with ulterior motives. All sounds a little familiar, right?

How about the part of wild magic versus the controlled form of magic that was legal to use? Or the fact that the romance centred on an old flame who broke her heart? And only these two could right the wrongs that were occurring in their lands?

Yet, something about Onyx and Ivory didn’t let me put it down and give up completely. While the major concepts are things that very well are found in other books, I really enjoyed a couple of things that still felt unique.

The concept of uror and the competition the princes had to face went beyond a simple duel of who was a better fit to be king. It boiled down to the heart of each boy and what mattered to them the most, and getting to see this side of Corwin won me over a lot more than just the generic princely character in such stories.

Kate was also an intriguing protagonist in some ways. Yes, she held forbidden wild magic in her blood but it wasn’t completely evident if there was any applicable use of her abilities in the beginning. She wasn’t the most memorable girl (the whole powerful girl who can save the day thing, you know?) but I liked her courage to stand for what was important to her, including the people she loved.

As far as fantasies go, the pacing was all right and the story wasn’t completely predictable in every way, but it may not stand out very well in the sea of amazing YA fantasies out there already.

Overall Recommendation:
Onyx and Ivory features a plot that may not be 100% original yet it still delivers a nice story of courage, heart and fighting for what’s right. In a world where wild magic is forbidden, Kate has a lot going against her. Reunited with the boy who broke her heart, a conspiracy within the kingdom must be brought to light as old mysteries resurface. Although I liked this novel well enough, it just missed a certain element to propel it into the spotlight that’s been so overcrowded by a lot greater novels in the YA world.

1 thought on “Review: Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett”

  1. Onyx and Ivory sounds pretty great, even if it is a bit predictable in the fantasy tropes sense. But with so many books out there, I guess it can be pretty hard to put a truly original spin on things. Still, I’m glad you liked it despite this! 😊

    I had a similar feeling about Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian. It’s about an imprisoned princesses whose people have been enslaved by the King, and she becomes the face of the rebellion, the one everybody believes can save them. ( Pretty predictable, right?) But I did enjoy reading it, even despite this overused plot line. It had an intriguing magic system, and a few mysterious side characters that kept me interested while reading.

    Great review! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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