Published by HarperTEEN on June 7th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
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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.
Ivory and Bone is described as ‘A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.’ This is the story of the people of several tribes in prehistoric times – their lives, loves and conflicts.
This book is unusual in that most of it is narrated by Kol, but he is telling the story of events leading up to that point to Mya, a girl from another tribe. It feels slightly awkward with the narrator constantly referring to ‘you’ all the time.
Then I remember the small pouch I brought with me. “Take this,” I say, placing it into your hand. You hold it awkwardly, pursing your lips. Your eyes flit from the pouch to my face. “It’s honey. I gathered it last summer from several hives I was able to find-“
What this story does have is slow, glorious descriptions of the world in which the tribes live. From the cold tundra and dangerous ocean to the more temperate forests south of the mountains, the camp of each tribe, the clothes they wear and the spears they carry are all lovingly detailed. I felt like I was right there in the meadow, or in the kayak in the freezing storm, or sleeping in a pile of furs and seal pelts. It makes for a rather slow story, but it is a vivid one.
So, Pride and Prejudice. I suppose there are elements of P&P there – the matchmaking mother, the rivals for affection. The roles are reversed though, with the leading family having four sons, and the proud, aloof suitor being Mya.
The tensions between the young people in the three tribes almost feels like a high school drama at some points, with the girls all hating each other and the boys torn between their attraction to each of them.
I did love the characterisations though. Kol was such a sweet boy, always trying to do the right thing. Mya pulled off the whole ‘proud and cold’ act very well, and she reminded me how I really don’t get how Mr Darcy can turn into a nice guy at the end after being so rude at the start! Mya warms up to Kol eventually, but I never really warmed up to her.
I loved Julie Eshbaugh’s writing style. Apparently there is a trilogy planned, so I’ll be looking out for book two. Ivory and Bone wrapped up very neatly so I have no idea what to expect next!
Read this book if you are a fan of P&P-style romance, and are interested in learning a LOT more about how prehistoric tribes lived.