I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Published by HarperTeen on June 7th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical 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.
The writing style in this book was strange for me and I didn’t really enjoy it. The story is told from Kol’s POV and the majority of the story (except for the very beginning and end) are in 2nd person because he is telling the story to “you” – and “you” are Mya, another one of the main characters. What I found the most frustrating about this writing style was that while I’m supposed to be Mya, throughout the story I have no idea what’s going on inside Mya’s head. A lot of the book was Kol wondering why Mya was doing certain things and trying to figure out what Mya was thinking. It was so frustrating to not understand the motives of a character that was supposed to be me! Despite the awkward point of view, I felt the writing flowed well and was easy to read, which was the main reason I was able to finish the book even when I wasn’t feeling the story, especially near the end. I also felt the writing focused more on dialogue and actions of characters and I didn’t get enough world building or setting descriptions for my taste.
While there are a lot of characters in this book, I didn’t feel that they were very well developed. We definitely get to know Kol the best and he was the most developed character, but in the end I didn’t particularly like him. I was frustrated with the character interactions and dialogue because a lot of it focused around not understanding the other characters’ motivations and thoughts. There was a lot of “Is she being rude?” or “Why is she doing/saying that?”. Kol was constantly wondering why people were acting a certain way because whatever they were doing was rude or impolite to him – and that got really annoying for me after a while.
The plot was very slow for me and I considered DNFing this book multiple times. There were multiple points where I just didn’t see the direction the book was heading, but I finished it because I wanted to know what the point of the story was. While the plot did get more interesting in the second half of the book with a bit of a mystery element, but unfortunately the ending wasn’t enough to make up for the other problems I had.
The world building was definitely my favorite part of this story, and was my main attraction to this book in the first place. There aren’t very many books set in a prehistoric time period – I’ve definitely never read one before. I liked how the author incorporated things we know about the end of the ice age into the story, like mammoths moving north as the ice moved north and people having to decide whether to follow them or move south to warmer climates. I don’t know how accurate these things were, but it fit with what I knew about the time period. I know the synopsis calls this a historical fantasy, but I can attest that there is no magic in this book. I personally would call it a (pre)historical romance as the romance plays a key role in the story.
I was really looking forward to this book because of the setting, but unfortunately I didn’t like practically anything else about it! I was really disappointed with this one. However, I know that a lot of people have enjoyed this as well, so if you like historical romance and a prehistoric setting sounds interesting to you maybe you should give it a shot!