Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
UNPUTDOWNABLE YA FANTASY ALERT PEOPLE!!
The Fairyloot Team has an unparalleled ability to discover hidden treasures (metal detectors or something?). The edition of Onyx and Ivory they included in their May Box (black sprayed pages, oh my) was a feast for the eyes, but also the first book in a while that had me truly immersed in its dark pages. Politics, conspirasies, war, ancient rites, forbidden magic, rebels, wingless dragons and fierce heroes, it was an enchanting adventure that made me forget the sour taste of War Storm and exceeded my expectations!
Onyx and Ivory takes place in Rime, the only kingdom where magic is manifested, where the fearsome drakes come out at night and devour human flesh. It follows the story of Kate Brighton, a girl whose father attempted to assassinate the king and thus was sentenced to death. With his past treason haunting her every step, Kate tried to start anew as a rider of the Relay (the royal courier service) until Fate staged an unexpected meeting with Corwin Tormane, the king's second son and the boy she once loved, who returned to his homeland after three years of mysterious journeys. Now Kate and Corwin must work together in order to solve the mystery of new monsters roaming the land of Rime, while they pretend that their history and the tension that shimmers and burns between them doesn't exist. With Kate's secrets and Corwin's duties separating them, but their common goals and the love they once shared tethering their souls, they will uncover conspiracies, face devastating truths, and come across forces that threaten their country and their world. Will Traitor Kate and the Errant Prince be able to stop them?
“It's always a choice, to do right or wrong, no matter the power.”
One of the many things that made Onyx and Ivory such an enjoyable read is the detailed worldbuilding and the fascinating lore; the history of Rime, its politics, the monsters, the chasm between the magic wielders made this novel deeply atmospheric, and transfused an aura of danger and urgency to the narration. Mindee Arnett crafted a unique world interwoven with action, and toe-curling, slow-burning romance, which, in my book, is the perfect blend for success!
There was, however, a heavy use of many YA tropes (heroine who finds out the magnitude of her abilities / secrets kept from her parents / sibling rivalries etc), and the attitude of the characters (mostly Kate) followed the predetermined pattern of the YA heroine who withholds the truth of her heritage, constantly gets into trouble and thinks she can do anything by herself, but mind that while they are enough for detracting a star, they don't make the story any less magical. In fact, one of the book's assets is Mindee Arnett writing style; it's rich, fluid, descriptive and evokes a variety of emotions, while she manages to make you see the landscapes and the characters through her eyes. She demands your attention, and she gets it.
Kate, Corwin, Raith, Signe, Dal, they are multi-layered characters cloaked in mystery, each of them for their own reasons. What took me by surprise was how realistic and flawed Corwin was; he was not the powerful, perfect prince who poops rainbows and sunshine. And -skies above- it's the girl that saves the prince in this one! Kate is strong, fierce and too stubborn for her own good, and although sometimes you want to deprive her for her occasionally stupid decisions, you admire her loyalty and her dignity. Both Kate and Corwin made many mistakes as regards their romantic relationship, but their connection is palpable, and their moments hearwarming. So naturally, I ship them.
Onyx and Ivory is a complex and gripping story, a pageturner that will awaken both the adventurer and the romantic in you!
P.S. It is not a standalone. That's the explanation for the abrupt ending. I wish I knew it back then. *cue the violins*