Ivory and Bone
By: Julie Eshbaugh
Release Date: June 7th 2016
Format: Print ARC
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.
What a unique book Ivory and Bone was! The writing style and techniques Eshbaugh utilizes to bring the reader closer to her characters and story was a major aspect that sets this book apart as well as it taking place during the Ice Age. I do believe this was my first read that took place during that time period.
Because of the time period our characters deal with issues I don’t typically think about- freezing, hunting mammoths and other frightening, toothed creatures. I loved how the book handled the hunting and survival of the characters. Yes, if you are very sensitive to animal violence there was a little but it honestly didn’t bother me since it was how these characters lived and survived.
You probably read that this book mirrors Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and it does but in very unexpected ways! It did not feel like Pride and Prejudice meets the Ice Age to me. It felt deeper than that and the characters might have allusions to those in Austen’s book but they stand on their own as real feeling characters.
Speaking of the characters- I really enjoyed the approach Eshbaugh took to really introduce the reader to their stories-I’ll let you read the book to find out how exactly she went off the beaten path to do this. I really found Kol an interesting character (though he veered on naive at times) and I enjoyed trying to figure out the mystery behind why Mya’s issues with his tribe derived. The characters relationships were frustrating at times due to miscommunications but it did feel realistic and true to the story.
The setting was so unique and it made me feel the cold though I was reading this in the heat of summer. That was incredibly impressive for the descriptions to be vivid enough to transport me to cold during a Texas summer-but Eshbaugh did it! The cold was palpable and the struggle for the characters to live in this setting was so well done and yet not boring. I mean, really, the Ice Age could make for a rather dull book in the wrong hands.
Ivory and Bone was incredibly unique because of the setting, gender swapped allusions to Pride and Prejudice as well as the Ice Age setting. I felt that this book was beautifully developed with character growth, a slow burn romance as well as vivid descriptions of the time period.