Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Posted June 15, 2016 by Minx

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Also in this series:Obsidian and Stars
Also by this author: Obsidian and Stars
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 371
ISBN: 006239925X
Purchase at: Amazon
Minx's Rating:

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.


I was so excited for this book to come out! I was eagerly awaiting the day, it was on my Terrific Tuesday posting for June 07, 2016 and I was pumped. Then I read it, slowly deflated, and I am sitting here thinking that there is something wrong with me because I was not blown away like everyone else. It was a very enjoyable read but I am not grabbing the book and rolling in the grass in pure bliss like most reviewers are seeming to be doing. Now I am having that existential crisis of “is this it? Have I read so much that I can not appreciate anything anymore?” Ok, I am not really having a crisis but I am disappointed that I did not love it.

First lets start with a definition:

Allusion: an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference.

I love Pride and Prejudice. Own the book, seen the many movie renditions, there are no allusions there. If someone has a book discussion and points out (key words) a few situations that are similar then yes, I could see that, with one character, but that’s a stretch at best.

This main plot is about Kol from the Manu clan and his focus on one woman, Mya. If there are any allusions going on it is with the movie 10,000 B.C. The story is told in first person from the perspective of Kol. Roughly for the first three quarters of the book the story is told in a narration from his perspective of his meeting her and following events that led them to where he starts to tell the story. Oral tradition is how history was passed from generation to generation in the past and this narration is reminiscent of that. The romantic in me absolutely loves this because he is so detailed in his thoughts, feelings, and honesty. He holds nothing back and I love how the author was able to keep the narration so well and from his perspective. Truly well written and not just his narration but she does an excellent job of the world construction for pre-historic times but unfortunately for me I kept envisioning 10,000 B.C.

Kol’s deepest desire is for Mya to see him, to want him, to trust him, to be his. Mya is from the Olen clan and there is a bad history between these two clans that almost led to a war five years ago. Kol is unaware of exactly what the catalyst was that led to the tensions between clans but his fascination with Mya is the spark that starts his mind pondering. That spark has opened his awareness to why Mya and her clan are not so open to the idea of the clans aligning and later on explains the poor treatment of his clan.

Seems that clan Olen also have a few skeletons in their closet. Unbeknownst to either clan Manu or Olen there is a third clan, the Bosha, in the background who have a nefarious interest in the extinction of the Olen elder, Chev, and his family. Through deception this third clan is almost able to bring their plan to fruition but things do not go as planned thanks to the bravery of Kol.

For most of the book, I found the whole character of Mya to be a turn off. I wanted Kol to just move on and seek greener pastures. Had I been his friend I would have definitely been trying to push him to be sensible because the girl has issues. In the last quarter of this book my feelings for her started to thaw because as things came to light I began to understand the “why” to her behaviors.

Kol, now there is a guy after my heart even if he is a bit naive. Yes, naive because he is fixated on a girl that is not worthy of him or seemingly interested in him. I found his character to be well rounded and well developed. The imagery that I see when I think back about his narration in the re-telling of his perspective of Mya just makes me love this character.

I felt that the ideas were developed, the sub plots were tied together nicely and that the writing style was original, although there are some issues with the modern voice in a pre-historic setting. The story was pretty slow until the end where the climax was quite tumultuous. Also, I am not against “insta-love” if it is believable to me. Kol was inexperienced with females and given how the story was told he was fascinated by Mya but is that due to lack of previous options or experience? It just came across as “puppy love” to me and was hard for me to take seriously. If he had previously had female options and took no interest and then he met Mya and wowwzza then I would have been able to take his fascination seriously.

The biggest turn off for me was the first person voice. Everything is from Kol’s perspective and I get nothing from Mya’s. There is no sidekick to add to the discussion and bring some deepening of the characters. So I just have his thoughts and feelings on everything but I felt that they were the thoughts and feelings of a pre-pubescent boy. Any seventeen-year-old boy would have some inner thoughts that were not pure and rational. I would have liked to known Mya’s side of things. Her inner thoughts, how she felt about Kol, her struggles and desires.

There was so much good with this story but there were just some issues that I could not get past to fangirl about this book. It is a great debut novel from an obviously talented writer and I am hoping for more in the next book.

What are your thoughts? Are you on Team Rolling Around in the Grass??

About Julie Eshbaugh

Author Julie Eshbaugh

Julie Eshbaugh is the author of Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.

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