Book Title:
Ivory and Bone
Book Author:
Julie Eshbaugh
Book Series:
Ivory and Bone, #1
Publishing Date:
June 7th, 2016
Date Read:
June 8th, 2016
eARC from publisher via Edelweiss


The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.

Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.

Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in a tangle of their pasts.

When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along.

My Review

Ivory and Bone opens with our main character, Kol, telling Mya a beautiful story about when they first met, and the events that had led them to where they are now (in a cave, outside in cold, trying to stay warm and survive).  Mya is injured, and wants to know about the best day of Kol’s life.

“‘Tell me something wonderful – a story that’s startling and marvelous.’  Despite your grogginess, there’s a lilt of expectation in your voice. ‘Tell me about the most startling and marvelous day of your life…'”

Kol met Mya one afternoon when several people from her clan came to visit the people of his clan – despite a big misunderstanding from several years ago, the two clans are trying to put it behind them for the sake of marriage and children…both of the clans are small, and they are running out of females in Kol’s clan, so both he and his brother are desperately hoping to have the chance to marry one of the girls who have come to visit.

Of course, Kol is instantly smitten with Mya, despite her apparent loathing of him, but he tries to make her fall in love with him.  As time goes on, and the two clans try to make things between them work, there are plenty of disagreements and we do find out what the “misunderstanding” between the two clans is, which is a lot less of a huge thing than I had assumed it was going to be when I started reading.  But I did get it…and I imagine it would be hard to struggle though what had happened and still manage to be trusting of the other members of the clan.

Other stuff happens, and then Kol and Mya end up in the cave where the book first started, and it continues from there until the end, talking about what happens next for both of the clans.

Yep, that’s the book in a nutshell.  Seriously, aside from some things that I won’t mention because I don’t want to spoil anything for other readers, I didn’t find too much in the way of memorable material in this.

I feel like I’ve done this way too many times this year – given an incredibly hyped up and well loved book a less than stellar review.  For some reason, very hyped up books and I just don’t tend to get along very well…I always end up being the black sheep, and the case of Ivory and Bone is really no different.  I went into it expecting this amazing story to just completely blow me away, and was kind of left feeling underwhelmed and…well, kind of bored, actually.  I mean, it crossed my mind several times that I really couldn’t have been reading the same book that everyone else was reading.  It just seemed to me that so many things in this book were lacking.

The first thing that I thought was incredibly lacking was the world building.  Being set in a prehistoric period should give the book the ability to have a vast amount of world building…think about it – it’s a time period that we, as the readers of this book, haven’t actually lived in – so of course we’re going to want as much information as possible.  Honestly, you could pretty much have free rein to make up as much amazing things as you want during this period, as well, as long as you follow basic facts that are already known.  Since not much has been done with this time period, there is so much creative minds can offer!  Painting a really detailed picture would have been a great help in making this book memorable.  Sure, there were basic descriptions of the of the landscapes and the huts that they were living in, but I felt like so much more could have been added to this to make it a better book.

Another thing that I found lacking were the personalities of the characters in Ivory and Bone.  They felt incredibly flat, and there was nothing special about any of them.  They either didn’t have a personality at all of they were cookie cutter characters that really had nothing all that memorable going for them.  And if you’re looking for character development?  There isn’t any.  At all.  And there’s insta-love.  Kol (the main character) has a ridiculous insta-crush on Mya, and the entire book revolved around how he thought about her.  Why do authors continue to write insta-love into their novels when the majority of readers are so turned off by it?  Not only that, but it seemed like Kol hated Mya just as much as he was madly in love with her.  It was like he was in love with her in one chapter, and was happy to never have to look at her again in the next.

The way the story is being told is kind of confusing at first…it took me a little bit to get into it, but I have to give the author credit…it was well done.  It’s told from Kol’s point of view, only he starts off by telling the girl he’s with, Mya, about how they met and how he felt about her through his eyes.  Like I said, a really interesting storytelling technique, and it made the book different.  Also, the writing in this book is beautiful, and I think the author’s way with words is probably one of the reasons I kept reading – it’s just captivating.

Another positive thing about Ivory and Bone was the fact that it was set in the prehistoric time period.  I wish more could have been done with this, but it still was pretty neat, because I honestly haven’t come across another young adult novel set in a prehistoric time period (I’m definitely open for recommendations if you know of any others set in this period, so please feel free to leave titles in the comments so I can check them out!).

Finally, the book seemed to go on forever.  I won’t lie – this sucker took me a while to finish because it was so painfully slow I felt like I had been reading the same chapter for ages, and I think I even read two or three books at the same time I was reading this one because I was so bored.  Several times I considered just not finishing the thing, but I did, and I’m glad that I did.  While it was slow (if you liked fast paced fantasy, you won’t be too thrilled with the pacing here), it did have its positive parts, so I can’t say the book as a whole was just terrible.

I didn’t really like it, but I didn’t hate it, either.  I’m glad I read it, so I could see what all the fuss was about, but honestly?  I still don’t get it.  While I didn’t dislike Ivory and Bone, I most likely will not be continuing the series, because I just found it dull and lacking in so many departments that are critical to a book being well written (at least to me).

2.5 stars
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8 Responses to Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

  1. Deanna says:

    Sorry this one underwhelmed you. I hadn’t read the synopsis before and thought it sounded good. It obviously had potential.

    • Kelly says:

      You might enjoy it – I seemed to be one of the only ones who didn’t! If you do have the chance to read it, I do think you should give it a go – it’s kind of original and interesting!

  2. Oh, I am so much in agreement with your review! I wanted to love this one so badly, but it fell very flat for me too. We can be black sheep together ? Seriously, I wanted so much more from the world building- I felt like the story and the world weren’t connected- you could have plopped the characters into ANY time period, or world, and nothing would have changed except for a few mammoths and maybe their housing.

    I also feel you with the instalove. Like, Mya could’ve been ANY female, and I think he’d have “loved” her. I felt zero feels for their relationship. I am conflicted about continuing the series, because I am really desperate for the world building to be more complex, but maybe it’s just not going to happen in this series. Fabulous review, but I’m sorry it didn’t work for you either.
    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted…Review (and a GAME!): Like a River Glorious by Rae CarsonMy Profile

    • Kelly says:

      Finally, someone else feels the same about this book! I felt all alone with this, haha. I really agree about Mya…she had no personality whatsoever – like any other female from any other book you’ve read could just be plopped there and it would have worked out. It’s such a bummer, because this book had SO much potential! Part of me really wants to continue the series, but I don’t really want to spend more time on something I didn’t like, so I don’t know. I seriously thought the world building in this book was going to blow me away, but it was so simple it was practically non-existent.

  3. Brittany says:

    Aw, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this book! I personally really liked it, but I could see how the writing style might not be for everyone. Lovely review! ^_^

    Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles
    Brittany recently posted…Interview with Daniel Sweren-Becker, debut author of The OnesMy Profile

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks so much! I’m really glad to hear that you enjoyed it! It seems that most people did enjoy it, and I admit, it definitely has a lot of interesting elements in it!

  4. Oh man, I was pretty excited about this one when I heard it was set in the prehistoric period, but it definitely sounds like it was executed in a dull, boring way with characters that make you fall asleep. Thanks for sharing though!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Indulgence Insider #59 – Cultural Diversity Recs, Book Haul & EOS PosterMy Profile

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