When Beautiful Books Disappoint | Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1) by Julie Eshbaugh
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Published by: HarperTeen on June 7th 2016
Genres: Prehistoric, Fantasy, YA, YA Historical
Source: Edelweiss, ARC From Publisher
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
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.
There’s nothing in the world worse (for me at least) than writing a negative book review. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh was one of my most anticipated books of 2016. Based on the tagline, ‘A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice’, I assumed Ivory and Bone would rock my world. Fantasy is my first love, right after Science Fiction. YA, Adult, Middle Grade, doesn’t matter. I soak up the genre like a sponge. However, after reading a little over 50% of this novel, I’m left questioning where Ivory and Bone went wrong.
Beautiful prose aside, I haven’t come across another novel with so much undiscovered potential. All the glitz and glamour written on the pages doesn’t mean a hill of beans (you Southerners know what I mean) if you have little to no plot. Seriously. Plot is as important as character development. Let me reiterate: Plot is as important as character development. Why on Earth, if I have a TBR pile the size of North Carolina, should I read your novel if you’re characters don’t do anything? I’m 50% into your novel and to put it bluntly, I’m bored. So bored, I put down the novel, pick up Three Dark Crowns, and instantly finish it in a day. A book with about zero world building but a thrilling plot. See the disconnect?
I wanted to love Ivory and Bone so much. I wanted to rock it so hard. In truth, I made it 50% in because I adored Julie Eshbaugh writing style, her colorful descriptions, and her depiction of prehistoric life. Trust me, that Stone Age vibe seemed impossible to execute and execute with some amount of believability. I thought her attempt at something new in the world of fantasy was brave, daring, and needed. Her world building was simply amazing and as I could tell, required an extensive amount of research. Still, I can’t overlook the fact that poetry-esque narrative is not enough to hold my attention.
Not even close.
I knew the character’s names, I knew (I think) their desires, how they lived their everyday lives. What I can’t tell you is what they did the whole first half of the novel other than look for food, kill animals (mammoths – which should be exciting!), and walk/boat to places. Sadly, this isn’t an exaggeration. The little action I did witness became overshadowed by longwinded paragraphs which sometimes escalated into longwinded pages of description. Incredibly tedious to read. World building is major in the realm of fantasy. But, so is a plot. Giving the characters something to do other than the same repetitive two things, or a conflict.
One positive amid the negative (again, sorry) is the 2 person POV. I’ve read maybe three books in this particular point-of-view and know it’s not my cup of tea. However, with Eshbaugh’s ability to string a sentence together so eloquently, it worked. It worked well. Again, her authenticity, voice, and narrative style are phenomenal. Praiseworthy. And I hope to read more from this author in the future. I didn’t outright hate Ivory and Bone, which is why I’m giving it 2 Controllers instead of a DNF rating.
Do I think it deserved better overall execution? Yes. Will it appeal to some? Absolutely. Should you try it? Definitely.
And as for my final thought, I want to thank the author for taking a huge risk and attempting something I’m not sure many could pull off.