Onyx and Ivory
Author: Mindee Arnett
Series: Rime Chronicles, book 1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (May 15, 2018)
Hardcover, 500 pages
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They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.
The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.
With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.
I almost didn’t read this because there were so many less than stellar reviews, but BOY am I glad I read it anyway! This book is amazing. It’s got a bit of a slow build at the start as there’s a lot of world building and backstory set-up, but that’s pretty much to be expected for the first book in a fantasy series.
Onyx and Ivory is told in the third person limited POV, and alternates between following Kate and Corwin so the reader gets a broader big-picture insight into their characters and the overall plot. I was really intrigued by the system of magic (especially since I’m writing a Snow White story in a sort of similar system where people have a particular affinity or certain type of magic!) I’d have really liked to understand a little more about the different schools of mages, but that info likely would have weighed the book down with too much world building. I’m hoping there’s some more info in the next book, though!
I really loved Kate and Corwin, both their individual stories and the romantic plotline that runs with them. I’m hoping for much more romance in the next book, not going to lie! And Bonner, Signe, and Dal are such incredible characters – I adore when a book has very strong and interesting supporting characters. I might be shipping Signe and Dal even harder than Kate and Corwin! Especially at the very end of the book – just, ugh *dreamy sigh*. I don’t want to spoil it, so you’ll have to read it to know what I’m talking about, but Signe + Dal 4eva!
This is the first book in the series, and the main plotline wraps up pretty well while still opening the book up to the plotline for the sequel, so if you wanted you could read this one as a stand alone. However, I’m very much looking forward to the next book, Shadow and Flame.
An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.