By Julie Eshbaugh
Book #1 of the Ivory and Bone trilogy
2 out of 5 stars
Two clans. Only one will survive.
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 the 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.
I really really…REALLY struggle to understand why this book was set in this time period. There are so many unique things that could have been done that just weren’t. This whole story could’ve been set in another time and place with the replacement of mammoths with another animal.
I adore historical fiction! I love getting to learn about a new place but Eshbaugh did not paint any picture of this time period that is so under used in YA fiction. At most it was a fantasy but not a particularly imaginative or well done fantasy. It honestly seemed like I missed a prequel novel to explain all this. It may be that I have read The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron, but I had immediate problems with the lack of explanation as to how all these people were talking the same language. There’s a lot of topics, vocabulary and ideologies expressed which were not of this time period (so once again…WHY DO THAT IN THIS TIME PERIOD?!). I wish the nomadic lifestyle would have been explained and developed more (societies didn’t just randomly abandon that practice) however…my big issue was the type of love in this story. I’m sorry but you have literally a handful of women to have as a spouse and try to breed to avoid EXTINCTION and you keep thinking about modern ideas of love?! Really?! I also really struggled with no real reference to the lifespan and ages of everyone overall. I remember the main character’s brother being referenced as 15 when announcing his engagement but what about his parents, etc.! These are all details that were severely lacking and totally removed this book from the realm of historical fiction to me. I think she did some research on the general time period (the reference of bees was quite interesting and I didn’t really ever think of bees being around that long ago) but she didn’t bring enough of it. I didn’t get an idea that she had a passion for the time and that trickled down to me. I literally JUST read These Shallow Graves (by Jennifer Donnelly) and it’s obvious she did research (and not just from the bibliography at the back)!
Finally…I particularly dislike the POV and narrative of this. That’s more of a personal preference but it definitely did not help my rating. I kept cringing when the book was trying to convince me I was the dudes lover.
I’m glad some others enjoyed it and the cover is really nice but I won’t be continuing with this series.