Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett Book Cover


They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king of Rime.

Cast out of the nobility, Kate now works for the royal courier service. Only the most skilled ride for the Relay and only the fastest survive, for when night falls, the drakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: She is a wilder, born with forbidden magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals.

And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by drakes in broad daylight—the only survivor Corwin Tormaine, the son of the king. Her first love, the boy she swore to forget after he condemned her father to death.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin must put the past behind them to face this new threat and an even darker menace stirring in the kingdom.

Book Details

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett
Series: Rime Chronicles #1
Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy
Published May 15th 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Hardcover, 512 pages
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars


Book Review

They call her Traitor Kate

Kate Brighton has only inherited one thing from her father, the name traitor, after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now, she lives on the fringes of society as a Relay Rider for the imperial courier service. It's brutal work filled with danger but danger is what Kate excels at.

But Kate has a secret, an added advantage that the others Riders don't know about...she is a Wilder.

She is born with forbidden magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals, especially with her horse. It is this same magic that reunites Kate the boy she swore to forget, her first love, the same boy who condemned her father to death—the high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane.

Relay Riders, Wilder Magic, and Ravenous Drake

I admit to being instantly attracted to the gorgeous cover of Onyx and Ivory and having read and enjoyed Avalon by Mindee Arnett, I knew that this was one new YA fantasy I wanted to try.

I love the gritty Western vibe of the Relay Riders.

The whole setting with the flightless drakes threatening and the gritty Relay riders that I couldn't help picturing as the early Pony Express riders of the West won me over. 

I ended up enjoying the story, with Kate being a charismatic and tough new heroine to follow.

I loved the way Kate takes it all in stride. She's determined, fierce and though she is hurting inside from being branded a traitor and an outcast, she never gives up. The connection she shares with animals through her wilder magic was a nice touch and made for some interesting plot moments.

Told through both Kate and Corwin's alternating voices, I thought for sure I would love the romantic buildup...but I didn't.

I wanted my time with Kate and Corwin fighting drakes, but instead, there were too many moments of a secondary plot where, as the second son, Corwin must enter a trial with his brother Prince Edwin, in order to see which son is deemed worthy enough to succeed their father. 

Too many tropes and plots.

The book felt at times like it had too many troupes it was trying to include when, in my opinion, all it really needed was to focus on the drakes, Kate and Corwin. I needed less of the Mage League, the Inquisition and trials of uror and more grit, black powder, drakes, and swoon.

In the end

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett started off great, immediately hooking me with the Relay riders, drakes, and Kate's charismatic character but somewhere along the way lost some of its excitement. Despite not loving it as much as I expected, the story kept me engage and overall enjoyable. I'm still curious about the series and plan to continue it.

Recommended for:

Readers of YA fantasy and fans of Mindee Arnett looking to start an engaging new series with a strong and charismatic heroine to follow.

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