Title: Onyx and Ivory
Author: Mindee Arnett
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: Rime Chronicles, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Mindee Arnett is an author from my own state, Ohio, and the first book I ever read by her was her debut, The Nightmare Affair; it left me feeling kind of lukewarm. I liked the concept, but it wasn’t my favorite. But her series opener, Onyx and Ivory, has been sitting in my library stack for a while. When I realized that I couldn’t renew it any more, I pushed it to the top of my stack as soon as I was finished with Fire and Heist. This book was a lush, pleasant surprise: breakneck pacing, well-drawn characters, political intrigue and nefarious plots, with magic, danger, forbidden romance, with a shocking ending that leaves plenty of room for a sequel; this book has become my favorite in Arnett’s body of work. I’m so excited for what happens next!
Kate Brighton has fallen from grace, ripped from her station as one of the King of Rime’s gentry, after her father dies; he attacked the king and almost killed him. Known now as only Traitor Kate, eking out a meager living in the King’s imperial riding service, The Relay, she is an outcast, hiding a deadly secret. From her father, she inherited forbidden, deadly magic known as wilder magic. Even more frightening, she can use that magic to control drakes, dangerous flightless dragons. The King’s order of magists hunt for Wilders, and the cruel inquisition only gains more traction when mysterious attacks begin happening all over Rime. Corwin, the younger of the crown princes, has his own secrets to hide, for fear of hurting his family, and his chances at the throne, even though he doesn’t seem to want it. When Kate reenters his life, he is forced to confront everything that he kept into the past. Drawn to one another despite all of the forces conspiring against them, they begin to dig into the dark past of their histories, and begin to realize that what they uncover will risk not only the kingdom of Rime, but the whole of the world as well…
As I said before, this book was a pleasant surprise. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and I really liked Arnett’s take on it. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately drawn into the dangerous, magical world of Rime. One of my favorite parts of the book was how strong the characters were, especially Kate. This book had all of my favorite things in a fantasy opener: dragons, magic, forbidden love, political intrigue and dangerous secrets. I also adored the slow-burn, forbidden romance between Kate, the exiled traitor trying to clear her father’s name, and Corwin, stifled and desperate to make his own way, despite his family and station’s expectations. It took me much longer to finish it, as my life has been absolutely crazy recently, but I enjoyed it very much. The only thing that I wish was better was the worldbuilding; I wish the establishment of the gods’ roles in the book had been expanded on. Nonetheless, I’m very excited for the sequel! The bottom line: Mindee Arnett has redeemed herself fully in my estimation with her series debut, Onyx and Ivory! Chock full of romance, intrigue, and more than one monster, I loved it, and I can’t wait for the sequel! Next on deck: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney!