Thursday, June 16, 2016

Book Review: Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Title: Ivory and Bone
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Written by: Julie Eshbaugh
Published: June 7, 2016 by HarperTeen
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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.

This book was everything I wanted it to be. A fascinating world with a prehistoric setting, a plot full of adventure and drama, and a great hate to love romance. One of the things I love about this book was the world and the setting.

What initially interested me in this book was the fact that it has a prehistoric setting and it was absolutely fantastic. You can tell that the author did her research into the way of life for people during that era. It made for a really unique historical fiction novel. But the setting also made for a plot that was full of drama and adventure. It was not an easy time for people as they were just starting to build societies and having to contend with challenges from the world around them in both the elements and the creatures they encountered. The book was full of action with mammoth hunts, treks across treacherous landscapes, and warring tribes. It really built to a fantastic conclusion that had me on the edge of my seat.

But the basis of this story is also one of the things that made it so interesting and creative. This is a gender bent Pride and Prejudice retelling. I know how crazy that sounds in a prehistoric setting but it worked so well. It wasn't a perfect retelling but there were so many elements of the original story that I recognized. On top of that I really liked the twist the author put on the story. I actually kind of hope that the other books in the series take on different Austen novels because I think the concept was so cool.

Plus being a Pride and Prejudice retelling this book also had a great hate to love romance. The romance wasn't my favorite thing in the books, but I do think it added an interesting layer especially when it came to the Austenian elements. I didn't really feel the swoons with the romance but I liked that t was a slowburn based on misunderstandings and then overcoming obstacles together leading to stronger feelings. Plus there were some good moments on conflict between the characters.

But on the note of the characters, while I liked them, they didn't leap off the page for me. They were interesting enough but I think they could have been a little bit more complex, especially Kol. He was an okay MC, strong and determined but he didn't make a lasting impression on me. You would think that he would be the most realized but he wasn't really for me. That may have been Mya, actually. We see everything through Kol so at first Mya seems standoffish and sullen but simultaneously tough and smart. Then as the book develops she had the character development I would have expected from Kol. While the characters were likable, I would have liked a little bit more on the characterizations.

It was also an interesting narrative style. The book is told in a not quite first-person, not quite second person style. The main character Kol is telling a story to and about the other main character, Mya. So he talks about I and you which gives it an interesting feel. Sometimes you almost forget that he's talking about Mya and think that you actually are a part of the story. It felt a little strange at times but really helps immerse you in the story.

On the whole, Ivory and Bone was a good read. One of the more creative books I have read in a long time. But how can you not be with a prehistoric gender-bent Pride and Prejudice retelling.

I give Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. This book is worth your time and energy. It was completely creative and completely compelling. I would definitely recommend this to P and P fans, historical fiction fans, or to anyone looking for something new.

Have you read Ivory and Bone? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Prehistoric Pride and Prej retelling?? I honestly can't even imagine how a YA book would go in prehistoric times. Even though this is WAY out of my comfort zone (and I'm not a big Jane Austen girl-- except Clueless obviously), I'm super intrigued by this. And I had NO idea that this was what this was about. The cover looks dystopian!

  2. I had no idea it was a Pride & Prejudice retelling at all! I really enjoyed this one and I'm super happy to hear you did too!!