Book Review – Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett

onyx and ivoryThey 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.


My rating: Cyan-Full starCyan-Full starCyan-Full starCyan-Full starNo-Star

I really enjoyed this, I love a good bit of political intrigue mixed with my fantasy.

I did have an issue with the whole Traitor Kate thing – I think that while people may have taken it up, there were definitely a couple of times I felt it went too far.

Other than that though, I really did love it. I’d love to know more of the history behind the magists v wilders, or the uror. I found both of those fascinating.

I really liked Kate as a main character, trying to get on with her life and protect her friends. I loved the drakes as a concept too, they were appropriately scary! Cordon was great by the end, but it definitely took me time to warm up to him – I get that he’s supposed to have a mysterious background (ugh) and he’s conflicted about Kate (double ugh) but he just wasn’t doing enough at the start. By the end though, he was fab! And I’m really looking forward to seeing how he develops in book two.

The side characters were all pretty fab too – Bonner, Signe and Dal were consistently excellent! I really liked the relationships they created.

The mystery of Kate’s father was good too – the overall twist about him wasn’t too surprising but I really liked the first one. And then there’s the main plot twist. I feel that part of it you’re really supposed to know – even the characters suspect. But the main bit of it, who in particular, was really well done and I can’t wait to see what happens next!


Buy Onyx & Ivory from Amazon UK.

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