Tuesday, December 27, 2016

IVORY AND BONE BY JULIE ESHBAUGH - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back again today with another review, Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh. Thanks so much to LitJoy Crate for including this book in one of their boxes; I'm not sure I would have picked it up on my own.


This book tells the story of Kol and his tribe as well as the rocky past they share with another tribe. The story is set in prehistoric times, so we get wooly mammoth hunts and saber-toothed tiger kills. The story also partly follows Kol's interactions with two other tribes, and two girls named Mya and Lo. Both are distant with secrets of their shared pasts. This book is kind of hard to explain, so I will just dive into the more technical aspects.

First, and I think most importantly, the majority of this book is told in the second person. There is a little prologue/intro bit at the beginning of the novel that sets things up and explains why it is told this way, Kol is telling Mya a story. In this sense, the concept of a second person perspective isn't as far-fetched, but it is a bit jarring at first, especially because most books these days are told in either first or third person. Once you get into the story, you don't really notice it, and towards the end, we 'catch up' to the point where Kol is telling the story and things shift into first person.

One aspect of this story I really loved was the prehistoric setting. I've never read a story set this far back in history and it was really interesting. I'm not sure how much of the story is 'real' because I'm not really sure how much of that type of thing is researchable. Obviously, the mammoths and tigers are real, anyone would know that. But the history of the tribes, I'm not sure how much of that was taken as a historical element and how much creative freedom was used. Not that I'm complaining, there were some great stories about the tribes, but I'm intrigued to know, more from a personal interest standpoint, to see if there is any evidence of these specific groups.

I don't know if I really enjoyed the characters all that much, they were decent but not amazing or super well fleshed out. Kol was a slightly about average narrator, he told his story with great detail, but I don't think I really connected with any character on a super deep level.

The love triangle, if you can call it that, was tepid at best. I didn't really like Lo from the start, she was a little suspicious, and Mya was cold and distant. It was interesting seeing a romantic setup such as this one from a male POV, it's something you don't see a lot of in YA, especially when a love triangle is concerned. For me, this was the story of healing and recognizing past mistakes, not so much a romance between tribes. I didn't really feel a connection between Kol and either of the girls, even towards the end, and I almost feel like the story would have been just as good, if not better if they had just been friends.

I really enjoyed the concept of the reversal of traditional gender stereotypes, Kol was falling for the girls, but they were both hesitant to see him that way. He spins a magical tale, but they see a story of survival. Eshbaugh does a great job of flipping this element and I thought it added some interest to the story.

I don't know if I would call this similar to Pride and Prejudice, frankly, I've never read the book so I can't really compare, but I know that that is a romance, and I just don't think this romance was good enough to compare to perhaps the most iconic romance of all time.

I think that this book has some great bones, and I'm looking forward to the sequel, but I did have a few problems with it. There was kind of a lack of plot, there was a general goal of romance and resolving the issues within the tribe, but there were times when that was a little lost in the collection of honey and mammoth hunts. Fortunately for me, I found these aspects really interesting, so I didn't find as much fault in this con as many others probably will. I could see how others don't love this element, there are times when I wasn't sure where things were going or meant to go.

Overall, I loved the concept of this novel and am excited about the sequel.