Debut author Julie Eshbaugh’s sweeping prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice—will enthrall readers with high-stakes survival, blinding betrayal, and star-crossed love. 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. With riveting action and illustrative prose that leaps from the page, newcomer Julie Eshbaugh will have readers mesmerized.
Ivory and BoneFeatured
This tale starts with Kol as he tells his side of the story, meeting Mya, hunting and almost dying, meeting Lo, Pek and his affections, Shava and her obsessions, and the war. His family is struggling, with food getting scarcer each year and no girls, meaning no reproduction to keep their line alive. But then three visitors come from a neighboring people, and there she is, Mya. We’re pulled in right from the beginning, and it’s easy to lose yourself in the tale since it almost seems as if Kol is speaking to you, the reader. It’s easier to visualize what he recounts, and it makes it seem like a quick read. It’s a compelling, rich prehistoric world that you can’t help but love.
My favourite part of the entire novel is how effortless and real the world seems. You fall into it so easily that you don’t even have time to think about how different it is from real life, you just get sucked in and know of nothing else as you read. It’s as if that world, and those lives, are all you know. It’s brilliant. The world is richly written. It was a bit odd to have such a historic world with modern language though. Getting sucked into the world, it makes everything seem peaceful and old and then it’s jarring to read modern words as they speak to each other. This story wouldn’t work any other way though, and I enjoyed it.
Reading about the people, their families and groups and traditions, was engrossing. I loved learning about their songs, the way they hunt and dress, and how they act. Their hierarchy was interesting as well. Kol hunted mammoths (though he preferred not to), saber tooth cats (though only because they attacked him first), and honey bees so he could gather honey for his tribe. They skinned the animals for pelts, which they made into blankets and clothing and rugs and other materials, then they chopped up the meat for meals, which they ate at the fire as a family, everyone laughing and dancing and singing. They are such peaceful and happy people, without internet and vehicles and buildings and pollution. They have fresh air, nature, and their form of transportation is their feet, or a canoe on the lake. They are strong and admirable, especially as you get to know the characters more.
The war we get a hint of in the synopsis is a dark, dangerous war that did not end without loss or death. It was too easy to get lost in all the action and danger, feeling the urge to join in even though it isn’t real. I was rooting for one side, waiting to see what they would do and what the others would do, and with all the injuries and blood, I was definitely terrified for some characters. Their strength kept them alive, along with their survival skills and knowledge, which was heartening to read, but also heart breaking at times because of how close death came knocking at times.
Ivory and Bone is a compelling, rich tale that sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading it. It’s heartening bonds and strength will make you smile and feel warm. It’s a brilliant, lovely tale about love and losses and the basic human desires.
The book is told from Kol’s POV, but with a mix of a second person point-of-view, where the reader is referred to as Mya’s character. It’s weirdly interesting and well, I do admit it made me swoon a couple of times. Kol’s narration is intensely poetic at times, it’ll leave butterflies in your stomach.
The plot is okay, the pacing is great, but really it’s the characters that stood out. The character development of Kol, Mya and the others is delightful to follow. Although, I sort of had a problem following the characters and their names because they’re pretty unusual and they’re really many. I felt like I was reading Game of Thrones because of the number of characters.
I also like the chemistry between Kol and Mya and how Kol is this awkward guy pining for a girl, and Mya is this strong, composed girl who always keeps her emotions in check. It was pretty cool to see their story unfold and I’m glad it wasn’t the center of the story.
Overall, this book is a great start for a series, although I really wouldn’t mind if it’s a standalone because I loved the ending. It’s a mix of action, drama and romance. It’s refreshing to read because of Eshbaugh’s writing style. I definitely recommend it!
When I first heard the premise of a prehistoric, gender flipped Pride and Prejudice, I was a little skeptic. I love prehistoric settings, and I love Pride and Prejudice, but combining them seemed an unlikely feat. Julie Eshbaugh gracefully and seamlessly tore down all of my doubts with IVORY AND BONE. Kol, a sort of male version of Elizabeth Bennett but quieter, narrates his story directly to Mya, the female Darcy counterpart. Though in the beginning they clearly don’t like each other because of Mya’s attitude and Kol’s uncertainty, the affection Kol feels for her as he tells the story is unmistakable. By the end, the book feels like a love letter from Kol.
Though the characters and pattern of romance follow the threads of Pride and Prejudice, the setting and climax easily take lives of their own. The details in the day to day operations of Kol’s clan (and a few others) are superb, displaying an excellent amount of research. The hunting scenes in particular are as chilling as they are compelling. Though the dialogue sometimes feels a bit too modern to fit the time, Eshbaugh expertly demonstrates the relevancy of love, marriage, and family in any time period. The violent turn of the story towards the climax brings more than one shocking twist, and readers shouldn’t be surprised if they can’t tear themselves away from the story for the last 100 pages or so.
Lovers of Pride and Prejudice, unique settings, heart-pounding action scenes, and fiery ends need IVORY AND BONE in their hands as soon as possible.
Overall, it's well-written and flows well, a pretty enjoyable book. If you know the plot of Pride and Prejudice, you'll be able to predict with some accuracy the characters and storyline. Fans of P&P will love this book!
But the story was so much more than that. I loved the description of day to day life of clans. Their way of life is simple but fraught with dangers, worries about finding food, survival and continuation of the clans. It seems that even among prehistoric people there were those who tried to adapt to change and those who stubbornly clung to old ways of living and hunting even when landscape and hunting grounds around them were changing to the point where old way of life became unsustainable.
It's hard to believe that Julie Eshbaugh is a debut author, her writing is exquisite, captivating and transporting. I could almost see majestic mammoths and predatory cats, feel the biting wind coming from Great Ice, and experience clan's daily life. After reading Ivory and Bone I am craving more prehistoric stories and definitely want to read second book in the series to discover what is next for Kol, Mya and their people.