The Ivory Key (The Ivory Key Duology, #1)

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The Ivory Key (The Ivory Key Duology, #1)
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
January 04, 2022
ISBN
978-0358468332
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In this epic YA fantasy debut, magic, a prized resource, is the only thing between peace and war. When magic runs out, four estranged royal siblings must find a new source before their country is swallowed by invading forces. The first in an Indian-inspired duology that’s perfect for fans of There Will Come a Darkness, The Gilded Wolves, and We Hunt the Flame. Vira, Ronak, Kaleb, and Riya may be siblings, but they've never been close or even liked each other that much. Torn apart by the different paths their lives have taken, only one thing can bring them back together: the search for the Ivory Key, a thing of legend that will lead the way to a new source of magic. Magic is Ashoka's biggest export and the only thing standing between them and war with the neighboring kingdoms—as long as their enemies don't find out that the magic mines are nearly depleted. The siblings all have something to gain from finding the Ivory Key, and even more to lose if they don't. For Vira, the Ivory Key is the only way to live up to the legacy of her mother, the beloved former maharani. Ronak plans to get out of his impending political marriage by selling the Ivory Key to the highest bidder. Kaleb has been falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani, and this is the only way to clear his name. And Riya needs to prove her loyalty to the Ravens, the group of rebels that wants to take control away from the maharani and give it to the people. With each sibling harboring secrets and conflicting agendas, figuring out a way to work together may be the most difficult task of all. And in a quest this dangerous, working together is the only way to survive.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
The Ivory Key sibling angst and a magical treasure hunt.
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
What I loved:
Four siblings are determined to finish what their Farther started, but each with their own political and personal reasons for continuing to search for the Ivory Key. Vira is the Marahania (the queen). Riya is the one who ran away and joined up with a gang called the Ravens. Ronaka wants to run away and forget everything but needs funding to do so, and last of all is Kaleb, who is imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. On top of the hunt for the ivory key their also a mysterious society and a lost city that will be unburied along the way. The Ivory Key is a fantastic way to start 2022 with this debut. The imagery of the lost city and the puzzles they have to solve to uncover more about the key were brilliant. At the heart of this story is family, and these siblings each have the emotional turmoil they are dealing with and how to rebuild relationships stretched to their limits.
Final Verdict:
I loved every page, the puzzles, the imagery, and the plot twist I never saw coming. Each sibling has a characteristic to love and one to hate. Each one believes their reason to find the Ivory Key is justified and what they choose to do with it once found. I am invested and sad that I have to wait a year to read the next one—a debut not to be missed.
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thrilling YA fantasy read
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
THE IVORY KEY is a lush YA fantasy that transports the reader to a world on the verge of war. The young Maharani, Vira, is trying to run the country of Ashoka, but its most precious resource, carefully mined from the quarries, is running out - soon, they will be without magic. The people are already rebelling, with the Ravens stealing from the rich to give to the poor, and their neighbors in Lyria have taken advantage of the weakening magic along their borders to invade and conquer.

After her hope for a political union dies with her murdered fiance, Vira grasps at anything to save her country - but what she really needs is more supply of magic. When she realizes her fiance was killed over a secret part of a map she had heard about from her history-buff, treasure-hunting father, she decides to set out to find the Ivory Key that will help to find more magic quarries. Although her siblings have been scattered following her ascension, they all join her on her quest - with their own motives and secrets. Riya has been with the Ravens, Kaleb has been falsely imprisoned, and Ronak bears his own burdens - and tricky dealings. As they work together, they must confront their pasts and face the dangers that lie ahead, together.

What I loved: This was a really lush and beautifully plotted YA fantasy. The world-building is really fantastic with glimpses into the politics, religion, and history of this fascinating world. The book is told from the perspectives of each of the siblings, who have their own slants on the way they view the current state of things, and I appreciated the inclusion of each, helping to understand the characters but also the ways of this world. Each of the siblings was compelling and flawed in their own ways and were each fully realized characters. I particularly felt for Kaleb, whose views on his family and himself have been challenged during the time of his imprisonment, but who is also looking for his own place in the world, believing in honesty and goodness. There is also a touch of romance among two of the other siblings with other characters, whose perspectives are not given, but I also loved the ways those were developing. In their romances, we see more of their flaws, vulnerabilities, and the importance of trust, relationships, and loyalty.

There are some really great themes around family, complicated relationships among family, duty and its burdens, politics, freedom, racism (implied that the neighboring country is marked by differing skintone), and wealth. The complexity of the decisions being made and goals that seemed so black and white gives depth to the characters' choices and paths along the way. The relationships between the siblings really shone in the story, as did their complex feelings about their parents and the ways that they fit into the world, being thrust into politics at a relatively early age. Each of the siblings is evolving and growing during the story, and I appreciated each of their arcs, which do seem that they will continue into the sequel.

I also want to give a nod to the ending and the twist that I did not fully see coming. The wait to the second book is going to be so difficult! I love being surprised, and this one definitely surprised me and left me reeling. I am unbelievably curious to see what will happen next.

Final verdict: With fantastic world-building and deep characters, THE IVORY KEY is an enchanting YA fantasy about family, politics, and personal growth. Highly recommend for fans of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, and SPIN THE DAWN.
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