Friday, May 11, 2018

ARC #REVIEW - Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett #YALIT #Fantasy

Series: Unknown
Format: E-Book, 512 pages
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

For fans of Red QueenDividing Eden, and Six of Crows comes a stunning new fantasy epic about an outcast girl, the boy she loves, and the kingdom that has torn them apart.

They 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.
From the acclaimed author of Avalon comes a breathless, adventurous, romantic, and thrilling journey into a fantasy world you won’t soon forget.

Onyx and Ivory, by author Mindee Arnett, is the first installment in what is hopefully a new duology. 19-year old Kate Brighton is a member of the Relay Riders courier team. As a relay rider, Kate has vowed to always bring their horses back safely. She has to understand that there are monsters called nightdrakes (flightless dragons) that prowl the night and are assumed responsible for any riders that go missing or don't return from their ride. But, Kate has another name; Traitor Kate, or the Traitors Daughter. 

3 years ago, her father, Hale Brighton, was executed for attempting to assassinate the king of Rime. Branded a traitor thanks mostly to the boy she once loved, Kate ran from her home in Norgard and made for Farhold. Kate carries a secret. A secret which can get her killed if someone finds out. Kate is what's know in this world as a Wilder. Kate has the ability to connect to an animals minds and influence their behavior. Wilders are considered outlaws by the very crown Kate's father served honorably until he attempted to kill the King. 

Being a wilder (magic user who can manipulate elements-earth, air, fire, water, spirit) is illegal. If discovered, they are captured, purged of their magic, and executed. There is one weakness; Wilder magic only works during the day. On the opposite side are Magists. They can manipulate various forms of magic, like wardstones, but can't manipulate the elements like Wilders can. Kate's best friend, Tom Bonner, is another Wilder who can manipulate metal. Metal that can be forged into weapons like guns that can kill drakes. 

Then the man who she once thought she loved, Prince Corwin, aka the errant prince, re-enters her life. The same Prince Corwin who disappeared for 2 years and is now on a peacekeeping tour which leads him to discover a very different Kate Brighton. A Kate who loathes him for what she feels he didn't do for her father. I need to also mention Lord Dallin Thorne since he is as much of a part of this story, as Kate and Corwin are. In that regards, I will also mention Kate's roommate and fellow rider Signe Leth from a place known as Esh Islands. 

I loved both Dallin and Signe equally. Dallin is a cheeky bloke who loves to use sarcasm and humor while also being Corwin's only real friend, and knows what Corwin was doing the past 2 years when he disappeared. Signe is mysterious as they come. Ask her a question, you are liable to get many different answers. But, she is faithful to Kate, and knows Kate's secret. She never once betrayed Kate or Tom Bonner. She also knows the secret behind the special gunpowder that can put down drakes permanently. 

After Corwin's caravan is attacked by daydrakes, yes, monsters that come out in the day, he is saved by Kate. Corwin asks Kate for help to figure out why the drakes are attacking in broad daylight. Are the group known as the Rising responsible? Corwin believes that he is guilty for what happened to his mother, and undeserving of being to the crown, no matter what the ancient ritual called Uror claims. He is also conflicted for what he did to Kate and her father. 

For Kate and Corwin, their journey to Norgard will be the place where they will not only find answers about Hale Brighton, but also the real face of the Rising and what they are fighting for. Hopefully in the end, both can find closure and peace maybe even rekindle a romance that was once burned brightly until it was snuffed out by happenstance. Onyx & Ivory perfectly sets the scene for an epic showdown between Kate & Corwin & their allies, against Prince Edwin and his allies in the second book in this planned duology. 

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