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Review: Onyx and Ivory

Author: Mindee Arnett

Year published: 2018

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4.5/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

Onyx and Ivory was a compelling and original tale that emphasised the importance of friendship and family.

It’s tiring hearing about the same types of magic system again and again where giant fire balls, ice-swords or air shields are just conjured up on demand, no restrictions, all-inclusive with a fancy magical amulet, free of charge. That’s why I liked Onyx and Ivory, the magic system was really well explained and it was different.

There were two types of magic wielder: mages and wilders. Mages were legally allowed to perform magic and they all were apart of a Mage League. Their main role was to help and enhance the kingdom by imbuing objects with magical properties (eg. enchanted arrows or stones that make it appear as if the wearer has no blemishes). The Mage League was very rich and powerful due to their expensive prices and extensive influence.

Wilders were able to manipulate natural elements like fire, water, etc. However, their powers only work during the day and lie dormant at night. I liked that idea as it showed that the power had limitations. Some of them also had affinities, special abilities that no one else could explain. Wilders were feared for their unpredictable magic and the Mage League made it their mission to eradicate them.

At the start of the novel we meet Kate, a girl who became a Relay rider after being labelled as a traitor when her father, the master of horse, allegedly attempted to kill the king and was, therefore, executed. I felt really bad for her because what her father had done had nothing at all to do with her but she was still despised by many because of a crime that wasn’t her own. She was a wilder and had an affinity that allowed her to communicate with animals, especially horses.

Despite the fact that she was generally shunned, Kate still had two good friends. Bonner was also a wilder with an affinity that allowed him to manipulate metal. He was the best friend a person could hope for full of kindness and honesty. Furthermore, it’s an actual miracle to find a YA book where a male and female can be friends without falling helplessly in love with each other. Her other friend was Signe who was loyal to a fault and absolutely hilarious. Honestly, I was kind of jealous of Kate because she had such good friends that stood by her no matter what.

The other main character was Corwin, who was prince of a country called Rime. An event called the uror, which was heralded by the discovery of an animal that was half onyx-coloured and half ivory-coloured (hence the title of the book). I loved the idea of the uror and some of the challenges were really creative and exciting. Corwin seemed as if he would make a good ruler as he had an open mind about many issues. Although the romance between him and Kate was a bit boring and didn’t add much to the story, I liked it because they took their time (I really hate insta-love).

The main issue I had with the novel is that the ending was way too rushed and although the plot twist was lightly hinted at throughout the novel, it didn’t seem very plausible.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed Onyx and Ivory and I would definitely recommend it.