‘Onyx & Ivory’ by Mindee Arnett has an unusual take on successions to the throne.
Synopsis: Kate was once a member of the gentry, happily growing up in the palace alongside the princes, until her father, Master of Horse, tried to assassinate the High King. Since then, she’s become a Relay rider, delivering messages to and from towns, trying not to think of all she left behind her, including a certain prince. One morning whilst running to her job, she comes face to face with him, Prince Corwin and it changes the course of both of their fates. Secrets have been kept, new dangers spring up seemingly at random and the succession to the throne is a series of trials.
The story takes place in a country called Rime. It is the only country with magic but it also has deadly creatures, known as nightdrakes, that roam the night. Because of the nightdrakes, people live in fear of the sun setting and live behind either city walls or magic wards if they can afford them. The people of Rime are also divided; there are normal citizens, wilders and magists. Wilders posses magic that is wild such as fire, water, earth, air and spirit. The magists posses similar magics but they are concentrated to spells and wards. Currently, the wilders are hunted by the magists and executed for their powers as they are considered too dangerous. The complexity of these settings is explained throughout the plot and in much more detail but I found them very interesting concepts and enhanced the dramas on the smaller plot lines.
Kate was my favourite out of the two main characters. She is a wilder and can control/communicate with animals. Growing up as part of the gentry, and so closely with prince Corwin, it’s not hard to believe that they would be childhood sweethearts. I think it’s due to her strength, her stubbornness and the determination to find out what happened to her father that resonated with me. I understood the fear of her secret being revealed but I loved the moment she entrusted Corwin with it. I felt that was the true turning point in their long standing relationship and I had been eager for it the entire time leading up to it. I also loved that she was his hero and saved his life.
I didn’t hate Corwin but nor did I love him. I found him to be a little weak in the overall plot and if it wasn’t for the uror trials, his strength and quick mindedness wouldn’t have been showcased. I appreciated his feelings towards Kate and the way he handled the cards he was dealt towards the end. I think we will see a stronger side to Corwin in the sequel, and I hope he becomes the rightful King. I would love nothing more than to see Edwin lose despite the pity I feel for him. I also think Corwin and Kate smut would go down a treat (I was a little upset when it became clear I would be denied that scene).
This book definitely swept me in up in its magic. As usual, I didn’t know what to expect but I found myself heavily invested in the outcome of Kate and Corwin’s story. I’m very interested to see where they go and I have some theories as to how it will all end. If you like feuding royals, childhood sweethearts, suppressed magic and conquering mindless beasts, then this is the book for you.
“But no amount of wishing could change their hearts, and desire could not be mined, only ignited.”
I received this in Fairyloot’s May ‘Save The Kingdom’ box and LitJoy Crate’s May ‘Dark Kingdom’ box.
You can get it here