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Rime Chronicles #1

Onyx and Ivory

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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.

497 pages, Hardcover

First published May 15, 2018

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About the author

Mindee Arnett

10 books1,402 followers
YA Author of Onyx Ivory, Avalon, and the Arkwell Academy series. Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. Addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,694 reviews
Profile Image for Katerina.
420 reviews16.7k followers
June 29, 2018
UNPUTDOWNABLE YA FANTASY ALERT PEOPLE!!



*clears throat*

The Fairyloot Team has an unparalleled ability to discover hidden treasures (metal detectors or something?). The edition of Onyx and Ivory they included in their May Box (black sprayed pages, oh my) was a feast for the eyes, but also the first book in a while that had me truly immersed in its dark pages. Politics, conspirasies, war, ancient rites, forbidden magic, rebels, wingless dragons and fierce heroes, it was an enchanting adventure that made me forget the sour taste of War Storm and exceeded my expectations!

Onyx and Ivory takes place in Rime, the only kingdom where magic is manifested, where the fearsome drakes come out at night and devour human flesh. It follows the story of Kate Brighton, a girl whose father attempted to assassinate the king and thus was sentenced to death. With his past treason haunting her every step, Kate tried to start anew as a rider of the Relay (the royal courier service) until Fate staged an unexpected meeting with Corwin Tormane, the king's second son and the boy she once loved, who returned to his homeland after three years of mysterious journeys. Now Kate and Corwin must work together in order to solve the mystery of new monsters roaming the land of Rime, while they pretend that their history and the tension that shimmers and burns between them doesn't exist. With Kate's secrets and Corwin's duties separating them, but their common goals and the love they once shared tethering their souls, they will uncover conspiracies, face devastating truths, and come across forces that threaten their country and their world. Will Traitor Kate and the Errant Prince be able to stop them?
“It's always a choice, to do right or wrong, no matter the power.”

One of the many things that made Onyx and Ivory such an enjoyable read is the detailed worldbuilding and the fascinating lore; the history of Rime, its politics, the monsters, the chasm between the magic wielders made this novel deeply atmospheric, and transfused an aura of danger and urgency to the narration. Mindee Arnett crafted a unique world interwoven with action, and toe-curling, slow-burning romance, which, in my book, is the perfect blend for success!

There was, however, a heavy use of many YA tropes (heroine who finds out the magnitude of her abilities / secrets kept from her parents / sibling rivalries etc), and the attitude of the characters (mostly Kate) followed the predetermined pattern of the YA heroine who withholds the truth of her heritage, constantly gets into trouble and thinks she can do anything by herself, but mind that while they are enough for detracting a star, they don't make the story any less magical. In fact, one of the book's assets is Mindee Arnett writing style; it's rich, fluid, descriptive and evokes a variety of emotions, while she manages to make you see the landscapes and the characters through her eyes. She demands your attention, and she gets it.

Kate, Corwin, Raith, Signe, Dal, they are multi-layered characters cloaked in mystery, each of them for their own reasons. What took me by surprise was how realistic and flawed Corwin was; he was not the powerful, perfect prince who poops rainbows and sunshine. And -skies above- it's the girl that saves the prince in this one! Kate is strong, fierce and too stubborn for her own good, and although sometimes you want to deprive her for her occasionally stupid decisions, you admire her loyalty and her dignity. Both Kate and Corwin made many mistakes as regards their romantic relationship, but their connection is palpable, and their moments hearwarming. So naturally, I ship them.



Onyx and Ivory is a complex and gripping story, a pageturner that will awaken both the adventurer and the romantic in you!

P.S. It is not a standalone. That's the explanation for the abrupt ending. I wish I knew it back then. *cue the violins*

Review also posted on BookNest!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,481 reviews29.8k followers
July 10, 2019
wow. 2018 has truly blessed us when it comes to new fantasy series, and you can go ahead and add this book to that list of many.

'onyx and ivory' created a unique world filled with a host of interesting characters, hidden magic and dangerous dragons, cunning plots and deception, and not to mention a lovely romance. honestly, this had everything i love in these types of fantasy stories.

but i thought the characters were the most impressive. and honestly, there wasnt one in particular that i preferred or enjoyed more, but what was impressive was how well they meshed together. they each had their own purpose and part to play in the story, and i thought their interactions and how well they played off each other as a whole was really fantastic. it was a such great array of people to follow along this journey.

i will admit the book began with a slow start/took a while for things to pick up and the writing was a little cheesy at times, but this was a really solid beginning to what i think will be a riveting series!

ps. anyone who loves horses will really enjoy this. i had no idea horses could take on such a massive role in a story!

3.5 stars
758 reviews2,357 followers
August 30, 2018
this has deadly flightless dragons with a badass heroine who rescues the prince. holy shit. this was awesome.

3.5 stars. this was really good but it was really uneventful for the first hundred pages. then i was slumping and stopped reading this for five days which made me feel really meh towards this. the ending was really action packed and a big plate of what-the-fuck which i enjoyed though.

buddy read with Rae, Nadhira and Scrill (who i'll tag later)
November 7, 2021
I read most of Onyx and Ivory in a hospital. It's the sole reason I'm still alive to write this review. Between the stale oatmeal characters, the plodding plot, the wall after wall of bland text and the dry heterosexual nonsense, some vital part in the core of my being simply shut off. A battalion of medical staff encircled me as my will to live filtered from my body and into the standard just-comfortable-enough-for-torture waiting room chairs. An onlooker rushed to turn the TV to daytime soaps. A nurse waved a brochure with a typo under my nose. A kind soul opened a compilation of Old Spice commercials on their phone.

And, alas, I came back to myself.

Okay, nonsense aside: literally, the only reason I finished this book was that I was stuck in a hospital waiting room for over two hours with nothing else to do. It's long and dull. When I sat down to read it at home, my brain leapt to infinitely more interesting tasks, like trimming the dog's butt fluff or skinning chickpeas.

00highlights
– Surprisingly solid setting

00lowlights
– Zero originality
– Boring leads
– Boring romance
– Underdeveloped secondary characters
– Underdeveloped main characters
– Lots of writing, but little meaningfully contributed to the overall novel
– Abyssmal representation

What's the saying? Strong characters can carry a weak plot, but a strong plot won't save weak characters? Well, Onyx and Ivory's plot was mediocre at best. Kate and Corwin were stale, crumbly wafers of characters and their supporting characters were more or less dried sticks with names taped on, occasionally giving 'em a poke in the right direction.

Corwin is a wishy-washy, stereotypically attractive prince with issues relating to his worth and ability to potentially rule. Kate has the Bad Kind of Magic in a land where some people have socially acceptable magic, and some don't. I don't think she even had any character flaws, outside of "stubborn" which only came into play when she and Corwin engaged in their stiff romantic subplot. Plus, three years ago, Kate accidentally kissed Corwin's brother, Edwin (oh yeah, the themed names, ugh) and so Corwin was in a pissy mood when Kate's father tried to murder the King and Kate begged for her father's exile over his execution. But those issues were cleared up with surprisingly little drama or impact on the plot.

It was actually interesting at first when Kate worked in the courier service. I swear we rarely see girls get regular jobs. But then the daydrakes appeared, and although Kate single-handled fought off four of them, all the women Relay riders are grounded on account of the danger, so Kate winds up moving back to the castle and taking a job courtesy of Corwin.

All of the cast were underdeveloped. Kate and Corwin end at suuuper predictable points of their character arcs. Signe, Tom, and Dal had juuust enough personality to function. They certainly had potential, but not enough was done with them considering the length of the book and the little that happens. Raith was a surprising character, in terms of his role, but personality-wise? Nothing. The "ultimate" antagonist was something approaching a decent twist, but it was too little too late in terms of intrigue.

While the book offers a handful of solid scenes — notably, when Kate fights off four drakes on her own — but they're lost among a forest of redundant and overlong scenes which offer very little to the overall narrative. The story is strongest at it's beginning while Kate is on the road as a Relay rider and Corwin is investigating the murder of the Gregors, when there is more intention behind the narrative — there's an electric energy, it's clear something is going to happen. But once Kate returns to Mirror Castle with Corwin, the story sinks into a sort of stagnancy, alternating on rote between Kate's investigation into her father, the investigation into the daydrakes and Corwin's uror trials. Speaking of the uror trials: Onyx and Ivory is neither as heavy as it should be nor does it hold the spirit it needs to pull off the uror trials. There's no real threat of consequence or loss, so the tasks set before the Tormane princes — navigating a mid-air stone obstacle course or fighting illusions in the mist — seem more like an awkwardly incorporated scene from a video game.

Although the author leans toward a more serious tone, she doesn't back it up with the dire circumstances or serious risk of loss necessary for it to work. The world is certainly dangerous, filled with both nasty drakes and nastier Inquisition magists, but for the bulk of the story, neither of these pose a real threat. For nearly 3/4 of the book, nothing bad actually happens to the cast. Instead of a serious book, we're left with prose where reading it feels like the equivalent of licking flour off the cement. One bland wall after another. The author felt the need to lay out every single exact thought and feeling, leaving nothing between the lines. I kept coming across paragraphs which could be completely excised without impacting the book. There is so much of it and it is so dry. If it were cleaned up a bit (and the content better), I'd call it solid — the author maintains a good rhythm during action scenes and keeps track of vital sensory descriptions. There were also the old culprits, the makes and the feels. They were more and more plentiful towards the end, and most of them were easily replaceable.

The one thing I actually liked about this boring hell-book was the setting. Creatively, it was a little flat and generically European-inspired, and the social structure was dull. But it was so solid and well-established. The multiple influences on society, including the royal family, the mage orders, and the city-states' own individual justice systems, along with their motivations, were all logical and crystal clear. All of the cogs worked. But this setting is absolutely wasted on two boring heterosexual characters with next to no real problems. Kate's arc of accepting her magic and living as her true self? Queer narrative. The overcrowding issues in city-states due to lack of accessible birth control and religious orders encouraging elderly and "infirm" citizens to commit suicide so they don't burden the "useful" population? Huge opening for social commentary. There is SO MUCH ROOM in the setting for vital, original narratives but instead it's tired, old garbage we've seen a thousand times.

As you can guess from the above statement: representation and discussion of social issues was shit. The birth control/suicide issue is BRIEFLY glossed over in a conversation between a bunch of Ministers indistinguishable from each other during a high council meeting. That's it. No queer characters. No mention of queer characters, despite the potential to talk about gay adoptive parents in an overcrowded society. There was one tertiary character in the first third specifically described with brown skin. Kate and Dal are described as having ambiguous "skin sun-kissed to a golden hue" and a "bronzed complexion," but I think it would be pushing it to call them characters of colour. (Especially since there's no culture attached.) The one decent thing I can think to say in this area is that the "scarred" character, a character usually coded as evil, was actually a pretty good (if bland) dude.

Onyx and Ivory is entirely skippable. It's overlong, exceedingly dull, largely predictable and the romance is flat as hell.
Profile Image for  ••Camila Roy••.
161 reviews49 followers
June 27, 2018
RATING: 4/5

ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

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. Kate 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. 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.


This is the longest book I've read in a while (I normally get intimidated if it exceeds 350 pages). Thankfully, it never felt dragged on or hard to get through. The writing was great, I liked the characters and the ending was fairly satisfying.

Theoritically, this book should've been amazing. Interesting plot +likable characters+romance+ action= success, right? However, I feel like there was something missing. It needed a special element in order to stand out and not be just another YA fantasy. Also, the two main characters seemed too childish to be 19 and 20, in my opinion. Maybe if they had shown a little more maturity, I would've connected more with them.

Overall, enjoyable and I would recommend it!

EDIT: Just realized this is getting a sequel. I’m definitely into the idea. The story has a lot of potential.
Profile Image for Umairah (Sereadipity).
188 reviews108 followers
February 11, 2019
4.5 stars
Plot: 4/5 Characters: 4.5/5 Writing: 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 name of the book). The uror was a series of challenges to determine who should be the heir to the throne. 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, apart from that, I really enjoyed Onyx and Ivory and I would definitely recommend it.
Profile Image for Abbie (boneseasonofglass).
291 reviews351 followers
June 14, 2018
Overall this was a really solid first book in a series! It started off a little slow, but that's understandable, as there was a lot of world building to be done, scene setting, an introducing characters and whatnot.

This book is written in a split perspective (3rd person) between the 2 main characters, Corwin & Kate, which I really enjoyed! It's nice seeing how they both think and feel and what they're up to when they'er not together. I did really like both of the characters, but I would've liked to see them developed a bit more, see more of their personalities come out. Also, the supporting characters were wonderful, and tbh, sometimes more interesting than the two main ones! haha.
I love all of the relationships between them all. There are some great platonic male/female relationships which are honestly wonderful to see.

I would've liked some more world building and information about the magic system, and how things came to be, and their belief systems etc. Like we got to know the basics of it all, but it didn't feel like quite enough for my liking, but hopefully more of that will be explained as we get into the second book!

Once the plot got going, it was so packed full of action and information, mystery and twists and I honestly loved it! I wasn't expecting what happened towards the end tbh, and I love it when a plot twist hits you unexpectedly. I can't wait to see where this plot is gonna go after the way it ended!

It was slow going at first, but the second half, wow! I have high hopes for the next book
Profile Image for Lucy.
412 reviews595 followers
December 21, 2019
3.5***

The first 2/3 of this book were pretty slow and then the pacing picked up.

This has great characters - all very individualistic. “Traitor Kate” is a strong willed female, she is fierce and doesn’t let what others say (calling her traitor Kate) get in the way of her actions. Kate has a perilous job- she is a postal rider which means riding through vast lands with the fear of drake attacks when night falls. One day she is out riding and she discovers a caravan, being attacked by drakes during the day. This caravan belongs to royalty, but also, carries Prince Corwin- her old and ex-friend from her previous life. She decides to rescue him. Not only do these two need to deal with being around one another again, but they also must find the reason why drakes are attacking during the day and who is behind this.

They both go through their own trials along with their fascinating group of friends.
This book had great royal court politics and secret uprisings. Secrets are kept hidden and unveiled, there are dragons, political intrigue, sabotage and power-play occurring in this world. It was amazing to make all the discoveries while reading the book- who to trust, who not to trust, etc.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Sagan.
232 reviews2,077 followers
June 11, 2018
3.5

Nice, enjoyable fantasy. I couldn't stand the main male character until the very end (because not even once has he thought about offering an apology!), but we're good now. Good character development. There were a few moments when I felt like the villain got his inspiration from The Villain's Guide (it wasn't his fault though, it was more about how other characters described him).

All in all a good book.
Profile Image for Lucie V..
982 reviews1,527 followers
February 27, 2022
“The world is black and white and all the shades of grey in between.”


✅ Action
✅ Plot and pace
✅ Magic
✅🆗 Characters
✅🆗 World-building
🆗 Relationship / Romance

3.5 stars

Onyx and Ivory gives us a new world with interesting characters, history, and politics. the world-building was good, not overly complicated nor too simple, but I would have loved to have a little more information on their history, the reason behind their wars, the structure of the magicians, and their beliefs...

The story is written from two points of view: prince Corwin and Kate (that traitor's daughter). It was well done, it helped us see some things from the perspective of the two main characters, but it also gave a little more depth to their relationship.

The characters were a little bland for my taste... No real complexity in their personality or in their emotions. It is not a surprise at all that there is a romance building between them, we all saw it coming... I was hoping for a stronger love/hate relationship, for more drama and anger between the two of them. I find that Corwin came back in Kate's good grace too easily, especially since she felt that she had been betrayed by her former best friend and first love.

The first half of the book was a little slow, but the second half picked up the pace! The ending is also not what I expected. I was happy to see that it would not end in a cheesy lovey ending where everything is well and the good prince easily won over the villains. I am eager to see what happens next!

This book is a good mix of action, politics, intrigue, romance, and magic and is easy to appreciate. The story is not only about the romance between Corwin and Kate, it is also about family, friendship, political game, and a mysterious scheme to gain power.


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Profile Image for nat..
376 reviews182 followers
June 30, 2021
❝betrayer of her prince, her kingdom, and her friends.❞

everyone should read this and then talk to me about it because ok wow

can’t even talk without spoilers because all I want to do is talk about those said spoilers *bites nails nervously*

told through Kate’s and Corwin’s perspectives, we ventured into a world pretty much ruled by drakes, these dragon-like creatures (who in my most humble opinion, are victims here too. just saying 😉) magic ruled by some and others condemned for it and a much bigger plot.

this had everything I love; dragons, romance (😍), action scenes, magic!!!!
Profile Image for Hafsah (on hiatus).
69 reviews106 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
September 3, 2019
I'm sorry, but I. can't. go. on.

I mean I could but it would HURT because....
I have Z.E.R.O care for these characters right now.
And the pacing is SO sloooow.
And the plot is....wait, what plot??!
Aaaand I'm a little confused.
And unimpressed.
And the final straw: the Kate-Prince pairing is just not working for me at all- just like the book as a whole.


After a while I felt my interest being sucked into the black hole that was my detachment; an all-consuming rift between me and this book. I mean the amount of times I've had to reread literally paaages was just not ok and definitely flashed red lights.

So, ending this here, would actually be lifting a burden I only just realised I was carrying.

(However, I realise 22% isn't a huge chunk so I do want to try this again some other time, when I'm willing to put in an unconditional, extortionate amount of effort into reading.)

Moral of the story: ALWYAS READ THE BLURB!!
________________________________

Ok so call me what you will but I have chosen to NOT read the blurb for this one, so I have absolutely no idea what it's about.

There are 2 reasons why I've made this (probably stupid) decision (that I will most likely later regret):

1) The info on GR is so long and I just cba
2) I've realised lately that reading blurbs really rocket my expectations, which in turn increases my chances of being disappointed.

So this is basically an experiment to see what happens when I have no real expectations whatever.
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
364 reviews951 followers
July 6, 2020
This was excellent! Best friends to lovers is so rare in YA fantasy, so I definitely enjoyed that aspect! I liked the magic system, the political intrigue, the characters...all of it really! The pacing was also on point because I managed to fly through over 400 pages in one sitting and barely noticed. xD I can’t wait to read the finale!
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,126 reviews245 followers
February 15, 2018
“Out here, darkness meant death.”

I have two incredibly shallow reasons for picking up this book: I thought the cover was gorgeous- it’s a bit spooky but gilded at the same time- and I really love ampersands. Thankfully, Onyx & Ivory delivered beyond a pretty cover. We follow disgraced outcast Kate Brighton as she is brought back to palace life after she saves prince Corwin Tormaine from the deadly nightdrakes, which have somehow begun to attack during the day, by using her forbidden wilder magic. But Kate must protect her secret as she searches for answers about her father’s treasonous betrayal that made her an outcast years ago.

Things I Liked
I really felt like I was a part of these character’s stories. A lot of this was eastablished through the history between Kate and Corwin. I bought their feelings and conflict, which made what was happening more believable and enjoyable.

Overall, the characters were enjoyable. I don’t think there was a standout for me personally, but I feel like they all filled their roles well and lifted each other and the story up.

Things I Didn’t Like
I wanted to see more from the world and worldbuilding. I felt like I didn’t really learn anything about the kingdom and the different rulers, the history (including previous wars that have lasting implications), or the trials that Corwin has to go through to become king. Even the magic and wilder powers wasn’t really established or explained.

I didn’t love the ending, it was the weakest part of the story for me. It was a little muddled and rushed. I also didn’t remember who the villain was after the reveal until they restated their job after a few pages.

This book started off high for me, but kinda fell toward the end so I didn’t end up loving it as much as I expected. But is still think this was a really fun and enjoyable fantasy that kept me engaged. I also couldn’t put the book down, I wanted to keep reading it, which is always a good thing. Onyx & Ivory is a story of accepting your power and fighting for what you believe, even when doing the right thing isn’t the safest option.

I received a copy of the book from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Aila.
911 reviews32 followers
January 9, 2018
Every time the book had “Traitor Kate” (especially when it was trying to be dramatic), all I could think of was “Trader Joe’s.” Maybe I’m just hungry.

The thing with the fantasy genre is that it’s hard to make a plot that has been written millions of times before unique. Onyx and Ivory has great writing, pretty swell characters, and a decent setting, but its major drawback was how predictable the plot was. It follows many traits of the numerous fantasies I’ve read before, and because of that I wasn’t quite excited for the twists. Here are bullet points of some of these familiar tropes:

- Schism between different magic users. In this book “wilder” magic is seen as illegal and worthy of death, while “magist” magic is used for law-enforcing.
- Main character has illegal type of magic. Kate has a power called sway, where she can push/pull ideas from animals’ minds. Other wilder magic include the elements.
- Corrupt monarchy. The king cannot make decisions for himself, so the ministers and princes decide things. Of course, a couple of them are not as nice as they seem.
- Hidden rebellion that comes into contact with main characters. The Rising are the wilder citizens who have been in-hiding, but want to come out and rebel so they and their children do not have to live in fear.
- Second-son prince who has sympathy for wilder magic-users. This is Corwin, the other main character. And of course he’s put in contrast to the first-born son, who is power-hungry.
- Forbidden romance between prince and girl. Kate’s father tried to kill the king years ago for some reason, and he was led to execution because of that. Although Kate and Corwin are first-loves, there is bad blood between them.
- Rekindled, lost first love. Circumstances put Kate and Corwin together and they find that their chemistry did not dim. It follows a (thankfully) linear romance that is light in the book.
- Mysterious monsters that threaten humanity. Drakes are dragon-like monsters that cannot fly and hunt for human flesh at night. However, new discoveries have seen drakes that can come out in the day, making them more dangerous to civilization than ever. What must these characters dooo?
- Trials to choose the next king. The tradition is that the sons of the king have to complete trials of the uror to see who is the most worthy.

Review to come, but above listed are things to expect.
Profile Image for Sanja ✵.
216 reviews
November 29, 2021
That was a freaking chore to get through. It had such a promising idea and I loved the magic and the world that it was set in. It also had dragons! The potential was there. But wall after wall of text that moved in snail like pace I didn’t have fun a single time. I also got so annoyed by one of the main character, Kate, that I can’t see the name without getting angry now.

Kate is one of the most horrendous characters I’ve ever read about.
I am Traitor Kate, she thought. Betrayer of her prince, let kingdom and her friends.
The book opens with her abusing a horse (we will get to that later). So my impression of her was already shit, but it just kept getting worse.

Kate meets Prince Corwin after he was attacked by the dragons and are injured. He is in a state of delirium because the dragons bite contains poison. Kate immediately takes advantage of this and begins to ask questions about their past she knows he doesn’t want to answer.

She is also the worst friend imaginable. She “borrows” clothes without asking, because her need is too great or some absolutely bullshit excuse. In other words, she steals them. Then promptly gets them destroyed by courting trouble.
She also does everything to diminish her friend that also has wilder magic and can make metal listen to his will. She pretty much states that he would be useless without his magic, but he shouldn’t use it because wilder magic is outlawed and it’s dangerous. While Kate at the same time goes around flaunting her magic left and right and is the reason serval people gets arrested and killed. But everyone seems super chill about that. They should hate her??

Kate is also frustratingly weak. At one point she is supposed to work at the royal stables that her father supervised before being executed. But given that she is labeled a traitor, everyone present does everything to make it hard for her. She doesn’t want to give them the satisfaction of her giving up, but she doesn’t even last a day before she quits. Her quitting read like it was supposed to be empowering, but that’s just her giving up?

She is also really dense. She thinks the girl at the brothel is a idiot because she can’t identify a person from Kate’s splendid description of a man that’s “tall, black hair and brown eyes”.
The land is full of these dangerous dragons that roam day and night. Her first reaction when they come across an unknown predator is “we should find out what it is” and goes closer. Not like it COULD BE SOMETHING THAT COULD KILL YOU.
But they do find these dragons and realize that someone must be using them, so they stay and see if they can see anyone. So they are on the lookout, everyone knows you are careful then right?
Not Kate, she goes away to check on the horses and then comes stomping back and making noise. That reveals their location to the villain they almost caught red handed, that then gets away and keeps using the dragons to attack people. Every single person that gets hurt could have been avoided if Kate wasn’t so dense.

She also directly shows why people view Wilders as dangerous. Her first reaction when telling Corwin is that if it goes badly, she can just control his reaction and take away his free will. She then promptly kills someone. The whole point of the book was that the wilders was just innocent people? But as soon as Kate can use her powers on humans, she uses them for evil.

I also read a review that people that love hoses would love this book. But I love horses and want them to be treated fairly. This is a book for someone that hates horses and want to see them suffer.
In just the first 100 pages one horse gets killed by the dragons, the book opens with Kate forcing a horse to gallop on a injured leg that worsen the injury to the point the horse has to be put down. She then gets another horse that she promptly also abuses by forcing it to do uncomfortable and hurtful things. When Kate gets stuck she gets the horse to pull her out BY THE BRIDLE. Putting all her weight on the horse’s neck and mouth.
According to the back of the book, the author lives on a horse farm. But it honestly doesn’t seem like she knows a thing about horses. Or maybe she hates them.
They ride the horses until they nearly collapse, bind them to close to each other so they can hurt each other if they get scared, and we are supposed to be impressed by Kate’s ability to ride when all she did at that point was a gallop. I have ridden for 21 years and I learned to gallop when I was 6. It’s pretty basic.
We also get to know that they have two days to ride 50 miles. That’s so slow??? Even if they can only move during daytime. If they hypothetically have 12 hours daylight each day, that would mean that they move in a pace of 2 miles an hour. Humans walk faster than that.
I have been involved in a bit of endurance riding and the 50 mile distance takes about 5 hours and in a pace of 10 miles per hour. These Relay horses should be able to move in that speed right? And if you knew a single thing about horses, you would know that they move faster than humans.

And after Kate steals from her friends, abuses horses and gets people arrested and killed, she feels gUiLtY. Like that somehow makes her actions okey. Truly horrible person.

And then we have Corwin. He is super stereotypical, but I would’ve been fine with him. But he went around mooning over Kate and stating how she was wonderful and shit. And given that I hated Kate, I just thought he was really stupid if he was interested in that train wreck.

I didn’t have fun a single time, so I’m not dragging myself through the next book.
Profile Image for Athena (OneReadingNurse).
651 reviews90 followers
June 16, 2022
This book is a solid 4 stars for me. I enjoyed it especially because the author is a horsewoman, and threw us a lot of relatable little equestrian moments! The colt blowing snot all over the prince and Kate kind of put the book into my heart.
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The worldbuilding and characters both were pretty great too. I liked all the history and geography and history of magic that was given. I could have cut 100 pages out with no trouble though - not that we don't love endless banter and background, but it was a super long book. Lots of little side plots and the uror trials ended up being a little lackluster. More badass flightless dragons and magic horses, less talk! I nornally do not take so long to read a book but I kept putting it down, at least until the last 100 pages.
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I know Arnett got a bit of criticism for the ending but hey - I am a little sick of reading about overcomplicated relationships where someone gets killed or someone is abusive or they have to go through all this trauma - I enjoyed the fairly simple relationship arc and relatively happy ending
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I need book 2 now but I am afraid... due to the summary blurb.....that either Corwin or Bonner is getting killed off. Uck no, Bonner is my new Yates and I will cry. Bonus points if you get that reference!
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I have no problem recommending this book to fans of the genre!
Profile Image for mith.
723 reviews253 followers
May 9, 2018
Wooooow. Arnett's best book yet, easily. Onyx & Ivory definitely deserves to be on your radar.
Profile Image for Ashlee » libraryinthecountry.
768 reviews610 followers
September 10, 2018
This is one of those books that leaves you with the question: why didn’t I read this sooner!?

Onyx & Ivory is a truly stunning story that captivated me from the moment Kate and her steed Pip were introduced. Mindee Arnett has created a fascinating and complex world with the Kingdom of Rime, it’s history rich and it’s people full of passion for their causes.

I loved the representations of friendship, love and family we see in this story, for there are many forms present - each one driving the characters toward a precipice of discovery that cannot be unlearned.

Not only is this a story about Kate Brighton – Traitor Kate – it is also the story of Corwin Tormane, the Errant Prince of Rime who disappeared for two years after Kate’s father betrayed the throne. Where was he all that time and who is he now?

Kate herself, rider with the Relay (think: Pony Express), wields forbidden wilder magic and must keep is concealed from most around her, for its discovery means her death. The stakes become even more dire when her and her companions are offered a place back amongst the court, an opportunity she seizes, hoping it will bring her the answer of why her father attempted to kill his king and friend.

This story encompasses powerful and dangerous magic, dragon-like creatures called drakes, courtly intrigue, well built friendships, faithful horses and compelling romance. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for something that is both traditional fantasy but also something new entirely! I absolutely loved it and was sucked in the moment I started it. The audiobook is also fantastic, narrated by veteran voice actor Khristine Hvam (known for Daughter of Smoke & Bone and the Country Saga).

Can’t wait for the next!
October 16, 2018
I'll try to be short and sweet on this. The book gets a 4 - 4.25 stars

Things I liked:
~ The plot was very interesting from the very beginning and I breezed through half of the
book in no time. And other than a little snafu at around 60%, it stayed engaging through to
the end.
~ The characters, especially the secondary ones, were likable and I wanted to know more
about them
~ The pacing was excellent all the way through. There weren't any sluggish points, or
unnecessary bits to mire it
~ It was like a blend of The Green Rider and The Summoner (two of my
favorites), and yet all twisted up uniquely to be something quite different from both
~ There were so many things going on that all tied together, but it was all so well laid out I
couldn't guess everything ahead of time. Some things were easy to figure out, but other
things were just tricks to lead you astray, and others turned out to be complete surprises. I
appreciate a well laid puzzle I can't immediately figure out :D

Things I didn't like:
~ I thought some of the characters could use a bit more developing
~ The "romance" wasn't working for me very much, particularly at the 60% point
~ The whole "moonbelt" shit was just retarded and inserted here and there like an after-
thought, and at the 60% just popped up to add some "sexual tension" which then caused
trouble between them. It was stupidly handled, in my opinion. Relationships are tedious
enough, so no need to throw in a stupid "belt" to try to push things into the tense
territory. There were enough points to cause tension without that being thrown in willy
nilly *eye roll*
~ The climax was going to be perfect, but then a thing that happens with Kate that just kind
of ruined it for me, which I'll explain later

Over all this was a very good read. The plot was thoroughly engaging and kept you guessing at every turn, questioning who to trust and who was involved. Trying to figure out the motivations behind it all was a lot of fun, and I was quite happy to be proven wrong on some things. It was on the longish side, but everything was tied together well at the end, all questions answered. I was afraid some things were going to end up being plot holes since I made it through most of the book without answers, but then things were explained satisfactorily.

My beef about the climax is Otherwise, the climax wrapped things up very nicely, and I really enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed this book, other than a couple minor things. I can't wait for the sequel to come out next year :D
Profile Image for Georgina.
75 reviews91 followers
July 15, 2018
✨3 stars✨
It doesn’t usually take me that long to read books, but this one took me forever to get through. I think I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, and life has been quite busy recently too, but even so, at times it felt like I would never finish this book. It isn’t boring, it just isn’t what I wanted it to be; I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t love it. Which is a bit disappointing because it’s my 50th book of the year (meaning I’ve completed my 2018 reading challenge of 50 books!!) and it was a pretty ‘meh’ book to hit that with, ya know what I mean?!

I really enjoyed Kate and Corwin’s contrasting perspectives throughout the book as it really helped to keep it that bit more interesting- if it had just been Kate’s perspective for the whole thing then it’s entirely possible I may never have finished it. I liked Kate, and her journey to finding out more about her father (and discovering Kiran) was so unique and intriguing, but I didn’t find her personality to be all that special- she kind of just felt the same as a lot of other female YA characters who ‘don’t quite fit into society’ and ‘rebel against the system’. Corwin definitely had more of a defined and specific personality, and I absolutely loved finding out more about his past, why he's referred to as the Errant Prince, and why he left in the first place. HOWEVER (and this is a big however), the whole book really would have benefitted from more character development. Tell me more about how Dal and Corwin met, tell me more about Kate and Corwin’s childhood, tell me more about Kate’s relationship with her father, tell me more about Corwin’s mother, T E L L. M E. M O R E !!!

Highlight of this book is definitely Signe and Dal, I neeeeed more about them, I could happily have had this whole book be about them instead of Kate and Corwin, they’re the only reason I might pick up the sequel (I’m assuming there’s going to be a sequel, right? Since it ends right as the action finally starts happening?? Right???). I adore Signe’s fabrications about herself, the ambiguity tied to basically everything she reveals about herself, and she really stood out as a wickedly strong character that wasn’t delved into nearly enough. Dal, too. We hear so many things about him in passing, and I would have loved for his character and personality to have been explored in more depth.

I really did like the concept of this book, it just ended up following a bit too much of a typical and slightly overdone YA formula for me at times- ‘Girl is different, she is part of something that society shuns, she joins uprising and rebels, and she also falls in love too because hey why not’- I could name atleast a million other YA books that follow this exact structure. Also, it was so slow to start with, and then when the pace finally started to pick up, the book ended, which just felt a bit frustrating, honestly. I still enjoyed it, it just wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping it to be. I thought that the Relay would play a bigger part in the story (or any real part in the story, to be honest), although I did really adore the uror trials aspect of it. Trials are a plot point that I always find extremely fun for some reason, and that element really didn’t let me down. Like I said, I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t love it. It could have been because of the reading slump, and maybe I’ll reread it one day and love it, who knows. For now though, it was pretty average and I’m hoping I like my next read more!😂
Profile Image for Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard.
1,144 reviews243 followers
June 17, 2018
HOLY CRAP! I've read 125 books so far this year and this is definitely one of my favourites! so good! I am absolutely in love with the magic, politics and characters. The villain reveal COMPLETELY blindsided me! I adored the romance.
Profile Image for Christine (allthingschristine).
86 reviews11 followers
November 6, 2018
Actual Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Disclaimer: I won this ARC in a giveaway from the author. Neither the author, nor the publisher have influenced my review in any way. THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

This was a solid start to a new fantasy series from Mindee Arnett. It reminded me of Tamora Pierce’s The Immortals Series meets the Red Queen Series. While I have my issues with the pacing and length of the book, the story and world created within are interesting enough to surpass any problems I have with it.

This book is quite the chunker, at 512 pages it covers a lot. For me, although something was always happening it felt like the story was dragging and just tried to cover too much in one book. The story was a bit too ambitious in my opinion and some of the stuff towards the beginning/middle of the book could have been cut out. I ended up taking a two week break reading this book because I got bored and couldn’t bring myself to continue. I regretted putting it down later though because the story started to pick up again and I loved the ending.

Kate at the beginning was just kind of just a blah character; I didn’t love her and I didn’t hate her. It wasn’t until she started to explore more of her power and the extent of it that she really started to interest me. At the end of the book I loved her because she has explored her dark side, and although she did give in to it she wants to do the right thing and not let herself go again. The only thing that really frustrated me about her was how she idolized her father to the point that he could do no wrong. I don’t understand that she wasn’t more upset when she found out her father had a secret life and another family that she was unaware of. Also, why wasn’t she more appalled that he father tried to use their power on another person? He had other choices he could’ve made, whereas when Kate used that same power on a person (other than Vikras) she used it to protect people and she had no other choice. I just felt like she hero-worshiped her father and didn’t really see him as a person with faults. I love that Kate doesn’t need anybody to save her and she is badass in her own right.

Corwin’s character quite annoyed me towards the start of the book, but I liked him much more towards the end. It really bothered me how Corwin liked to just blame all of the evil deeds done in the kingdom on the wilders. Just because of one incident, which granted did kill his mother he decided that wilders were the main evil in the kingdom. Even when common sense told him that children didn’t deserve to be arrested and killed, he willfully made himself ignorant to their plight. He also had a really defeatist attitude which bothered me. He just took everything he didn’t like in his life and just decided that there was nothing he could do about it anyways so why even care? I found the main factor to change him started with the uror trial. I also felt like the trial was kind of a side story that merely existed to protect him so he couldn’t be killed and to progress his character development though. It was so satisfying to see his change throughout the book.

Minister Rendborne was around too often, so I started to get suspicious. Is he behind the daydrakes? Or is he a part of the Rising? It turns out that he was the “Big Bad” for the book. I knew he was no side character because he popped up in the story too often to not be more important. I didn’t see that he was the Nameless one and a previous uror participant.

Something I really loved in this book is that we get actual character development throughout the story. And not minor developments either, Kate and Corwin changed their life views on the journey through the book. Corwin went from a spoiled prince who only saw the world as not perfect, but unchangeable and blaming the wilders for all the evil happening to seeing that not all rules should be followed and the world is more of a greyscale and all people have good and evil in them. Kate on the other hand was all about getting revenge for her father and hiding the fact that she’s a wilder but at the end of the book she’s decided she is no longer going to hide the fact that she’s a wilder and she doesn’t want anyone else to hide either as well as that getting revenge isn’t all it is cracked up to be. She got her revenge on Vikras, but it didn’t make her feel any better afterwards and in fact opened her up to the darkness inside herself and her power. Even the side characters like Dal, Signe, and Bonner have major character developments at the end and are no longer the same people they were at the beginning. It was one of my favourite parts of this book and I am looking forward to seeing who they become as they go further on their journey.

I absolutely adored how this book ended. I really liked that the story didn’t just end with the wilder revolution and the Rising. It expanded into a bigger tale with saving all of the wilders shipped off and stoping a massive war that could destroy the kingdom. Kate is focused on saving her brother and making it so the wilders no longer have to hide who they are and Corwin is focused on saving the wilders to prevent his kingdom from collapsing and warring with the Godking. Both have the power to protect and have the darkness inside of them and it will be interesting to see how far they will go to protect or save those they love. I was going to be so disappointed if this turned into another book about a girl saving her people, but I a,pm so pleased with how it ended.

There are things that I am interested in getting some answers. From the mundane like linked names (Edwin and Corwin), was this just coincidence or is it a trait in this world? To more serious questions like does Corwin actually have magic, or is it the uror magic working through his mark? I think the latter is more likely to be honest. Also, is this series going to deal with core problem of the daydrakes/nightdrakes and how to get rid of them for good? I would love to learn more of the history and how they came to be in the kingdom and just more worldbuilding and learning new things about the history and this world in general.

Overall this book is a great start to a new fantasy series and I am looking forward to where the story goes next. I can’t wait to see where the characters go and how they are going to further change and meet the Godking. There is so much left to explore in this world and I can’t wait to go on the journey!
Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
612 reviews623 followers
August 19, 2018
Video Review

"The world changes, the wheel spins, and so we must change as well. That is what it means to lead - finding the wisdom to bring change when it's needed and to hold fast when it's not."


Onyx & Ivory was an overall very enjoyable reading experience for me. While it's a little bit slow in parts and tends to fall into old YA Fantasy cliches, it also offers some unique and fresh aspects.

The characters were definitely my favourite part. I liked both the main characters, Kate and Corwin, and seeing the story unfold from both of their perspectives made a lot of sense and really benefited the story. The character's voices were easy to distinguish so I never had an issue with forgetting whose perspective we're currently reading from, which tends to happen to me quite a lot in multiple POV stories. Especially Corwin's character development was interesting to read. You always know he is a good person and wants to do what's right but he's relearning some of the things he has believed in his whole life and it's great to see his morals change.
The side characters were all so well done too. I especially loved Kate's friends, Signe and Bonner and Corwin's friend, Dal. These were the characters that stood out to me the most and that I wanted to know much more about. I really hope that we maybe get some of their POVs in the (very probable) sequel because while I still wanna know what happens to Kate and Corwin, I don't think their perspective is important for whatever comes next.

The pacing was definitely very slow at times. And while that doesn't necessarily has to mean anything bad, especially in Fantasy, I did think it made the story less engaging for me. In general the writing, while often able to evoke an emotional response from me, never made me feel the fear and danger that I like in Fantasy. Somehow even in the action scenes, I never felt the rush of a fight or daring escape.

The world building was overall interesting. It's pretty basic as far as the standards go but I thought there were some really refreshing aspects in it. I really loved the inclusion of contraceptives and especially a political discussion regarding overpopulation and the financial issues of the poorer population with feeding a family and/or affording contraceptives. I was honestly so impressed to see this discussion in a YA Fantasy.

The most disappointing aspect of this novel for me was probably the romance. You might know that I really enjoy romantic storylines but this sadly fell really flat for me. I think people who don't enjoy romance will not be bothered by it at all, as it doesn't play a big role in the story. I just wish that the few parts we had were much more fleshed out. Because the characters already know each other their whole life and basically have already fallen in love, I get that we don't need as much of it. But I was just missing a spark. There was tension but I couldn't feel it. This really offered so much great potential and I thought it was wasted.

Overall I would definitely recommend this novel if the synopsis sounds interesting to you. Nothing about this is outstanding but it's a solid YA Fantasy.

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I received an ARC of this through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for kath.
75 reviews266 followers
May 15, 2018
This was really enjoyable! It’s a high-stakes fantasy with highly fleshed out characters, subversive elements like girls who save princes 🙌🏻, dragons without wings who only come out at night, slow. burn. romance. and tons of satisfying twists and turns! I particularly recommend this if you love horses because it’s clear Arnett has a fondness for them.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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