Book Review: Onyx and Ivory
By: Mindee Arnett

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king of Rime.

Cast out of the nobility, Kate now works for the royal courier service. Only the most skilled ride for the Relay and only the fastest survive, for when night falls, the drakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: She is a wilder, born with forbidden magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals.

And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by drakes in broad daylight—the only survivor Corwin Tormaine, the son of the king. Her first love, the boy she swore to forget after he condemned her father to death.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin must put the past behind them to face this new threat and an even darker menace stirring in the kingdom.


Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 512
Genre(s): Young adult, magic, fantasy, romance, action, adventure, revenge, political intrigue
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!

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My name is Christine and I have a slight book addiction problem. I spend most of my spare time reading and when I’m not reading I’m doing reviews. I love all things concerning books and would love to share my experiences with you!
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