Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.
Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.
As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.
This book touts itself as Pride and Prejudice in the prehistoric era. It is an unique concept, for sure, but unfortunately, I didn’t find it to be very good.
The Pride and Prejudice element in this book is a far, far stretch. A misunderstanding (and a not very good misunderstanding at all, I literally read the “misunderstanding” part over 5 times just to convince myself that I was reading it correctly and not missing anything). A bad person who is not what they seem. But really, if those are the only elements that are similar to Pride and Prejudice within this book, can’t every other book written ever be compared to Pride and Prejudice since the bad guy and the misunderstanding is almost always a component in every work of literature?
Furthermore, this book was slow. Exceedingly slow. Yeah, so was the original, but the original had writing and atmosphere and complexity. It had class and social differences. It was ahead of its time. For me, this book did not stand out for me in any way.
This book is set in prehistoric times, when mammoths and saber-toothed tigers roamed the earth. Interesting in theory, yes, but the setting just did not draw me in. It may be a matter of book chemistry as it is anything, because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the writing – for me, it just lacked soul, however vague of an element it may be.
Furthermore, the setting pretty much blasted me back to reality once the word parka was mentioned. I’m sure they had prehistorical animal parkas, but what a terrible modern term to use for an ancient article of clothing.
I can’t fault the author – this is a difficult concept to execute authentically. The character speak in modern speech, and while I am glad they didn’t grunt or speak in “me Tarzan you Jane” speech, neither did it feel real. Furthermore, the main character (a boy) seems to think in a very stereotypically feminine manner of thought.
Overall, this book, while ambitious in scope, was a disappointment. For a more entertaining book about prehistoric times, I recommend The Clan of the Cave Bearinstead, although be warned that it is a very much adult novel.
This book was given to me as an advanced reader’s edition