Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett
Series: Rime Chronicles #1
Publication Date: May 12th 2018
Publisher: Balzer & Bray (Fairyloot Exclusive Edition)
Rating: 4/5 Shelfie Stacks 📚📚📚📚
Onyx and Ivory is the first in a series of books by Mindee Arnett called The Rime Chronicles.
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
Ok, we need to talk about the Magists…These guys hold the monopoly on magic in Rime – if you’re not a magist then you shouldn’t be doing magic at all; you’re a wilder and you’re an outlaw. The only way to access magic in Rime is to buy it off a magist. This really struck a cord with me. Somewhere in the World Wide Web is an infographic which shows 10 major companies who supposedly control the world because they own pretty much every other ‘big business’ that’s out there saturating our mass market. Now I’m not going to go on a political rampage here, but I couldn’t help but link the role of the magists in Rime to these top ten companies. The way the magists are able to control everyone, including the royals who run the country, really pulled me into the story. I was immediately suspicious of them and quite incensed to be honest.
If you have read some of my recent posts then you’ll be getting to know that I love horses. 🐎 I am massively envious of Kate’s wilder ability to talk to them! The horse theme and Arnett’s love for these wondrous creatures definitely came through in her writing and really appealed to the horse-enthusiast in me.
The band of supporting characters in this novel are absolute gold. Bonner’s loyalty; Signe’s sass; Dal’s dark humour; Raith’s mysterious-ness; Corwin’s Princely charms… I loved them all and they complement Kate perfectly! Each of them had their own role to play in the story and I found myself wanting to learn more and more about all of their backstories. A truly fabulous cast of characters.
‘Running the gauntlet’ is the phrase I would use to try summing up what the Relay Riders have to do every day whilst delivering things around the world of Rime. And perhaps it’s my mischievous side coming through but this sounds like such a cool job! You get to ride your horse all across the country whilst trying to avoid the dangerous nightdrakes that come out in the dark…only to find that you then have to start dodging the daydrakes too – Royal Mail eat your heat out, these guys are the badass, tough-nuts of the Postie world! I’m definitely adding Relay Rider to my list of ‘fictional jobs I wish I could do’.
It didn’t take long at all for me to become engrossed in this story. The world building, characterisation and plot devices were everything I wanted from a fantasy story. I liked the suspense of trying to guess who the villains were (and whilst I guessed some of it, I definitely didn’t get all of it). I was rooting for the romance between Kate and Corwin. I was intrigued by the types of magic both from the magists and the wilders. I was thrilled by the fight scenes.
All in all, this made for a brilliant series starter which is why I gave Onyx and Ivory 4 Shelfie Stacks and put the sequel, Shadow and Flame, straight onto my TBR.
Have you read Onyx and Ivory? Did you love it as much as I did? Drop me a comment and let me know! ☺️