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.
My Rating: 4 Stars
It’s been a while since I wrote a review and I found myself missing my amazing readers! Did you miss the dulcet sounds of my keyboard clacking as I fill the internet with my sarcasm? If you answered that question with a “yes”, I know you’re lying and I love you for it.
After an extensive break from fantasy novels, during which I delved deep into the world of romance, I have returned to my fantasy roots. Onyx & Ivory was 110% the perfect book to ease me back into the genre. For a fantasy book, it actually had a fair amount of romance and featured a lovely dual POV, which I enjoyed immensely.
The main characters, Kate and Corwin definitely had chemistry, but not “jump off the page” chemistry, unfortunately. Sure, I wanted them together, but I was honestly more interested in the other things happening in the kingdom. Now, this is both good an bad. In a fantasy novel, the romance should not be a major focal point of the novel. The readers attention SHOULD be on the other things happening. That being said, I would’ve liked to see a little more chemistry between the two.
The fantasy and adventure portion of the novel was fantastic. Arnett built a rich world, one in which magic users are persecuted by…judgier magic users. It was certainly a unique take on a theme that has been done time and time again. The villain took me completely by surprise – something that normally doesn’t happen. I didn’t gasp when the villain was revealed, but I did find myself rereading to make sure that I had the correct name.
Though this is the first book in a series, I’m happy to report that it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. It ended much like Reign the Earth did – with a resolution between the MCs but a war still raging. It makes me wonder if the next book in the series will feature the same MCs or will switch to different POVs. The new trend in fantasy seems to be series that carry the plot with different characters in every book. As I tend to get tired of the same characters about two books into a series, I have to say that I’m definitely embracing this trend and hope it continues! I’m not sure what what surprises Shadow & Flame will contain, but I’m anxious to find out!
My Takeaway: A great fantasy novel rich with magic and plot twists as well as some pretty decent romance. Though I didn’t feel the chemistry between the MCs, and the book dragged at times, it was a solid read for me, and I plan to continue the series.