Looking back at the review for Onyx & Ivory it would seem I didn’t hate it but I’ve had no motivation to read the second book. Although reviews say that Shadow & Flame is much darker so I don’t think I’m ruling it out? It’s listed as a duology and both books are out so it would be boxed off?!?!?! This is why my TBR is the size it is.
This was a very atmospheric book, hence the collage. I think it was the horses. I wish it had been better.
I’m not at all sure how I want to rate this book to be honest. I did enjoy it. I loved the characters and the world building has lots of potential. Even though the writing sometimes went the way of the purple prose it never got too grating and I feel that overall it was written well.
So why is it so hard to rate?
Well there are a few things that bothered me but let us start with what was good.
Hello dual POV! I am obsessed with dual POV. I love it, love it, love it and it was great being with both Kate and Carwin. I think getting to see where both were coming from and how they both felt is what kept me engaged. Without Carwin’s insight I don’t think I would have stuck around to be honest.
I also really liked the secondary characters, Signe, Bonner, Dal and Raith in particular, and while they weren’t as fleshed out as I would have liked I got enough from them to be invested in their story.
The opening scene was absolutely epic and it was such a clever way to introduce us to the Kingdom of Rime and the monsters that inhabit it. I was so excited about the book because of that intro and even though I knew it wasn’t possible to keep up that level of excitement, and lets face it anxiety, it was such a shame to see it lose such momentum.
And I guess that’s why I’m having such trouble rating this. I was engaged and I was interested in the outcome but I was also kind of bored for about 200 pages. So this in my main issue. There is a lot of filler and I can’t understand why. Either give us 300 pages like that fabulous introduction and set us up for what is to come with this series or give us everything in 500 pages. Personally I would take the 300 pages of solid world and character building. I’d have loved more of Kate with the horses and the development of her Wilder power but what we got was Kate hardly interacting with the horses at all and coming into her power in about 3 pages. After a lifetime of unconsciously suppressing that particular power that was impressive. I also would have liked some more of Carwin struggling with a past that clearly has had a massive affect on who he has become. Some more insight to the events that shaped him would’ve been amazing instead we got vague snippets that once added up gave us an almost fuzzy picture picture. It all lacked heart or emotion or something. Maybe Carwin’s demons and feelings about this will be addressed in the next book but in this it felt like he was emotionally ‘healed’ and it lacked depth for me.
Something else that drove me absolutely crazy was something that probably shouldn’t have bothered me as much as it did. Dal is from Thornewall. Everyone takes off to Thornewall for a reason. Thornewall is mentioned a whole bunch of times. The map at the start of the book? Thorne Hall. There is no Thornewall on that map. This makes my brain crazy.
I was all set to give this 4 stars but after thinking on it this is actually a 3.5 star read for me. I hope I’ll want to continue with Kate and Carwin’s story but in all honesty, if the next book is another 500 pages and book 2 in a trilogy or longer series I’ll really have to think about continuing because this book was just too long and in my opinion lacked the real substance needed in order to hold my attention for 500 pages.Review from June 2018