{Review/Giveaway} OBSIDIAN AND STARS by Julie Eshbaugh

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O P E N I N G   L I N E:

  THE DAY is so new, it's barely day at all. Yet we are already far out on the blue water, gliding under the blue sky. The first rays of the sun paint long stripes of light on the surface. I watch that light—watch it shimmer and ripple until the movement makes my head swim.

Either the movement or my nerves. Or maybe both.

That's the kind of day this will be—a day of movement and nerves.

I wriggle in my seat, unable to relax. I go back to the moment I last saw Kol, standing on the edge of the sea. I can see his warm eyes, his half smile. I remember every detail of that last good-bye—that last time he said my name and kissed my lips. I can still feel the heat of his breath on my cheek. I hold that image in my mind as the oarsmen stab at the water, bringing me farther and farther north, closer and closer to that very same strip of shoreline.
(pg. 1, US hardcover edition)

“The stillness stretches. Could the feet of the Divine have passed over these islands like stepping-stones? Could this be our punishment for having traveled beyond the horizon?"


I am starting out this review with a confession. Last year when IVORY AND BONE came out, I read it four times in the span of a month, but I failed to do a review for it. Not because I didn't love it to pieces and want to share it with the world and urge folks to go out and by it. Oh no, I did all of that verbally and in spades. But trying to collect my stampeding mammoth herd of thoughts and emotions into a cohesive commentary seemed utterly impossible. In short I didn't think I could do Julie Eshbaugh's beautiful world justice. Lord knows that nothing I can write about the sequel OBSIDIAN AND STARS will be half as vivid and engaging as the story itself, but here I am attempting to give it a go.

If you folks have not read IVORY AND BONE yet, you are in luck, because I am more than up for giving you a very quick SPOILER FREE look into it, so that you won't be confused when I do some really emotional comparisons to OBSIDIAN AND STARS later. The first thing to know, is that the setting of this world is GLORIOUS!!! Readers are taken back in time, to a prehistoric setting with saber-toothed cats and mammoths and sealskin boats. It's amazing, and Eshbaugh's skill with imagery brings the scenery to life on every single page. The story is, essentially, a story within a story, because our main character Kol speaks in second person pronouns for most of the book. That's a hard feat to pull of, but it works beautifully in this story. When he meets Mya, the daughter of a neighboring clan that his own community has a dark and sordid history with, Kol is immediately magnetized, annoyed, and confused. A mistake on his part seems to end any chance of friendship between them, and Kol feels drowned beneath waves of cold disdain from Mya. When someone from another clan, another piece of the past, makes claims against Mya, Kol has to try and find the truth amid lies and his own gut-instinct assumptions all while a looming threat for both clans rises.

Okay I lied, I do have to put in one spoiler. Kol and Mya fall in love. There's no getting around it for it's far too ingrained in our continued adventure. Forgive me and pick up IVORY AND BONE anyway because I promise you that watching them get from point A to point B is so very rewarding. The story ends like the aftermath of an earthquake. There are loses, sacrifices, the residue shakes of war, but Mya and Kol are in love and they think they've got nowhere to go but up from there.

Unfortunately the thing about earthquakes is that they are often followed by aftershocks. Happiness is ruined when Mya's younger sister Lees is blindsided by a betrothal to a member of their clan. Morsk, a character I hated with a fiery passion for a good chunk of the book, the betrothee in question, tells Mya that if she takes her sister's place all will be well. Lee doesn't want to marry a man she has no feelings for, and Mya doesn't want to marry anyone but Kol. What are two women in a patriarchal world to do? In a flair of rebellion Mya and Lees end up running away to a secret island, hoping to coax their brother Chev into realizing they will not allow their lives to be played with in such ways. The domino effect of non stop action and emotion that follow is . . .  stunning, at times soul crushing, and then at other times it makes you feel like a rocketship of excitement setting off for the stars. What I loved the most about OBSIDIAN AND STARS was the way the narrative style changed. We don't get the second person pronouns here, this is not a story that Mya is telling someone, it a nightmarish obstacle that she is trying to overcome. See in IVORY AND BONE we could only see her through Kol's eyes. He's kind of idolized her since the first day he met her, even when he viewed her as cold. In this story she is brought down to a very raw human level, hence the quote that I chose to highlight above. She is a young woman full of doubt about herself and her future, a woman trying to sort through mixed loyalties and a fight for independence while trying to honor those she loves. One of the things that stays though, is that she is such a protective personality by nature, and we get the chance to feel that all the more.

IVORY AND BONE wrapped up in a way that left me with such cozy warm fuzzy feelings of contentment that the thought of a sequel scared the heck out of me for a while. Now I can't imagine a world without OBSIDIAN AND STARS because the further character development is so perfect it gives me heart palpitations. Not only that, but the way Eshbaugh continues the story with little aftershocks and moving pieces from the first book is so engaging. We learned that Mya was a young woman who had a hard time letting go of the past, and if it weren't for the events in this sequel I'm not sure she would have gone on the necessary journey towards actually reconciling with the holes in her own spirit. The action scenes had me taking huge gulps of water as I tried to swallow down the fear I felt for the character's safety. I cried through quite a few tissues at a few scenes, and Eshbaugh brings you so deeply into Mya's heart and soul that I almost felt like I wasn't going to be able to climb out when the book was done. Like I could almost feel my soul shifting into that of a spear wielding, cat-skin parka wearing badass. Her fears were mine, her losses were mine, and her triumphs were mine too. That is the best gift an author can give a reader, making us feel like we are walking the journey with the character.

If you haven't let Eshbaugh take you into the past yet, you really really should get on it. As stated above IVORY AND BONE is $1.99 in e-book form. And OBSIDIAN AND STARS launches TOMORROW!!!! I highly encourage you to get your spears and daggers ready, stock up on mammoth meat, and give yourselves over to the adventure of a lush prehistoric world, a detailed and layered plot, and characters that will give you all the feels till you end up rampantly typing your super duper long review at 11pm because you are drowning in emotions!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( Kissing, making out )
Language: --
Violence: G ( There are deaths, battle scenes with bloodshed etc. )
Other:  --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

These covers are going to be the death of me, because they're so gosh darn perfect. You get a taste of the prehistoric atmosphere you're walking into, and I love how this cover both matches and contrasts with the cover of Ivory and Bone.

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: For Review
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In the sequel to IVORY AND BONE—the prehistoric fantasy novel that New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman described as a “richly crafted world of life-and-death stakes”—the story shifts to Mya’s viewpoint as vengeful adversaries force her to flee the life she once knew. 

After surviving the chaotic battle that erupted after Lo and the Bosha clan attacked, now Mya is looking ahead to her future with Kol. All the things that once felt so uncertain are finally falling into place. But the same night as Kol and Mya’s betrothal announcement, Mya’s brother Chev reveals his plan to marry his youngest sister Lees to his friend Morsk. The only way to avoid this terrible turn of events, Morsk informs Mya when he corners her later, is for Mya to take Lees’ place and marry him herself. 

Refusing to marry anyone other than her beloved, and in an effort to protect her sister, Mya runs away to a secret island with Lees. And though it seems like the safest place to hide until things back home blow over, Mya soon realizes she’s been followed. Lurking deep in the recesses of this dangerous place are rivals from Mya’s past whose thirst for revenge exceeds all reason. 

With the lives of her loved ones on the line, Mya must make a move before the enemies of her past become the undoing of her future.  


Julie Eshbaugh is the author of Ivory and Bone (HarperCollins, 2016). She used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. Julie eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Her favorite moments are when the unexpected happens and she cheers loudest when the pitcher gets a hit.



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