Shadows of Ivory
Shadows of Ivory is a fun, light-hearted read with clever writing and action-packed pacing. It feels like going on a grand adventure with friends, and while some conflicts are greater than others in scope (which can be expected when dealing with mysterious ancient artefacts—or rather, when Eska deals with mysterious ancient artefacts), the heart of the story is rooted in family rivalry. It adds a personal and slightly petty touch to the stakes that was fun to read.
Eska as the main character is very relatable to me. No matter what she does, she always starts off by rolling a 2 on luck. Or maybe diplomacy? A lot of things happen because she doesn’t know when to stop talking, but it’s so hilarious and relatable that it keeps the story going. There are a lot of “Oh, Eska” moments, but I thought she was a delightful protagonist.
On the other hand, Manon is an intriguing, conflicted, and at times equally petty antagonist. As much as I enjoy massive casts of fantasy POV characters, I appreciated how contained the story was in its (for the most part) two POVs, despite the wealth of (at times academic) worldbuilding we see through their eyes. We also have family conflicts within families, which adds another layer and makes characters… well, relatable.
Shadows of Ivory may be light-hearted in tone, but it packs swift, well-timed emotional punches. I really enjoyed the journey it took me on, and it was definitely a nice break from the grim, dark, and grimdark fantasy I usually read. Looking forward to the next one!
Some key words to help you decide: multiple POV, lighthearted fantasy, archaeology, adventure, mysterious artefact, quest fantasy, family rivalry, plucky female protagonist, plucky female antagonist
P.S. Times I used “relatable”: 3