No spoilers in this review of Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh! I give it 4 stars. I love re-visiting characters in which I’ve witnessed growth and development. It’s why I love to read series, and this is definitely the case with Kol and Mya, our two mains in this book. They have more growing to do in Obsidian and Stars, but as I read I realized just how far they’ve come since the beginning of Ivory and Bone.
The book opens with Mya sailing for the Manu camp. She’s wearing an intricately made piece of clothing she hopes will serve as her betrothal and wedding tunic someday. Mya’s embarrassed as she thinks about how everyone will know her intentions as soon as they see what she’s wearing. Yet she’s excited about the prospect of marrying Kol.
While some trust has developed between the three clans—the Manu (Kol’s), the Olen (Mya’s), and the Bosha—they still retain ultimate loyalty to their own people. It’s understandable since they have been individual clans, relying only on themselves, for so long. But it’s also frustrating, especially when Chev, Mya’s brother and the Olen High Elder, makes an extremely selfish choice.
Chev’s declaration prompts a plan, one that Mya devises and Kol (unbelievably) supports. It is dangerous and slowly spirals out of control. Mya and her sister Lees quickly land in peril, and all three clans are eventually in danger. The circumstances that evolve place a strain on Kol’s and Mya’s relationship and make it seem impossible the two of them will ever be together.
Despite plenty of action, I feel like Obsidian and Stars most often progressed at a meandering pace. Ivory and Bone did for the most part, too, but this is not a bad thing! I enjoyed the pacing and loved Eshbaugh’s descriptions of the lush northern landscape and clan customs. And I savored the thoughtful, meaningful conversations between our two main characters and others.
I definitely recommend this book if you’ve read Ivory and Bone. Obsidian and Stars is even better! And I also recommend this duology as a whole because of its beautiful prose and unique setting. It was fun being absorbed in this prehistoric, clan-based world, filled with loyalties and challenges unlike any others I’ve read about in recent memory.
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