Cover Image: The Ivory Key

The Ivory Key

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed this YA Indian-inspired fantasy that focuses on four siblings who are, quite frankly, all messed up in one way or another. Vira has inherited the title of Maharani of Ashoka from her mother, who was murdered, and definitely has some PTSD that her councilors seem to use to try to get her to do whatever they want her to. Kaleb, her older half-brother, has been imprisoned by Vira at the behest of those same councilors, after (probably faked) evidence turns up that he was involved with the former Maharani's murder. Ronak is enraged that Vira would do such a thing to their brother and he ignores her and spends all of his time trying to earn enough money to leave Ashoka and going to visit Kaleb. Riya, the rebellious younger daughter, left home after constantly clashing with their mother and has been working with the Ravens (a guerilla, Robin Hood type group that is working against the Maharani) for a few years. Their paths all collide when they have to work together to look for the Ivory Key, a legendary key hidden for centuries that their father spent most of his life seeking. They need it because Ashoka is running out of magic, their main export and the source of their power, and the Ivory Key is said to be the key to unlocking all of the hidden magic quarries in the land. There's a lot of fantasy here, but really this is at its heart an adventure story that brings together four siblings who don't really want to be brought together, and who all have their own motives for seeking out the Ivory Key. I'll definitely read the sequel!
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It took me a little bit to get into The Ivory Key, but I ended up really enjoying the second half of it.

There are four points of view.  We hear from Vira, Riya, Ronak, and Kaleb.  I think that is part of what took me a bit to get used to.  I struggled a bit to remember who each sibling was.  Riya had run away two years earlier.  Vira now rules the place where they live.  Their mother was murdered and Kaleb is in jail for it.  Ronak is Vira's twin and they don't really get along.  Vira spends most of her time with Amrit, the captain of the guard.  When Vira's betrothed is found murdered, she decides that Ronak will have to get married.  Riya has been living with a rebel group, The Ravens, but comes back home.  Each of the siblings is keeping secrets and helping for the wrong reasons.  The magic in the quarries has been disappearing.  Their father always talked about finding the ivory key.  This key was supposed to open up hidden magic.  The siblings decide that they need to follow a map and clues to find the key.  Each has a different reason for going and they know that they could die while out there.

The pacing was a bit slow at first, but it definitely picked up.  I really liked the magic and the family aspect of this book.  Riya was a favorite, but I also ended up really liking Kaleb, too.  I'm curious to see what happens in the second book after the twist at the end.

I gave this book 4 stars.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a link to netgalley for an earc.

Warnings for blood/cuts, fire, poison, death.
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Loved this richly imagined Indian-inspired fantasy (we just don't see enough of these!). Especially the magic system! A whole world to dive into and explore with so many secrets to unravel. Can't wait to read the next one!
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As a most anticipated read for the year, this was a letdown. This could be due to a few reasons and maybe those reasons could be considered personal taste? 🤷‍♀️ I’m not really sure but let’s get into it.

The book is told through multiple point-of-views. The characters are Vira, Riya, Ronak, and Kaleb. All of them are connected as siblings. This does shine through as they don’t always see eye-to-eye. It was interesting to see how each one was different from the other. Beyond that, I can’t say too much about them because I never connected to them. They felt flat and just very surface level, if you know what I mean.

The plot is filled with many things like political intrigue, wars, and magic. Many of these plot points would be up my alley but because of the disconnect from the characters I just found myself not caring for what was happening. It also felt like the plot twists were told too soon. Some of the plot twists could have been dragged on a bit longer for more suspense but instead I just felt meh. There were some interesting things to do with the setting or talking about a secret society.

I did prefer the second half to the first as it felt faster paced and at least I knew more about the characters at that point. Sadly, it still wasn’t enough and it didn’t make me want to continue on with the series.

Overall, this was just an okay read for me. I can see others liking this and hopefully it will find that audience.
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Thank you so much, NetGalley, Clarion Books (formerly HMH Children's Books) and Clarion Books, for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review.

Vira, Ronak, Kaleb, and Riya are siblings, but they've never been so close and life paths took them apart. Only looking for the legendary key, the Ivory Key. a new source of magic that will protect their kingdom. Magic is the biggest export in Ashoka and that will protect it from war. Each sibling has something to gain by finding the Ivory Key and their conflicting desires and agendas will only complicated everything in this search.

I loved reading The Ivory Key! It's the first in an Indian-inspired duology and unbelievable! It's captivating, full of twists and amazing characters, each of them so intricated and complex, with their hopes, dreams and desires! With magic, family and politics mixing, this book is a rollercoaster of emotions and I loved everything. The setting is lush and evocative and I loved the writing style, so captivating and fascinating! I can't wait to know more!
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The Ivory Key turned out to be a really great read! 

First of all, I'm a super sucker for anything with an archaeological plot. Add a little adventure and some puzzles, and I'm hooked. If you grew up on Indiana Jones and The Mummy, you'll love where this story goes.

Next, it has tons of family drama. There is a sibling for everyone, and boy do they have issues! After all, they are royalty and the fate of their lands depends upon their actions.

Finally, to tie it all together is a mystery! A five hundred yead old mystery, to be exact. 

When I began reading this book, I wasn't sure that it would offer anything new, but I was wrong. I'll be shocked if anyone says that they didn't find joy in at least one aspect of this plot, or fall in love with at least one character.
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While fantasy and magic typically aren't my choice for reading, this made for a very intriguing adventure wherein siblings are reunited, rulers are overturned, and romance is kindled along the way.  There were a number of characters to figure out initially, but as I read on I found it was very easy to start placing who was who.

The fact that this imaginary world takes place in a sort of parallel universe to India, in which the characters wear traditional Indian clothing and have names or titles that hint at the Indian language makes this a great choice for contributing to diverse characters and centering the heroes on BIPOC characters.

I think this will be a hit for those who enjoy YA adventure and magic.
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This book has made it onto my 2022 must reads already! There are so many things I loved, but The cover is initially what drew me in and the angsty family drama is what made me stay! I love that the author made a point to create and host a content warnings page that I found easily on their website. The prose and worldbuilding made this read feel more like a journey and it really created an immersive experience! I cannot say enough about this book and I can't wait to have a physical copy on my library shelf!
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Spoiler Free! 3.5/5
If you like royalty, magic, secret societies, puzzle solving and artefact-hunting adventure, this might be a good choice for your next read. Think Indiana Jones meets Throne of Glass and An Ember in the Ashes.
I really liked this book, but it took a lot to get through. I think that, had this story started three hundred pages later than it did, I would be rating it with four or even 4.5 stars. The story really starts to pick up around page 350, before I hit that bit, it took a lot of stamina to pick this book up repeatedly over the course of weeks to read little bits at a time, as it was a HUGE amount of exposition and build up to where the story and adventure begin.
That being said, after that turning point, I really loved this story! I am such a fan of fantasy that focuses on families, and this story follows four royal siblings, the Maharani, Vira, her twin brother, Ronak, their younger sister, Riya, and their older half brother, Kaleb. There is some romance, but it isn't central, and the story really focuses on the paths that these siblings choose for themselves in response to the difficult legacy that their parents left behind.
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this book was everything i wanted it to be. it was magical and mysterious and beautiful. i cannot wait for other people to read it and love it just a smuch
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I did not finish this book - I couldn't get into it, and I usually like fantasy books. I could not connect with the characters - it seemed to be lacking something.
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The Ivory Key follows a set of four siblings, torn apart, but brought back together to follow a task they’re destined for. In order to succeed, these siblings must go through dangerous ends to get their only chance at saving magic and each other. 

Luckily, I found myself intrigued by this book from the start. I loved the setting and the world building wasn’t hard to follow. The magical elements were a plus, though we didn’t get to understand much of what happened to it, so I can’t wait to read the sequel. The story telling was very rich in my opinion, which was a plus. To also add the elements of Indian culture was a huge plus to me, and I found myself understanding all the words and foods they were eating! 

Simple things aside, the characters were a huge driving point for this story. We get the points of views of all four siblings and how they all struggled with their own illnesses, is what I’d called it. I found myself not liking Vira at first, but eventually understanding why she turned out the way she did. With her being a queen, many tough decisions laid in the choices she was supposed to make. I liked reading her point of view and seeing why she acted the way she did. Kaleb was a character who I loved to learn about, I feel like even with his point of views, we still didn’t get enough. He’s a broken character, with a lot of love to give. I really would love to read more about him in Book 2. Other than that, I found myself liking all the characters, though some parts were rather predictable. 

I say that some parts are predictable, because they were. I won’t spoil it, but That Scene and That Character was always sketchy to me! So to see That Happen, wasn’t a huge shock factor. Rather it was disappointment because I’ve seen this trope happen often in many books now, to the point where it doesn’t add any value to what I’m reading. 

I feel like this book did leave us with questions, and I’m still thinking about the first Maharani’s… read it to find out, but all I know is something isn’t right there and I want to know what happened! 
4.5/5 
Thank you to Akshaya Raman, Clarion Books, and Netgalley for providing me with an ebook arc in exchange for an honest review.
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DNF

Sadly I could not finish this book. I was really looking forward to it but after 35%, I couldn't continue. I found the story to be really slow and dull, plus the characters were really 2d and not interesting at all. Sadly wasn't for me.
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This novel followed a quest of siblings, and I felt like it started with us right in the heart of the action. I enjoyed the rich descriptions of the setting, but there were a few places throughout where the pacing lagged to me. 
I felt like the characters were pretty well developed for the most part. 
Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
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Just not for me. I found the pace to be erratic, the characters to be one dimensional, and the world overly explained (although, admittedly, high fantasy fans would probably love this aspect).
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What a wonderful debut novel. The Ivory Key brings you into a world of intrigue and political maneuvering with four siblings set together on a mission to restore magic. The world-building and character dynamics will pull you in while you join them on their journey. 

The introduction and subsequent journey of these siblings and their quest had me not only rooting for them but wanting more as soon as I finished the book. The South Asian aspects of this book are wonderful and there is such a vibrant culture set in this fantasy world. 

Readers who enjoy slow-burn romance, LGBTQ+ characters, thrilling adventures, and dysfunctional siblings attempting to work together will love this book. As all of these are right up my alley I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC version of this book for an honest review. Opinions are my own.
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So. Much. Angst. I felt like this would be a PERFECT book for my students, as I think the setting and the plot are captivating, but the characters sometimes felt a little flat for me, a cynical high school teacher. I think those aged 11-13 would enjoy this book the most, so I'm going to give a solid 3.5/5 stars, rounded up to 4/5.
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This was an enjoyable read with a lot potentially going on.  Sometimes the story lagged a little throughout, but the last quarter of the book really picked up and looking forward to the next one!  The characters were hard to bond with, as soon as you got into one of their stories the view would change and it was difficult to remember why you cared about each one.  However, once the story picked up, it was enjoyable.  Overall this had fun elements and worldbuilding, but it just lacked something for me to just love.  I will pick up the second book and look forward to it, so I feel like that says something for this book.  It was an enjoyable enough book with decent characters, but overall, just not a favorite.  Would recommend to someone who was looking for a decent fantasy book.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
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Lush, beautiful worldbuilding. The prose is masterclass level. Delicious slow burn romance. And the angst- my heart is still recovering. This is primed to be a top YA of the year because it checks all the boxes.
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Holy cow, this book is going to be huge. And you can just tell by looking at that cover!!! I am so pleased to have been able to read an arc for this one. I already can’t wait for 2023 to read the next book!!
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