Goodreads: The Ivory Key
Series: The Ivory Key Duology #1
Age Category: Young Adult
Publication Date: January 4, 2022
Magic, a prized resource, is the only thing between peace and war. When magic runs out, four estranged royal siblings must find a new source before their country is swallowed by invading forces. The first in an Indian-inspired duology.
Vira is desperate to get out of her mother’s shadow and establish her legacy as a revered queen of Ashoka. But with the country’s only quarry running out of magic–a precious resource that has kept Ashoka safe from conflict–she can barely protect her citizens from the looming threat of war. And if her enemies discover this, they’ll stop at nothing to seize the last of the magic.
Vira’s only hope is to find a mysterious object of legend: the Ivory Key, rumored to unlock a new source of magic. But in order to infiltrate enemy territory and retrieve it, she must reunite with her siblings, torn apart by the different paths their lives have taken. Each of them has something to gain from finding the Ivory Key–and even more to lose if they fail. Ronak plans to sell it to the highest bidder in exchange for escape from his impending political marriage. Kaleb, falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani needs it to clear his name. And Riya, a runaway who cut all family ties, wants the Key to prove her loyalty to the rebels who want to strip the nobility of its power.
They must work together to survive the treacherous journey. But with each sibling harboring secrets and their own agendas, the very thing that brought them together could tear apart their family–and their world–for good.
The Ivory Key offers readers an immersive world and a complex story full of twists, secrets, and revelations. The multiple points of views are four siblings, with different ambitions and views on how to help their struggling country, and the mix of magic, politics, and family dynamics make the book feel fresh.
The story opens a bit confusingly, as readers must meet a variety of characters with different agendas, while also learning about the fantasy world’s geography, politics, magic system, history, etc., but once this all becomes relatively established, the story is easy to enjoy. Different players all come together in search of a way to replenish the magic of their country. The only question is how much they trust each other and what they will do with the magic if they find it.
My favorite part of the book, however, is that it features four siblings, once relatively close but now not as much since their parents are dead and the oldest sister has ascended to the throne. The choices she has made as ruler of her country are not popular, either with her people or her own family. As the story progresses, the siblings must see if they can find any common ground, if they still value family, or if they will continue to pursue to work in their own interests. I didn’t think all the complexities of their relationships were fully explored or resolved by the end of the book, even when they were apparently supposed to be resolved, partially because there is just SO MUCH going on in the book that the author might not have felt she had time to deal with everything in detail. Overall, however, I liked the way the siblings interacted.
The book is ambitious, tackling multiple points of view, a complex fantasy storyline, and even codes and puzzles. While some of it could have been expanded upon, and I’m sure it would have been if this were an adult book and was allowed a larger word count, it works well enough, and I’m excited to eventually read the sequel.