THE IVORY KEY, by Akshaya Raman, Clarion Books, Jan. 4, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
Royal siblings reluctantly join forces to save their kingdom’s magic in the YA fantasy The Ivory Key, by Akshaya Raman.
Vira, Ronak, Kaleb, and Riya may be siblings, but they’ve never been close or even liked each other that much. Torn apart by the different paths their lives have taken, only one thing can bring them back together: the search for the Ivory Key, a thing of legend that will lead the way to a new source of magic.
Magic is Ashoka’s biggest export and the only thing standing between them and war with the neighboring kingdoms — as long as their enemies don’t find out that the magic mines are nearly depleted.
The siblings all have something to gain from finding the Ivory Key, and even more to lose if they don’t. For Vira, the Ivory Key is the only way to live up to the legacy of her mother, the beloved former maharani. Ronak plans to get out of his impending political marriage by selling the Ivory Key to the highest bidder. Kaleb has been falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani, and this is the only way to clear his name. And Riya needs to prove her loyalty to the Ravens, the group of rebels that wants to take control away from the maharani and give it to the people.
With each sibling harboring secrets and conflicting agendas, figuring out a way to work together may be the most difficult task of all. And in a quest this dangerous, working together is the only way to survive. —Synopsis provided by Clarion
The Ivory Key is the first book in an Indian-inspired duology that transports readers to a world full of mystery, adventure and magic. It’s full of atmosphere and electricity, but it’s not without its faults.
The beginning is a bit confusing. Readers are thrust into an unfamiliar world with few clues as to what’s going on. It’s not until about a fourth of the way in that things really start to coalesce. And that’s where the story really takes off.
Once the siblings are forced to work together, the pacing, storyline and worldbuilding become captivating. Each sibling has their own agenda and initially come across as self-absorbed. As the story advances and their goals somewhat align, they each become more compelling.
The Ivory Key is definitely worth reading. You may need to push through the beginning, But I promise it will be worth it. The other three quarters of the book are rewarding enough that it got to the point where I didn’t want to put the book down, and I was frustrated when it ended. I really, really hope we don’t have to wait too long for the book’s companion.
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