Elven House of Ivy and Bone: A Vella Story by Kristin J Dawson
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
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Before we dig in, I want to thank readers for their recommendations. Between your recommendations and the serials I have scheduled, I’ve got reviews scheduled to the week of Christmas. Things are insane and amazing. In addition to our in depth reviews, there may be brief one shot instapost type reviews because I think this is something that can help encourage additional writers. If this is something you’d like to see, please let me know.
Obligatory adorable dragon, because dragons.
And now lets get started!
There are so many amazing fantasy books out there from Piers Anthony’s Xanth which will be releasing the 47th installment, A Tryst of Fate on October 19th, to Ann McAffrey‘s Dragonriders of Pern. The variety and scope of these adventures is endless and even if you aren’t someone who primarily reads fantasy, like Zombie stories, I believe that there is a fantasy series or writer out there for you.
I’ve recently reviewed another fantasy vella, Courting Fae Thieves and Crowns by Joanna Reeder (review located here). The best part about the referral I received for Joanna’s vella is that it came with a recommendation for Elven House of Ivy and Bone which promises strong heroines, magic, swords and sorcery, fae, romance and dragons!
If there is something you should know about me as a reader, if you haven’t figured it out already, is that I love dragons. In all honesty, January will likely be the month of dragons where all my reviews come from the dragon tag. You may have noticed this during last week’s review of Dinos of the Old West I mentioned being a fan of Temeraire… So… when a story was recommended to me with dragons as part of the description, I was immediately like.. GAME ON!
Let’s dig in with the author’s blurb which introduces us to the vella.
Relentlessly hunted, Ivy has lost her home, family, and most of her seeds that grant elves longevity. Orion is a embittered captain of the guard who has watched magic destroy human lives. When mindless Seekers put Ivy and Orion on a collision course, a dangerous game of cat and mouse ensues. But as the mystery of the magic-tainted attacks unfold, it’s far bigger than either had imagined — threatening to shatter the tenuous peace between the human and fae realms.
Now that we know what to expect, it is time to dive in!
Ivy and Bone isn’t just well paced for the reader, it’s the fast paced kind of adventure that would have your eyes darting faster and faster down the page as you read, only to rip the next page out of the spine in your need to proceed.
Well, I’m not book ripper, but this would definitely a page turner if it was printed. Hopefully it will be printed in the future as I would love to have a copy as soon as I have a permanent home with a library to put it in.
Dawson promises action and adventure, and I am one to agree.
From word one you can’t help but root for Ivy. She’s in an impossible situation, trying to survive creatures that we can only imagine in our nightmares. In some ways the feeling I get from reading the description of the Seed Seekers is the feeling I imagine I would find bubbling up in me if I were to encounter an actual dementor in real life.
Based on the quote I’ve provided you and that brief description above, you can probably guess that Ivy is in trouble. There is a lot of action from the first moment you are introduced to her all the way to the last word of the each episode. Because I’m doing my best not to spoil details, I’ll provide you one of the moments that made my heart jump in my throat. Best part, it comes from the first episode!
Can you imagine being introduced to a character, getting sucked into their world and then, at the very end of the first episode, are told she looked out into the valley below and leapt?
Who does that? Who gives you that sort of precipice in the plot and lets your brain careen to a halt?
I’ve done it. Not a leap into a valley so to speak, but I’ve had similar openings to works pour out of me that throw you right off what for other authors would be the peak of their plot.
But no, you’re thrown into a heart pounding moment where time seems to stop at the end of the first episode. Thankfully, this cliff hanger isn’t one that leaves you hanging for long. All it took to move on and find out what happens next was the click of the thumbs up icon, as this episode is definitely worthy of it, and then clicking the next episode button.
I’ve had moments where I’ve reached the end of an episode before and had no next episode button to click.
Luckily for me as a reader, there were far more than that first episode. Just one problem. The next episode isn’t even about Ivy… instead we’re introduced to Orion. This is definitely well played and well planned by Dawson. As a reader you’re eager to find out more about the Seekers and discover Ivy’s fate. Did she some how manage to survive this perilous fall? The good news is that we do find out what happened to ivy fairly quickly. If we hadn’t I would have likely sent a terse note of displeasure to the author. Luckily there was no need for this.
And now to one of my favorite things. Our introduction to dragons because the introduction of Ash made me giggle and we all know, I’m a sucker for dragons. Especially this one!
I don’t like using the word ‘binge’ when it comes to a book or a serial. It’s over used and a little cliched when you think about it. But here I am, using it again. I find myself telling you that I’ve found a binge worthy Vella worth every token that I’ve spent on it.
Not only do we have action and adventure, and dragons, we’ve got humor as well. This may or may not have been an inopportune time for me to be drinking coffee as some may or may not have gone out my nose. Of course this encounter was immediately followed by a return to reality for Ivy as we learn why she was on the run and ended up jumping out of a building.
You won’t just laugh at some of Ivy’s misfortunate, your heart will break fo her. I know that I’ve laughed and cried in equal measure over this well written, fast paced Vella as an overly emotional reader who becomes protective of characters as she reads can. It is slowly growing and simmering into something that has me checking back regularly in search of new episodes.
Take the time to give Elven House of Ivy and Bone a chance and I promise you won’t be disappointed, I know I wasn’t even if I misread Magdud more than once as Magedude.
If what I’ve had to say about Ivy and Bone isn’t enough to convince you to take a look inside this vella, here is what other’s have had to say about it:
One of my favorite things to do as part of a review is ask the author questions. Each time I write a review there are more and more to ask. For me, as a writer and a reviewer, it is a lot of fun to find out some of what makes other authors tick. And even more fun is that these answers often help the characters we’re reading about come to life.
I sent nine questions to Kristin and eagerly awaited a response. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Kitty: What is your favorite book/series? Kristin: I honestly loved Shadow & Bone. I read it years ago and was so excited that I contacted my writer friend, Paul, to tell him about this amazing gem that I’d found. And he pretty much said, “Kristin, you’re late to the party. That’s a NYT Bestseller.” ha! I was very late, but I think the lack of hype let the book pull me in by surprise. It’s still one of my favorites.
Kitty: Who is your favorite author? Kristin: My auto-buy author is Charlie N. Holmberg. I’ve read all her books and all her short stories! If you want amazing magic systems, she’s your writer.
Kitty: Have either influenced your writing? Kristin: Shadow and Bone inspired me to look further east for inspiration, rather than Medieval England, and my Unchosen trilogy is ancient Balkan-inspired. And, Charlie always pushes me to think about clever magic systems, which also comes through in my trilogy. But honestly, my friend I mentioned earlier, Paul, was the biggest influence on my magic system. He helped me form and push it so it could grow through the series.
Kitty: What drew you to writing fantasy?
Kristin: Probably Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven. I’ve always written stories, but when I was younger I primarily wrote science fiction. Brandon’s creativity drew me to writing fantasy. I wrote my first fae story about a decade ago, but never published it because it was so complicated. I’m almost ready to take a second look at it. It has a very similar vibe to what I’m currently writing with Elven House of Ivy and Bone.
Kitty: If there was one thing you could tell Ivy (as though she was a real person) about her fate and the adventure you have placed her on), what would it be? Kristin: I’d tell her that as difficult as her life is physically, she needs to prepare for even bigger challenges. But, those challenges are going to help her, in the long run. She has expectations of her loved ones and of elvenkind. As soon as she lets go of pride and expectation, she’ll be able to really not just help herself, but help the people that she loves. I think this is generally true of life. You know, we have these challenges and we don’t know if we can take any more. But when we press forward without bitterness and allow these challenges to give us wisdom, we’ll be happier. At least, I plan to give my characters an HEA, even if some aspects are a bit bittersweet.
Kitty: If you could go back and time and tell your younger self one thing about being a writer, what would it be? Kristin: Writing is not an island. Be prepared to make some really good writing friends and hold them tight. They’re going to be your lifeline.
Kitty: If you could give new or inspiring writers a piece of advice, what would you tell them? Kristin: Read. Read. Read.
Kitty: If you could tell your readers anything about your books or your Vella, what would it be? Kristin: Ivy and Orion are both highly skilled with their magic, and readers jump right into the action. Both protagonists are smarth and a little bit ruthless. This is a classical elven story, but fast-paced with a raw, visceral style of writing. You’ll meet an orc with a sense of humor, pensive dryads, a sassy dragon, deadly fae, and all sorts of other fantasy characters. Plus, new twists to the traditional magic, of course. And while most of the episodes are from Ivy or Orion’s POV, there are a sprinkling of episodes from other characters in the story. I always like political intrigue, so this story is no exception. And romance. This story has a bit of that, too. Kitty: If you could tell your readers anything about yourself, what would you say to them? Kristin: I love getting emails or messages from readers. Especially with Vella because I can modify the story based on what readers like (or don’t like). Obviously, it’s good to have elements of a story that readers love to hate, but the interactive element of Vella storytelling is fun. For example, I had one reader tell me she wanted a particular elf to have a certain appearance. And so that’s what I did because I loved her idea. I also get feedback on what readers are enjoying — what’s hooking them. That allows me to lean into those hooks. That sort of engagement with readers is awesome! I very much appreciate readers favoriting my story and keeping Ivy and Orion in the top 250 for most of the time since the story was published. I couldn’t be more delighted with their support!
And some of you wonder why I reach out to authors? Answers like these are some of them.
There is so much happening right now in the lives of myself and Mr Wizard as we get ready to head a bit further south as things like water service are being shut off for the season. Last year we were lucky enough to make it all the way to November before we had to flee the mountains. This year not so much! BRRR!!! This means that there could possibly be delays in postings due to travel, but I’ll do my best to keep things moving on schedule.
What now? which will discuss the self editing process and how you can prepare for critiques, beta feedback and how to recognize if and when it’s time to seek an editor.
If you aren’t following me on Instagram you can now find me on Twitter and FaceBook as well where you can get updates on my writing projects, blog, adventures and Kindle & Coffee reviews. Our newsletter will be arriving sometime during October. Almost ready for it.
And what some of you have been waiting for, coming up next week on Kindle and Coffee, Kingdom of Links by Sarah Shipley.
If you have the chance to take a peak, we can compare notes!
For now, it’s time to sign off. As always, have amazing and exciting adventures! Just not as exciting as X’s!