Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: November 11, 2014
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.
This year, it is my turn.
My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.
But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.
Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…
When I finished The Book of Ivy, I was left with mixed emotions. On one hand I loved everything about the story (strong writing, believable romance, complex characters) on the other hand, I was left a bit confused by the events leading up to The Book of Ivy and felt let down by the ending because it was a bit too predictable for my liking.
One of the best parts about the story was believe it or not, the romance. Ivy and Bishop were so sweet in their courtship of each other. Try as Ivy might not to fall for him, she does and the emotional turmoil brewing within her as a result was fascinating to watch.
Another thing I really liked about the story was that the villain or should I say villains weren't clear cut. Usually in these types of stories, you can pin point whose to blame for the current state of affairs (oppressive government, sadistic ruler, economical hardships etc..) but in The Book of Ivy things aren't so black and white. If anything they are grey and only time will tell who the real villains of the story end up being.
Now even though I enjoyed The Book of Ivy, as I mentioned above, I did take issue with a few small aspects of the story.
First off, I did not get a post apocalyptic vibe from the story. Yes, the citizens were lacking in material goods and sure people struggled but I expected more hardships than were given considering how the Author played up the country being decimated by nuclear war only a few years prior.
Secondly, Ivy's naivety grated on my nerves. Ivy is a very smart, resourceful and outspoken girl so for me personally, it was hard to watch her be so easily duped by her family. She was a pawn in a war without a winner. Come the stories end I just found myself annoyed that Ivy would dare spill a tear for any of them.
Lastly, I think that the ending was a bit of a let down. I don't mind cliffhangers when they come out of nowhere and leave me wanting more but the ending to The Book of Ivy was predictable and lackluster. I think had events taken place a bit sooner the emotional impact would've been greater and it also would have given the Author the chance to leave the story off in another place than it did. As it stands though, I think the ending was the weakest part for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Book of Ivy. As I mentioned above the writing was fantastic, the story character driven and the romantic aspect wasn't forced and felt very natural which is something I liked. I highly recommend picking this one up if you haven't already and giving it a go.
With that being said, I'll be rating The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel ★★★★.
*Copy reviewed provided by netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.
About the Author
Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri where she lives with her husband and two kids. Before devoting herself full time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV. When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping.