The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel
Publication Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre(s): Dystopia, Young-Adult
Series Status: The Book of Ivy #1
Page Count: 282
Source & Format: Bought, Paperback
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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…
Hello everyone! Today I’m happy to present my review and thoughts on The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel! I’ve heard some great things about this book before reading it, and I’m so happy that I read it—It was a worthwhile read! Although there are some parts I would say could’ve been done better and didn’t fully meet my expectations, I enjoyed the story quite a bit despite its flaws. Let us go into more detail below, shall we?
There are three main things in this plot that I wanted to point out; the pacing, the concept and the world-building. While the pacing didn’t bother me as much by the end of the story, I must admit that the story was paced more slower than I was expecting from this sort of novel. While the book didn’t take its time introducing us slowly to this world (we’re put smack in the middle of something big happening, which I greatly appreciated), as the story goes on, I feel like the pace really slowed in the middle and I simply feel that could’ve been done differently. It would’ve suited the story more, and made things more action-packed, which I imagine readers would expect from the synopsis of the novel. Or at least, I did.
Apart from that, I also wanted to mention that I really liked the concept and execution of the world-building! Although there are several cliche dystopian tropes in this book, the idea of the novel was still kind of refreshing to read. It felt unique, while still being familiar. Does that make any sense? Also, I really liked that we’re not given all the information right from the start about the post-apocalyptic world we’re in. Throughout the novel we’re given more and more pieces of how this world is, which makes the whole reading experience much more engaging and interesting!
“And it is Bishop who helped me break free. He didn’t save me though. He allowed me the freedom to same myself, which is the best type of rescue.”
While I enjoyed Ivy (the protagonist), I do think there were a bit too many parts in the book where I simply see Ivy struggling to go forth with her family’s expectations. I guess I was expecting more of a backboned character, assassin-type? Don’t get me wrong, Ivy was a great character and I loved her development as she tries to form her own opinion of everything (instead of blindly following her family’s ideals), but—and this kind of goes in with the pacing thing—I was expecting more action, maybe even more time of her hating the Lattimer family? It would’ve brought out some more intriguing things like some spying maybe and/or political tension, etc.
However, aside from all that, Ivy was great, and I did like seeing her grow a bit more by the end of the novel. I will be interested in seeing how she is in the following book!
Bishop is Ivy’s love interest; and I have to say, I fell in love! Even more than I liked Ivy. He’s sweet, smart, modest—and so accepting of Ivy! (Which had a key part in the decisions Ivy makes.) I really wish we could’ve gotten some chapters through his POV.
The romance between him and Ivy was nice too. That being said, I did want to mention a few things about the romance. I will be honest and say that I did not exactly get what I was expecting in this department. I was thinking it would be more of a dangerous/forbidden and slow-burn romance, but that wasn’t exactly the case. I immensely enjoyed the romance all the same, but it’s more of a tamer romance than expected. But it was still really sweet!
“I want my love to be greater than my hate, my mercy to be stronger than my vengeance.”
This book is written in first person, from Ivy’s perspective, and I really liked how this really let me really get a clear perspective into how she thinks—and how she develops as the story goes on. I also found that the romance scenes didn’t come off as tacky or overtly cheesy because of the POV. (You know, how sometimes when you’re reading a romance scene in first person, and it becomes really weird and awkward to read?) And although it was pretty slow-paced for a lot of the novel, I didn’t even realize I was turning the pages at all, until there were no more pages to turn. 😉
This book is great for those of you looking for an engaging and well-written dystopian read! However, I do recommend that you be aware that this is a more slow-paced novel than most other novels of the same genre; whether or not that’s a huge issue is up to personal preference!
The characters were great, I really sympathized with Ivy’s situation, and Bishop was swoon worthy and so sweet! The romance is pretty subjective, and I was expecting more of a slow-burn and forbidden romance, but it was pretty tame—but sweet and still heartbreaking. (And no love triangle included!) I also really loved the writing; the words simply passed swiftly, and overall it was very well-done.
Despite the flaws of the novel, I found I really enjoyed this book and will be looking forward to reading the sequel and finale! Although I’m kind of sad that my journey will be ending so quickly. 😉
What do you think of this novel? Have you read it? Do you want to read it? What expectations do you have for it? Let me know in the comments below!