Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)
Author:  Amy Engel
Publisher:  Entangled:  Teen, 300 pages
Expected Publication Date:  November 4, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

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…

I loved this book and here's why:

1.  It's thought-provoking.  It's not the usual dystopian in the sense that there's the big bad government with evil people in charge who aren't letting you make your own choices.  Well, it sort of is, but then it's so much more.  There's not a clear villain and there's no "right" society.  There are so many shades of gray in this book when it comes to the people, which I loved.  What is the best way to keep people safe?  What should you do about truly terrible people who commit crimes when you don't have the best resources to keep the good people alive?  Yes, marriages are arranged and the couple is very young, but people don't live as long as they used to and a lot of the couples are very happy and by the winning side marrying the losing side, peace is preserved (By the way, the sons of the losing side also marry girls of the winning side, which isn't mentioned in the synopsis).  It really makes you think about the greater good and individual rights and liberties versus peace and safety.  There are no simple choices.  Loved that this wasn't a black and white story.

2.  Ivy and Bishop.  Ivy's mission is to kill Bishop, but of course, Bishop is just an amazing guy, who truly wants the marriage to work. He wants to get to know Ivy. He doesn't agree with everything his father does, but he's also realistic and smart, knowing that it's not enough to want things to be different, you have to have a plan and figure out how things would actually work.  I loved watching Ivy and Bishop slowly get to know each other and how Bishop encouraged Ivy to think for herself, with Ivy very conflicted about her mission.  I fell in love with these characters.

3.  The ending and Ivy's choice.  The ending. Killed. Me.  I love where it looks like the next book is going, and part of me loves Ivy for doing what she did, but at the same time, she just wasn't thinking because it's not really a solution to the problem.  Doesn't she get that??  I sort of wanted to strangle her.  I read a couple of books after I finished this one, and I'm still thinking about it.  That should tell you something.  Where is that next book???????  Can't believe I have to wait a year.  

Just read it.

Posted by:  Pam


  1. This sounds like a great read and I love dystopian, so that's perfect! Another great review :)

  2. Oooh this sounds good! Honestly, I haven't had the greatest luck with Entangled Teen books and I'm kind of burned out on dystopians, but after reading your review, I think I want to give this one a try. Only maybe I should wait until the next book comes out. Although I'm dying to know what she chooses and I haven't even started the book yet. Lol

  3. Brilliant review. I haven't heard of this book before but your review has me absolutely desperate to get my hands on it. I need some more dystopian in my life, I miss it!

  4. I remember thinking this looked interesting, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've made a decision not to start any new series for the rest of the year (I'll see if I actually stick to that), but maybe I'll pick it up once all the books are out. Great review!

  5. Stop loving books Pam! My TBR is growing at an alarmingly fast rate! *Sigh* In all seriousness, I am glad you enjoyed this so much. What appeals to me the most is your first bullet about all of the grey areas that this story touches on. I always love stories like that.