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 had this one on my TBR for what feels like ages and had heard such amazing things about the book and the character Bishop. I went into this with high expectations and for the most part I enjoyed the story.
I’ve not read a dystopian in a while and it was nice to go back to the genre. I did feel that Engel didn’t go very deeply into what caused her world to collapse but she did provide enough to create a realistic back-drop to her story. For me, this book focused on the relationship between Ivy and Bishop rather than the world or what Ivy’s mission was. It all felt connected to the development between the characters and was rather predictable in parts. It was an addictive read though, and the writing pulled me in and kept me intrigued.
Ivy was an easy to relate to character and I enjoyed watching her navigate her feelings and try to come to terms with what her family wanted of her versus what she wanted. Engel created a well rounded character who developed as the story progressed. Her chemistry with Bishop was great and predictably, he was my favorite character in the book. He was nearly too perfect in parts (he’s tall, handsome, sensitive, intelligent, a dreamer, etc) but I did enjoy him and his quiet yet powerful role in the book. I can see why everyone has been so smitten with him and his relationship with Ivy.
I enjoyed the dynamic of having two families warring over who had control of the survivors after the collapse of our world. I felt this gave a great history to the storyline and created tension between the characters. I wasn’t surprised by any of the reveals that came later in the book but this didn’t take too much from my enjoyment. The settlement being fenced in and the outside world being this big mystery was dealt with well and I’m curious to read about what is outside of the fence. I’ve seen this approach before, mostly in zombie books, but it worked in this book.
Some things about the world left me a bit puzzled. I wanted more detail on the roles (besides marrying and having babies) people in the settlement had. Where did they get the cows for their steak? Were all their buildings made pre-world collapse? It all seemed a tad too easy and honestly I would of liked to have seen a bit more hardship for the survivors. It was hard for me to really think of them living in a dystopian world when Ivy has a beautiful dress created for her, they have steaks for dinner, etc.
The Book of Ivy was a fast paced, romantic read that took place in a dystopian environment. I felt that the world-building was lacking and mostly there as a back-drop to the relationship between the two lead characters. I think if you go in expecting that you can ignore some of the things about the world that don’t add up or are glossed over. I probably had too high of expectations going into reading this book from all the love I’ve heard from blogger friends. I will say it was an entertaining book though I’m not dying for the sequel.