Review of The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

BookofIvyThe Book of Ivy
By: Amy Engel
Release Day: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Teen

My Rating:

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…

My Thoughts:
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.

Final Thoughts:
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.


    • says

      Yep, I agree for the most part. I do get in moods and I love a well developed world. For me, it feels like dystopian books tend to skimp some on the world building 🙁

  1. says

    I’m so over Dystopian books. It’s very to find unique ones. And frankly, I was never that interested by the genre. High Fantasy is my game lol. I’ve seen this going around but I’ve never really been drawn towards it for the very same reason I said. And I know the same feeling of having way too high expectations. Sometimes you imagine how the book might turn out to be and if it’s not what you had in mind, you might not enjoy it as much :/

    • says

      I have enjoyed dystopian books a good bit in the past but lately not as much. This book really didn’t feel all that dystopian to me (though it is for sure). The relationship between the lead characters is the major draw to the series for most as far as I can tell. It was well done but I wasn’t just in love with it (pesky expectations). I’m with you lady- fantasy <3

  2. says

    Glad you enjoyed this one! I’ve been meaning to read this one but haven’t gotten to it yet, just like you it’s been stuck in my tbr pile lol

  3. says

    I don’t remember hearing much about this book when it came out but I’ve been curious about it after seeing so much sequel talk recently so thanks for the review. This might be a snap judgment (I’ll have to read more to see) but something I’ve noticed with titles from Entangled is that the romance seems to always be the main focus and other elements like world building can suffer as a result.

  4. says

    Gorgeous review Kristen. <3 Yay for finally reading this book, lol 🙂 I have also heard lots of good things about it. But never wanted to read it :p And now I don't want to read it at all, I don't think.. don't sound like a book for me 🙂 I'm sorry it wasn't perfect, or as good as you had hoped :\ But glad you still liked parts of it 😀 That the writing was good. The boy sounds awesome, but yeah, also a bit too perfect. Hmm. Anyway. Thank you for sharing. <3

  5. says

    Hmmm, I’ve heard so many good things about this one but the main focus being on the relationship between the characters more than the plot or the world building isn’t really enough to make me want to read another dystopian after being a lil burned up on them…

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