Published: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
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 ThoughtsInteresting YA dystopic series debut that started off a bit shaky, but ultimately grabbed my attention!
The Book of Ivy shares a daunting tale about a war-ravaged society that fences in its people and controls free will to ensure their survival. Amy Engel draws her readers in with slow, yet deliberate character development and constant plot shifts at measured moments. By the final chapters, I was captivated and vested in the story.
The Book of Ivy takes place in the not too distant future when wars and general destruction have wiped out most of society. A small community of about ten thousand people has fenced in their society and instilled strict laws to maintain order and ensure their survival. Prior to the beginning of when the novel takes place, Westfall’s founder lost control of the society to the Lattimer family. Westfall was a more democratic system and the Lattimers believed that a controlled existence would help the community survive. After a war where the Lattimers declared victory, the president instilled an arranged marriage ceremony where the winning side would marry a son off to the losing side.
Ivy Westfall has been raised believing that her family would and should take control over the community, so when it comes time for her to enter the marriage pool, she is married off to the president’s son and her family begins a plot to have her kill her husband and begin turning the tide so her family can once again claim power.
As Ivy and Bishop Lattimer assume their roles has husband and wife, she begins to see a different side of this struggle for power. Bishop proves to be someone she can trust and confide in, but can she share her family’s plot that involves ending his life? When she begins to fall in love with him, how much will she sacrifice to protect Bishop against her family's plan for revenge?
First off, I have to say that it took me more than half of the novel to warm up to Ivy. I waited for many chapters to see an extreme character improvement on her part. For a significant portion of the story, Ivy was reckless and unnecessarily inconsiderate toward Bishop. However, the final chapters proved that she was a worthy narrator and I can’t wait to read the next installment of this book because of her final choices.
Bishop Lattimer was absolute perfection. He was patient, kind and honest with his feelings. I would have liked to experience a portion of the novel from his perspective because I feel it would have added a level of depth that I felt was missing in the early chapters. I felt he had a worthy response to Ivy’s irrational thinking especially when she complained about a system but had no alternative solution to share. His delivery was kind yet solid. I can’t wait to see what role Bishop plays in the subsequent installments.
Overall, The Book of Ivy was a pleasant surprise. It will be difficult to wait for the next installment, but I’m eager to see how Ivy fairs outside the fences and when and where she crosses paths with Bishop again. Great series debut!