Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1)The Book of Ivy

Author: Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy
Pages: 304
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release date: 11th November 2014

Synopsis: (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

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

I have to admit this is a book I was sold on based on the cover alone! I’m a big fan and I’m pleased to say the story within is just as fabulous.

Sixteen year-old Ivy Westfall has been training for a mission, to kill the president’s son who through an arranged marriage is now her husband and attempt to restore the Westfall family to power but she didn’t expect Bishop Lattimer and his kindness, determination and sheer will; he was very different to what she had anticipated and the plans her family had been plotting for some time began to show fault.

Peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

I thought from the beginning of the book that I knew how this book would end, a number of things were predictable but the twists and turns the author gave us were pleasant surprises. I wasn’t fully sold on the plot, the Westfall’s came across as power hungry and the only thing I believe wasn’t really working in their current situation were the forced arranged marriages (to increase the population) and having no defined way of punishing people who commit crimes but otherwise within all societies there are going to be issues.

I adored the main characters, Ivy was strong, brave and politically opinionated, she was in a difficult position; having been forced to marry a stranger she dealt with it with dignity and questioned what she had always been told; Bishop was a sweetheart, his caring nature and kindness really endeared me to him and I was surprised by a few revelations; the slow to build relationship between them is the kind I enjoy, not rushed but snippets of affection and chemistry showing us the slow build-up of the potential romance to come; I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions although I do wish we had more page time with them together.

Amy Engel’s writing is compelling, the world-building is strong and the characters were all developed well; filled with betrayal, political scheming and a sweet budding romance, The Book of Ivy is a convincing dystopian that had me engaged from the very first page, I was shocked by the end so I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Thank you to Entangled Publishing via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review The Book of Ivy.

Amy EngelAbout the author (Goodreads): 

I was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), I settled in Kansas City, Missouri where I live with my husband and two kids. Before devoting myself full time to motherhood and writing, I was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on television. When I have a free moment, I can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. 


  1. I just finished this one this morning and really enjoyed it as well, Sharon! I especially loved the romance and the characters. They were all great and Bishop was a complete sweetheart. I do want to know more about this world though. Neither Bishop's family nor Ivy's family seem to be honest. That ending nearly killed me though!
    Lovely review, Sharon.

  2. Ohmygosh I've been waiting for this once since it came out. It's okay, I sort of judged it based on it's cover as well ;) I feel like there's going to be a lot of tension between Bishop and Ivy, something that I'm definitely looking forward to. I like that their relationship isn't another severe case of insta-love. Slow to build relationships always end of being the best to watch grow.

    Side note: The arranged marriage aspect does seem highly implausible. I'm still keeping this one on my to-read list. Hope to read it before the year ends and get back you. Thanks for the review, Sharon!

    Matilda @ Characterized

  3. It's rare that a debut author nails their first kick at the can, but from the reviews I've read, Amy Engel has managed to do exactly that. Her writing skillz deserve mad props! I'm dying to discover her dystopian world for myself, and Ivy sounds like such a great character. Lovely review, Sharon!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads.

  4. I loved this one too, it's been a while since I read a book I loved. I can't wait for book 2 and I'm annoyed I have to wait a damn year. Glad you loved this too!

  5. Wow this sounds fantastic and so strong for a debut author..adding to my list :)


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