The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

book of ivy
Author: Amy Engel
Genre: Dystopia
Rating: 3/5
Protagonist(s): Ivy Westfall
Other Characters: Bishop Lattimer, Erin Lattimer, President Lattimer,
***Warning: Book includes physical abuse***

Synopsis: Ivy has one job as a Westfall, to kill the president’s son. Coincidentally enough, he is also her soon-to-be-husband. As she start to get to know him, she no longer know who to believe, her father with his talk of a revolution, or Bishop who wants only to see the ocean.

Review:I actually wasn’t planning on reading this at all. I’ve heard about it from youtube and goodreads, but I never really had the urge to pick it up. The only reason I actually picked it up was because the audiobook was available in my library and I needed something to read. Since I was waiting for my other books to arrive, I decided to give this a try. I’m pleasantly surprised to say I enjoyed the book. It’s not a WOW-er, but a nice read nevertheless. My thoughts are all muddled up in one huge pile, so I think this review will be in point forms.

The Bad
– The world building wasn’t all there. The author kept stating that earth suffered a third wold war, but as to why or how, we don’t really get to understand. I understand that their ‘nation’ survived because of Ivy’s grandfather, but that’s the only information that Engel was willing to give us. I really was curious as to why this third war devastated the world, but we don’t get an answer in this book. We also don’t get to find any information about any other villages. As if this is the only town that survived. I understand that people are scared to even venture out of the fence, but someone would have stumbled onto them somehow, right? This really frustrated me because Engel made the world such a mystery.
Ivy. I’m not saying that she’s an awful character, I just couldn’t handle some of her decision making. There are just too many things that was too obvious, but I feel that she turned a blind eye to them. I do have to say that its understandable why she made those decisions in the end, but they were both frustrating and heartbreaking to read.
– I feel that almost all the characters, besides Ivy and Bishop, are grey. What I mean about this is, there were too many characters that didn’t fit the stereotype of good and bad. I know some people enjoy these sorts of mystery, but I like knowing who the villain is off the bat. Engel made it seem like its ‘us against the world’ with the two protagonists. I would have enjoyed a more clear cut of black and white. This tho, is a personal preference.

**There really isn’t much that I didn’t like about this book, to be honest, the one thing that stood out for me is the world building. The fact that it’s almost non existent is a bit frustrating. Other than that I really have no qualms on it.

The Good
– I know I complained about Ivy and the choices that she made in the end, but at the same time her faults are understandable. The decisions that she made are all believable and this made me relate to her. Her internal struggles regarding Bishop and her family are exactly things that I would question myself. I don’t know if the end result would be my decision, but it is something entirely plausible. I think Engel did such a great job in creating situations for her that made her choose her path in a realistic outcome.
– I love the relationship between Ivy and Bishop. I understand that there is arrange marriage going on in this book, but I don’t care. The development of the relationship was believable. There was no love at first sight or even an attraction, but Engel handled the progression of their feelings realistically. I’m really happy on the way Ivy and Bishop gradually evolved into their role as husband and wife. Although, I really don’t approve on any type of physical abuse I’m really glad that Engel included this scene. It shows that not all relationships are perfect and you cannot always get a ‘Happily Ever After’, even in books.
– Not an exact replica, but this book reminds me of These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman. It’s not the story that is similar, just the seclusion of the couple. I understand that they aren’t totally alone, but there is that similarity that they are forced to be together and learn about each other. I really enjoy that in These Broken Stars, and this similarity made me enjoy this book as well.

Like I said before, I really enjoyed the book. There are moments when I disliked it, for obvious reasons, but in the end I’m really glad I picked it up. Hopefully, the next, and last book, will answer some of the questions I have.

Audiobook Review: The first few chapters I listened to, I felt that the voice was very monotone. Then as the book progress the narrator’s voice attained emotions as she develops into her life as a wife. I realize that this tone is evident when her life seemed meek and as she start to develop a relationship with Bishop, the voice of the narrator becomes warmer. I would actually recommend the audiobook to those who enjoys reading this type of format.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending:Since I started this review in point forms, might as well end it on the same note.
– Ivy was sent to kill Bishop in order for her father to step up against the Lattimer. Without Bishop, they will kill the rest of the Lattimers and the Westfall will create a democracy. One that they have always wanted since the end of the war
– Ivy fell in love with Bishop. When it was time for her to kill him, she decided to confess to it before actually proceeding with the plan.
– With the confession, she is to be sent out of the town, beyond the fence. Those who leave the safety of the town is usually killed.
– She finds out that her father and sister literally abandons her by telling the Lattimers that Ivy was mentally unstable. Her decision to kill Bishop is entirely her decision because she was against the law of arrange marriage.
– Bishop does not believe them, but Ivy admits to wanting to kill him in order for her family not to be incriminated for crimes.
– The end of the book is Ivy realizing that she needs to be strong to save herself in the outside world.

Review for Book 2: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

2 thoughts on “The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

  1. Pingback: November Wrap-up and December TBR |

  2. Pingback: The Revolution of Ivy (Book 2) by Amy Engel |

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