Book Review: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel

book of ivy final template2_high res frontSynopsis:

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…

About the Author:amy engel

Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online at http://amyengel.net/ or @aengelwrites.

My Review:

Dystopia can be a very difficult genre to write in. There’s a hell of a lot of world building that you have to do as the author and, if done wrong, it can make the reader feel like they’ve been dumped straight into the middle of a heavily plotted story, without feeling that they are going along for the ride. Fortunately, The Book Ivy works the Dystopia genre perfectly – as the reader you are drip feed the information as and when you need it – rather than it being confusing and hard to keep up with, its very easy to feel sucked into the story. I do love first person narrative, and I think it works incredibly well here, as the emotion and thought process of protagonist Ivy is really the most interesting part of the book – you need emotion in Dystopia – just look at The Hunger Games.

From a writer’s perspective, it was beautifully written with some lovely turns of phrase in there. The conflict between characters was amazing, although I’d have preferred more imaginative names for them other than East VS West. The first scene in the book was perfect and very  much reminded me of The Selection and Wither – so really makes you want to read on.

The Front cover is a bit busy though – which is a shame. It took me ages to realise that the girl on the front had a knife behind her back – not good when you only get a milli-second of attention on the virtual book shelf. Perhaps just the girl on the front and no vista in the letters would have made it crisper and more impactive.

Overall I’d give Book of Ivy 4 out of 5 stars – I’d really recommend this book to anyone who reads the Dystopian genre.

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