Book Review: The Book of Ivy

ivy

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…”


Pros
– Bishop, Ivy sticks to her (sometimes misguided but ultimately well intentioned) values and the romance develops genuinely

Cons – Ivy’s family, Ivy’s Family, IVY’S FAMILY

Review – First – my thanks to Nicole for a) suggesting this book to me and b) gifting it to me. You were on target here dear.

Second – so I don’t do dystopian books by in large. Not my bag. However this book interested more for the fact I wanted to see how far Ivy would go before she realized how awful her father and sister were. Papa Westfall doesn’t even have a redeeming value of loving his daughter – as Ivy points out his love is dependent on her loyalty and obedience. Callie is just a bitch and deserves to get hers.

What kept me going, aside from the engaging writing and story, was Bishop and Victoria. Bishop is far from the demon Ivy is expecting but he is also far from the Saint. He doesn’t condone what Ivy says is horrible, but he asks the very reasonable question “So what’s your solution?”

Bishop articulates what every revolutionary teen needs to actually consider – what comes after? Tear down a regime, destroy a societal set of laws…what replaces that? Papa Westfall’s vague notion of democracy is just that, vague as hell.  Its basically once they take down this “horrible horrible regime” EVERYTHING will get better. Just because. And if we’re being truthful he ONLY became the firebrand revolutionary once Mama Westfall died (a fact he underscores twice to Ivy in all but the actual words). He scored as far as wives go, so his problems with the arranged marriage system disappeared in that moment, only to re-appear when she died. I can understand his animosity towards Lattimer – for Papa Westfall, Lattimer had everything he wanted, including the one thing he never should have had in the first place (under the societal doctrines). But that’s not how you base your revolution. Papa Westfall (and Ivy’s older sister to a large extent) are very much in for their personal vendettas, not for the betterment of their society (it would be kind of like Gale waging war against the Capitol because Katniss chose Peeta, not because the Capitol was an oppressive, homicidal and debauched government).

In short he’s the WORST kind of revolutionary.  Really Bishop was a better revolutionary and all he did was sensibly point out the flaws in their society and the compromises that should (and could) be made.

Granted I wanted to slap Ivy, a lot, for being almost as unreasonable as her family (tho she’s not, she’s got good points, but no conviction at first), but in hindsight its understandable.  Its less that Ivy was blindly following her father’s edicts or her sister’s will, she just was never given a different option.  She grew up in a house where “The Lattimers are the Devil” was spoken more often than “I love you”.  Where affection was doled out only if you successfully completed another leg of your “training”. I’d say its amazing she turned out so rationally, but its a long road before she really starts to see sense.

I think it would have been smarter to subvert Bishop once she realized he wasn’t evil. once the Prez died he’d be in control and he was hella more sympathetic and ready to change the broken system.

Want to Know More?

Published by: Entangled Teen
Release: November 4, 2014
Series: First in Series
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lexie


Lexie Words

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