Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Book Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

If I am honest I wasn’t all the bothered about reading House of Ivy & Sorrow.  It looked alright but I wasn’t dying to get my hands on it.  I went into reading this with not very high expectations which actually really worked for me because I ended up liking this a lot more than I thought I would. I am not going to lie, this book is not perfect and there were times where it did annoy me a little bit but generally speaking I found this a fast and entertaining read.

House of Ivy & Sorrow does nothing new in the genre but it does go back to basics a little bit.  It was about old school witches with magic potions and bubbling caldrons.  This was the side of the book I loved, it was interesting and grim.  The other side unfortunately was not so great.  When it wasn’t about witch craft it got a little too girly and became more about ‘boys’ than anything else. 

The writing and world building was well executed.  Natalie Whipple does a great job with the more paranormal aspects of the book, it all made sense and was easy to fall into.  Despite it all getting a little too girly for my taste she also does a good job of the characters.

Jo is a fairly strong lead.  Sure she has a crush on a boy that can get a little out of hand but when push comes to shove her priorities are pretty straight.  I thought she was easy to get to know and fairly likeable.  The problem was that other characters could barely utter a sentence without mentioning how cool/beautiful/amazing Jo is.  I don’t need to know that she is ‘oh my god’ stunning and I don’t need to know that everyone thinks she is the nicest girl ever I can make up my own mind about her, having it slammed in my face all the time actually makes me dislike her a little more than I should.

The romance was alright it moved a little quickly for my taste.  Two dates in and they are ripping each other’s clothes off and thinking about doing it which is maybe a little hasty.  There is a touch of a love triangle here but it isn’t all that important.  As usual I would have gone with the other guy (this always happens to me in love triangles!) but she probably made the right choice in the end.

House of Ivy & Sorrow does have some problems, it isn’t perfect and it isn’t massively important but it IS a very entertaining a little read.  I would recommend it to someone who is looking for some unheavy fun.

3 stars

Find out more:

Expected publication: April 15th 2014 by HarperTeen, ebook ARC, 352 pages.

A free copy of this book was provided for review.

Review by Kate Phillips 

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