Publication: November 11, 2014 by Entangled Teen
Source: Paperback copy was provided by the publisher. Thank you!
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…
I am very surprised by how much I loved this book. The synopsis intrigued me, but I thought it would be predictable. I was wrong. The characters and plot are multidimensional, and there are many different elements to the story.
Ivy is a wonderful main character. She is strong, but she also has her faults. She is constantly battling with herself, trying to decide where her loyalty lies. She must face some hard truths, and make impossibly difficult decisions. Reading from her perspective is compelling and engaging.
Bishop is so great as well. I definitely fell for him. He has his own unique personality and is different than a lot of male characters I read. Bishop and Ivy have an undeniable connection, and reading their interactions left me breathless at points. I loved seeing their relationship grow and the effect it has on Ivy and the other plot lines.
The world is very thought-provoking. I wouldn't totally call it dystopian, it does take place after apocalyptic events, but it's not so obviously bad as many dystopians. I think it has its strengths and weaknesses. Ivy and her family are totally against how the community is governed. Therefore, it is presented negatively. However, as Ivy and the reader learn more, it may not be so black and white. That is another aspect I love about this book. There is discussion on the 'grey area' surrounding how a survivor community should be run, and it explores the perspectives of both sides. Ivy finds herself questioning her beliefs, and I found myself, as a reader, not so sure as well.
The writing has an addictive quality to it and I was completely captivated. The plot is not continuously fast-paced throughout the book, but there is serious tension. Between Ivy's internal struggles, and the intensity with Bishop, I did not want to stop reading. There are some very stressful moments, but they are balanced out with down time to develop the characters and world.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It's realistic, gritty, fascinating, and emotional. If you're looking for a unique post-apocalyptic/dystopian book that will keep you guessing, I would highly recommend.