I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Published by HarperTeen on April 15th 2014
Source: the Publisher
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.
House of Ivy & Sorrow surprised me a lot! I had hoped for the book to live up to it’s cover, but since the last few books I’ve read within this genre turned out a disappointment I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But honestly, this book turned out everything I wanted it to be. It was darker than I expected it to be, which was a huge part of why this story worked so well for me.
Josephine was a great character. She had a strong personality. Resourceful and strong. She’s a character that knows what she stands for, and knows to take action when action needs to be taken. I love how she cares, about her family but about her friends as well. Like I said, she’s a very good and fun character!
I loved how Josephine’s family and her friends (Kat and Gwen) play a huge part in the book. Each of the secondary characters were are very well developed and had their own quirks and traits that made them who they are. They each had their own significant role to play in the plot, which was fun to figure out.
The plot itself was refreshing, I found the story original and I read the entire story in one sitting (most of the time I need a few breathers, so that says something). While sometimes I could see a plot twist coming from miles away, there were other twists that I hadn’t seen coming.
What I absolutely loved most about House of Ivy & Sorrow (and what absolutely made the book for me) was the take on magic and witchcraft. I dislike how witchcraft gets over-romanticized in most books. I’ve always thought that there should be a darker twist, the magic has to come from somewhere, it has to come from somewhere because all energies do, how can you use an energy like that without there being a price to pay in order to use it. In my opinion the answer is that you can’t. There is always a twist, which means that there’s always a price to pay, and that was absolutely amazingly done in this book. House of Ivy & Sorrow is all about magic, and we learn right away that all magic is evil. Using magic requires a sacrifice, it requires a sacrifice and there’s consequences. It’s exactly what I wanted from this book. This take on magic made reading incredibly fascinating and intriguing.
As always there is a distinction between good and evil. But instead of there just being good witches, and there being bad witches (that use magic without any consequences) this distinction shows through control and consumption. You control the magic, or let it control and consume you. Definitely a darker story regarding witchcraft, but it was so very well done!
House of Ivy & Sorrow carries a great take on witchcraft, it’s like the scary and creepy stuff from fairy tales meets the witches we know and love from the Charmed series! Really original, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a little darker side to their YA!