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 House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple Author:  Natalie Whipple
Published: April 15th 2014 by
Publisher: HarperTeen
Categories: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
External Links: Book DepositoryGoodreads

Summary: 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.

Review: I guess putting this little tidbit is necessary (at least for me):  I’m not really big fan of witch books. But I have read Natalie Whipple’s Transparent and enjoyed it. Although that upped the ante, I still went in cautiously. But I think the hesitation was warranted, I wasn’t blown away by this book. I find it completely ‘meh.’ It’s not horrible per se but it lacked some zest to it. Although the elements, like how the witches were portrayed here were actually different. But even that didn’t weigh so much on my enjoyment scale.

So Josephine or Jo for short here is a witch. And she, along with her grandmother, was hiding from the curse. Long before they moved states to avoid them, her grandma did every precaution she knew but those weren’t enough, they still found them, and that time it killed her mother. Witches here are different. While they are popularly known to have existing powers within, Jo explained that the place they were living has a magic of their own, and as Hemlock they need to protect it. But even after years of sheltered life, she cannot evade the curse. And it looked like it was now after her.

I think the only thing that made all bearable to me is the witch concept. Despite me not enjoying it (on most cases), I wanted to give a huge shout-out for it because I think the idea was intricate and somehow clever. The powers of the witches weren’t only something innately in them. Like I mentioned earlier, the place, where they reside factored in to their powers. It was also the reason why her grandmother was reluctant to leave despite the circumstances. Also, some of them even pulled out powers from others. And those things what made it more interesting for me.

There was something off with Jo. Something how the story treated her character. Even with her being isolated and should be on guard because of what has happened to her mother, (and could happen to her as well) she was still, for me, kind of…naïve? It wasn’t only about the simple gestures but her overall personality made her…immature? In spite of that, I still managed to like her. She had this quality that I liked. I think she was persistent and resilient in her own way. Ways that consistently matched the personality she has.

An indirect love triangle should be expected. But don’t cringe good people because what I liked about it focused on what should be the focus: the witches and the curse (and some other well, witchy things from the boy’s side). The guys, Levi and Winn were actually decent and different from the other, made this angle quite interesting to me. But I was so sure which one will win Jo’s heart—and he did. I’m so glad this is a stand-alone. I liked how the story wrapped it up and shed answers to the questions in the beginning of the story.

Rating: 
Format: Advance Reader’s Copy
Preview Quote:  “With all my heart, I promise her to live my life like she did, treasuring every perfect moment. ” — Jo

2014 / 04 / 12
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