Review: House of Ivy and Sorrow-Natalie Whipple

February 24, 2015 Review 22 ★★

Review: House of Ivy and Sorrow-Natalie Whipple
House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 368
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, General, Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW reminds me of TRANSPARENT in terms of what I liked and disliked. This is no surprise because they were written by the  same author. However, this book is a notch below TRANSPARENT, and I have rated it so.

If you are looking for a novel about witches and magic with a dark undertone, this isn’t it. If you are looking for your average contemporary novel with spells and a random curse thrown in, this is it. There is more focus on the romance and pudding than anything else. Yes, you read that right, pudding.

puddingThese people are obsessed with it.

If you like constantly being reminded of the protagonist’s attractiveness, look no further. Her friends, family, boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s friends all remark on her absolute gorgeousness through lines like: “My friends keep telling me how hot you are” and “Better get used to it, she’s only getting prettier.” I couldn’t root for any of the characters, really. Much less the romance that was almost always in your face.

The one thing that kept me reading was the hope for a magnificent solution that would impress the socks off me. I genuinely hoped for one of those “Aha!” moments where some big twist would be revealed. So whenever a comment about the main character’s appearance would pop up or something would make me cringe, I kept at it. 

Needless to say, I didn’t find that moment.

It’s a shame because the book had potential, there was so much that could have been done. It’s witches and magic, the possibilities are almost limitless. I wish the author focused more on that aspect rather than the main character’s amazing ability to gush over boys and complain.

Rating Report
Overall: 1.9

22 Responses to “Review: House of Ivy and Sorrow-Natalie Whipple”

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    While I haven’t read Transparent (or this one for that matter), I remember reading a few reviews for this one when it first came out and from what I remember everyone seemed to feel more or less like you did. Before it came out, I was really excited about it because, like you said in your intro, it sounded like a fantasy story with witches! But for it to turn into a contemporary (*groan*) with a few spells..well that is a major bummer D: And that focus on the MC’s looks? Ugh! Sorry this one was such a letdown for you Alise. I hope your next read is/was much better! x
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #11

    • Alise

      Right? I didn’t expect much after the initial reviews came out but I was hoping for at least a little more…witchery? I don’t know. But yeah, the romance and attractiveness of the heroine was deemed more important, apparently. No worries, thank you!

  2. Melliane

    Ah it’s sad that it wasn’t what you expected and that in the end you were disappointed with it. I haven’t read it I confess but I think it will stay like that. thanks for the review.

    • Alise

      *takes The Doll off TBR* Haha
      It is really a shame though! I know it has to be hard to find that balance between the actual plot and romance but I would rather have no romance than too much of a focus on romance.

  3. Kirsty-Marie

    I actually liked this one a bit better than Transparent, weirdly. BUT THAT NAIL PULLING SCENE. I NEEDED SOME PUDDING AFTER THAT. I did cringe at some parts though, but I’m in the majority that found it okay. (That majority is obviously not that big, haha.)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Even in Paradise

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