📚 House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

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Description⎮Reviewed Mar. 2017

Narrators: Brittany Pressley
Length: 8h 44m
Publisher: HarperAudio⎮2014

4★ AudiobookHouse of Ivy & Sorrow and I started out on the wrong foot, but eventually became good friends. The rocky start was mainly due to the fact that I was expecting something very different from this story, something deeper and darker. In reality, House of Ivy & Sorrow was much more flowery than it’s synopsis and [beautiful] cover initially lead me to believe.

I was in the mood for something witchy and didn’t yet feel like sitting through 30 hours of Discovery of Witches, so I started House of Ivy & Sorrow, despite the mixed reviews. I also knew that it was narrated by Brittany Pressley, a solid narrator, in my eyes. What I wasn’t expecting was how incredibly (and almost painfully) YA parts of it would be.

Don’t get me wrong, I love YA, but House of Ivy & Sorrow is on the lower end of the YA maturity scale. It reads like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but with magic thrown in. From my point of view, the characters and relationships were far too trope-ish for the plot. We’re talking basic, run-of-the-mill character stuff, which is a real shame because the plot itself deserved so much better.

The matrilineal magical families and succubi-type villains kept me listening, despite the writing only being so-so. The back stories of these families were particularly intriguing and I wish they had been even further elaborated upon. By the 40% point, I thought I could probably finish the story and by the 50% point, I knew I had to finish it.

The ending was a bit anti-climactic, but I’m still glad I decided to finish it. The further I got into it, the more I begin to appreciate the way the story was turning out, despite not being as engrossing as I had originally hoped. However, the lack of complexity made the story extremely easy to follow without becoming confused. Since most stories of this nature are part of a series, House of Ivy & Sorrow was a relatively quick and self-contained novel. It’s perfect for someone who enjoys tales of witches, but doesn’t care for anything especially dark. With that said, there were some not-quite-gripping (but almost) moments that propelled the story forward. If you go into this with the right mentality and knowing what to expect, House of Ivy & Sorrow is perfectly enjoyable.

Narration review: Brittany Pressley, whom also narrated Kiera Cass’ The Selection series, provided beautiful narration for House of Ivy & Sorrow. Her vocal distinction has always been admirable, but what really brought these characters to life was the amount of emotion Pressley infused into her performance. Such an emotion-filled reading kept my attention and encouraged me to keep listening, even when the story lulled. ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.comAudible/Amazon, and The Book Depository (paperback)

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