Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, inspired author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, poring over her letters, sharing their theories online, and gathering at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close.
So when the seemingly-perfect Kate Burden appears at the local park, Ivy knows that something isn’t right. Kate has charmed the entire family, but she is suspiciously curious about Ivory Apples. And Ivy must protect what she and her Great-Aunt share: magic that is real, untamable, and—despite anyone’s desire—always prefers choosing its own vessel. (taken from Amazon)
Thank you to Netgalley for providing this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be released on October 15th.
Um…what did I just read? This book had such potential! I wanted to love it, but it left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. The thing is, I felt like this book was originally an idea for two separate books that kind of melded together into one book. The problem is, they didn’t mesh well.
Ivory’s great-aunt is a famous but reclusive author. No one outside the family knows where she lives now and she has no interest in responding to fan mail, answering questions about her work, or- really- discussing it at all. Ivory and her family- her father, and three sisters- visit on occasion. Usually, the kids wander around while Ivory’s dad goes over business things with their great-aunt.
On one such trip, Ivory comes across a shocking scene. It changes things for her, and affects her entire life afterward. Here’s the first issue I had with this book; aside from a few vague questions that aren’t satisfactorily answered, Ivory seems to accept this huge thing with very little issue. For me, it’d be a “Holy hand-grenade! What was that?”, type of thing, but she just kind of went with it.
Shortly after that, the kids meet a kind woman named Ms. Burden. Something about her bothers Ivory, but no one else shares her suspicions. Things progress, and Ms. Burden suddenly becomes much more involved in their lives. Ivory has to protect her great-aunt’s secret while figuring out what Ms. Burden’s ulterior motive is, assuming she actually has one.
At this point in the book, things start to get very choppy. There’s several chapters where not much happens at all. Ivory ends up kind of on her own, with no other characters to interact with. That would be fine if it led to some character growth. It really didn’t, though. By the time the book got back to the original narrative, I’d lost interest..
There were a lot of things that were just accepted, then never really explored throughout this book. It’s really too bad; there were some themes that could have been fascinating if they’d gotten a little more attention.
Ultimately, I think what this book really needed was to become two separate novels. On their own, each of the disparate ideas would have worked very well; they just didn’t get along.