Review: Enchanted Ivy

Review: Enchanted IvyEnchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
Published by Margaret K. McElderry on October 12, 2010
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 310
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her: She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet!

Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons—the ordinary one and a magical one—and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage—and a little magic—to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

I read Into the Wild, another of Sarah Beth Durst’s books (not to be confused with Jon Krakauer’s ode to being really stupid–aka cool–when hiking), in 2008. I wasn’t super impressed (I didn’t even read the sequel), but I still wanted to read this one and her other book, Ice. I love fantasy and fairy tales, which is her niche. Unfortunately, she still has yet to really engage me. This one was definitely preferable to Into the Wild, mostly because the protagonist is a bit older and easier for me to relate to. Also, the title is a pun, which you have to love. Enchanted Ivy, both because Princeton is an ivy league school with magic things running around and because there are some vines that are enchanted. Awesome.

There were three things that really kept me from connecting with Lily and the book:

1) Lily is too damn trusting. She never really suspects anyone until they openly admit that they are terrible people. She has a tendency to expect others to save her, which gets really frustrating. That’s part of the growing she does in the progress of the novel, but it happens in such a way that I do not feel thrilled for her. Instead, I feel even more judgmental.

2) She manages to be a big flirt while claiming to be complete out of the league of the only two young males in the book. Cry moar. I mean, really.

3) Every time one of the characters touches her, she feels tingles. And it does get mentioned every single time. Except for that time where she sat behind him on a ride with her arms around him for a matter of minutes, so good consistency there. She attributes this tingly feeling not with her romantic feelings (certainly an improvement), but with the magic she senses within him. Well, that’s great. Except that she has never noticed magic anywhere else through this same tingle, even in the other magical creatures she meets. What does this mean? Is Lily stupid or is all the powerful tingle of love?

Final verdict: just okay. A bit too cheesy and obvious to be particularly good, but interesting enough in spite of that to be readable.

One response to “Review: Enchanted Ivy”

  1. I get the impression that this book irritated you a bit! I hate it when the main character is so clueless that you end up shouting at the book!

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