Publication Date: July 21st 2017
Publisher: Stories Untold
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Part of Series? Yes (Name of the series not known yet)
Source: Won in Giveaway
Goodreads Blurb: In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…
For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.
Introduction & Plot
When I won this book in a giveaway on Instagram, I was like super excited. I didn’t know what was this book about exactly. I just saw this book doing rounds on Instagram. So I was excited to get my hands on it. When it arrived, I instantly decided that it is going to be my next read, and alas! Here we are. I have never been so happy after reading a book that I got in a giveaway. This book was absolutely magical!
This is a story about a girl named Ivy Lovely and a magical town called Croswald. Ivy was a Scaldrony maid at House Plum. She had spent her entire childhood in Plum castle as a maid under the Head cook Helga, who despised her. Ivy had been slammed away in the kitchen and her life was miserable. She only had a single friend named Rimbrick who was a dwarf and she only met him when she used to do the paintings sitting on top of the castle. The kitchen had Scaldron dragons who used to bake in their mouths. Ivy is suddenly thrown out of this kitchen and the world she lived in, by Helga, just because of the hiccup of a Scaldron dragon. She had no place to go, but Rimbrick gave her a letter and then she was out into a different world.
When she reached Croswald, magical things start happening. She got admission to Halls of Ivy, the magical school, where she was about to become a Scrivenerist. The Scrivenerists were the persons who had a photographic memory and can sketch and record all that they see. After the completion of their studies, Scrivenerist got assigned to a particular queen. Ivy was very happy in her new role as she loved to read and paint.
When Ivy entered the school, she got herself in troubles from the very first day. She gets Rebecca as her room partner who was a queen but wanted to become a Scrivenerist. Ivy also met Fyn, who always looked after her and was always present near her whenever she was in danger. Fyn was senior to her and it was her responsibility somehow to look after Ivy, but he always broke rules for her. However, he also made sure to remind her of the consequences of breaking the rules.
As Ivy progresses to know more about her, she unfolds many secrets and came to know that she is the rightful heir of Croswald as she is related to former queen Isabella. She came to know that the Dark Queen is after her and her crown for some reason. Who is this Dark Queen? What she has to do with Ivy? How will Ivy manage to fight her? What the other secrets that are yet to unfold? How are Isabella and Ivy connected?
Character building and plot development
Ivy is a lovely character. She hadn’t known of her magical abilities till she gets to Halls of Ivy (though I am not sure why her name and the name of the magical school are same). I thought that this explanation will be given somewhere in the story but it was not. But I think this is simply because she was after all the rightful heir of Croswald? May be. I guess we will have to wait for this till the next book in the series come out.
Ivy has been portrayed fearless and fierce. She was always ready to go to adventures and to seek the truth behind her existence. Because of this behaviour she always gets herself in trouble (sounds something similar?). She was always keen to learn new things and most importantly, she loved reading!
Rebecca was the room partner of Ivy. She was equally interesting. Though she was a queen, she wanted to be a Scrivenerist. She was always with Ivy with her adventures and always helped her to get away from the troubles. Then there is Fyn. I initially doubted Fyn, that somehow he is not so straight as he looks and is conspiring against her. He seemed to always follow her, everywhere. but once they were together in the forbidden forest, I could see their chemistry and I actually liked him.
There is another interesting character, Derwin Edgar Night. Since her childhood, Ivy dreamt of him but never was able to saw his face. Not much detail was given about him like how he disappeared in the first place and all, but in the end, it was good to see his major part in the story and Ivy’s life. There were other interesting characters like all the professors, the dwarfs etc.
All the magical elements and places introduced in the story were excellent. I loved all the different subjects that they taught at the Halls of Ivy. I wish I could have learned one of those things, especially to go to some place magically in a bottle 😀 Sounds interesting, eh?
The forbidden forest was interesting too. And those Cloaked guards of Dark Queen? And those bearded clouds? That cabby ride? Those pie? Those Scaldron Dragons who bake in their mouths? That Forgotten room? And those magical Quills? Oh my, so many interesting elements. D.E. Night has successfully bound the completely new world where each thing is magical and so interesting that you ought to know more. As the story progresses, so many secrets unrevealed and sit just hooked to the story. There is a suspense like what will Ivy do next or in what trouble she will get herself into!
And yes, there were magical Crowns! Each queen had a different kind of crown with special magical powers. I want one!
Similarity to Harry Potter
I thought that this is required to mention about this book. During the first part of the book, it was very influenced by Harry Potter, at least I felt so. There were so many instances and world building that matched, like-
- Like Harry Potter, Ivy was alone too without her parents and was living a miserable life.
- As Hagrid came to take Harry, in this Rimbrick helps Ivy to escape the House Plum and then Lionel takes her to the magical school of Ravenshallow.
- There is also a magical school called Halls of Ivy, like Hogwarts.
- As there was a mystery train ride to reach Hogwarts, here is a grumpy cabby ride.
- Like in HP all students got a list of items to collect before going to Hogwarts, here Ivy too get a list of items to buy.
- There was the owl Hedwig for HP, here for Ivy it was her Scaldron dragon Humboldt.
- Ivy always gets herself in trouble, like Harry always did.
- Here is the Selector with all the responsibility of the school as there was Professor Dumbledore.
There were much more similar instances. Some readers may like these similarities, some may not. But regardless of all this, I would say the author has managed to create a different world altogether with so many magical elements and the story stands on its own very well. During the later parts, especially the ending is what I hadn’t expected. I was imagining as if a movie is going on in front me.
I have to admit writing was not so much simple for me in first 50 pages. The reason behind this, what I think, is that I haven’t read much fantasy. When it comes to the new world and new terms I feel that I am still too low in this genre. There were many times that I Googled the words that were written like Scrivenerist, Scaldron etc, as I didn’t know their meanings. But once I understood all the initial world building, the story was a piece a cake. I kept on reading till its end and I wanted the next part right then!
I have never said this before for any other author’s website, but do visit the website of author D.E. Night. It is breathtakingly beautiful.
What I liked
- Amazing world creation
- So many new magical elements and potions
- Despite some similarity with HP, the author has pulled it story beautifully
- All the characters were well described and were interesting
- Plot and suspense were maintained very well throughout the story
What I didn’t like
- It is just my opinion, it was a little bit difficult to understand the world at the starting of the book.
Only in a most fearful situation will you know what magic you are truly capable of
It was an action and adventure filled story. Even if it’s labeled as a middle-grade, I enjoyed it thoroughly and I guess any other person who loves fantasy will do so. If you are a Harry Potter fan (which I guess most of you are), like magic schools and lost princesses then this book is definitely for you. I adored Ivy and her world. I would definitely recommend to give it a read! This was a very good debut attempt and I am surely waiting for the next book in the series now.
(Haha 😀 I am not going to beat you up if you don’t read it)
If you are a Harry Potter fan,like magic schools,lost princesses and adventurous rides, then this book is definitely for you.
Would Recommend To
- Harry Potter fans
- For fantasy lovers
- Who like magical schools, forgotten princess and adventure
- Who like strong heroines
A fun fact
The name Derwin Edgar Night, who is the person Ivy keeps dreaming about, is actually the full version of author’s name? D.E. Night = Derwin Edgar Night! Is it somehow related? 😛
Pin it for later ♥
Have you read this? What did you think about this? Are you into this genre?