Ivy’s Ever After by Dawn Lairamore
Holiday House, 2010.
Filled with humor and high adventure, this fractured fairy tale tells how a spirited, nonconformist princess and an undersized, non-threatening dragon join forces to foil an evil prince’s dastardly plot to destroy their kingdom.–Powell’s Books
I picked up Ivy’s Ever After after reading Stacy Dillon’s review on her blog “Welcome to my Tweendom.” We are ever on the lookout for fairytales in our house, fractured or otherwise.
As “Welcome to my Tweendom” has a fantastic review, and I know you have (or will) follow the link and read it, I am not going to write my own “review.” Not that I have, you’ve noticed, “reviewed” anything for a while. I shall continue in my reader response, note-taking fashion now ramble on about respond to Ivy’s Ever After.
Ivy’s Ever After is strongly reminiscent of M. M. Kay’s The Ordinary Princess to no detriment. Perhaps the similar naming is a homage. The descriptions of the ordinary and unprincess-like girls (who seem to often be brunette) are quite similar, as is their friendship with commoners. The reminiscing dissipates as Ivy’s Ever After demands its own recognition amidst her fellow fractured fairy tales.
Lairamore plots out a fun and twisty adventure while finding time to develop a lovely friendship between princess and dragon. The dragon is easily the most unique and likeable character of the cast.
The book is not without romance, but Ivy maintains her independence to page end. And as self-sufficient and clever-witted our heroine is, the story does not suggest that a female is less so just because she loves. Ivy’s mother signifies this. She is not weaker for having loved her husband; it was the expectation of her office that she could not overcome. Needless to say, Ivy succeeds where her mother could not, and still has every expectation of having it all (to include a husband and children).
Ivy’s mother died giving birth to her. I don’t feel that is a spoiler as it is known early on that Ivy has only her father as a somewhat absent parent. Even as her mother is dead, she is still very much a character in the story. This is a different take on the ever popular motherless heroine as protagonist. The mother would have potentially interfered with our princess becoming how we come to know her, so her absence is still necessary. Yet her presence finds necessity as well, as a point of comparison between mother and daughter, between then and now.
The story does not fly out of hand. Ivy is well-prepared for her adventure and solutions are found at every suspenseful turn. I had moments where I wondered if the story was written from an outline. [I’m not sure I could articulate why—yet.]
The partitions of the book were good markers for stopping points for a session, otherwise the transitions were smooth and I couldn’t decipher why they were present. Are the partitions an element of fairy tales of which I am unaware? I need to investigate this.
My understanding is that this is Lairamore’s first novel. I look forward to her future endeavors. If you haven’t experienced this first venture, you’ll enjoy her splendid take on princesses in towers and dragons who refuse to be slain.