Cover Image: In an Orchard Grown from Ash

In an Orchard Grown from Ash

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In the second book of the Wind Up Garden duology, the Argyros siblings have lost everything. Their father is dead, and the four of them are scattered across the continent. Rhea struggles with her power over death as she works within a distrustful rebel group. Chrysanthi travels to a war-torn land in search of Nitsos, sure he is working to restore the family to its former glory with himself at its head. Lexos is stripped of power and is a political prisoner of the Domina family, dreaming of revenge. The four must find a path forward together, or everything will remain fallen apart.

The first book of the duology was "In A Garden Burning Gold," and this book picks up where that one left off. The sumptuous and Greek-influenced world is still here, and the unsettling and unlikeable characters are back to face the consequences of their actions. Lexos paid a heavy price for keeping the status quo the same, and the sisters still are the most sympathetic characters for me. Lexos is a captive, starting off the novel paraded around and then locked up, swept up in someone else's plans all over again. Rhea is isolated and ignored, just as she was in the first book, and poor Chrysanthi is out of her element as she's sent to find Nitsos. The four siblings each have a story thread in the beginning, and it feels like they'll never be knit back together again.

Ultimately, the world here is one of scrabbling for power. There is a background tension of war in various countries, people looking to collect the marks and gifts that they bestow, and the search for more about the saints from hundreds of years before. The four siblings are little more than pawns for others to push around, and my heart went out to them as it happened. Nitsos remained distant, but I actually felt sorry for Lexos in this one. Rhea of course kept trying to break herself to pieces emotionally, pushing herself to prove that she was worthy to everyone else around her. The ones to survive to the end aren't who you expect it to be, and the conclusion of the duology is sad. There's such a melancholy air in the second half of this book, and the end took me by surprise. I didn't think it would be concluded in that manner, but it makes sense, too. There are those in power who will do anything to keep it, and will always survive in this kind of world. Those who seek it out to prove themselves will fail, because ultimately they don't have a core sense of self to support that journey. The ones that get power and don't want it will do the right thing for the world at large, and if there were more people like that, the world could fall back into balance. Hopefully, others will make the right decision for this world's future.

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In a Garden Burning Gold is a brilliant political fantasy filled to the brim with complex characters and an intricate magic system that takes center stage. I was so upset when In an Orchard Grown from Ash did not meet the same level.

While In a Garden Burning Gold is not perfect (I found the plot to be a tad slow at times), I still enjoyed my time and its uniqueness in fantasy. The second book in this installment has none of the things that sparked my interest in the first. In fact, it actively removed what made the first book so compelling.

I was so excited to get all of the sibling's points of view in this book. With the explosive way things ended, I was eager to explore the tension that would bind the four together. However, I couldn't recognize a single one of the characters I had come to love. The twins are so different in this book. Lexos, who I thought of as the smartest character politically, just whines and bemoans his new state. Everything just happens to him, and he is more intent on complaining about his status than trying to fix it. This book completely wipes away his capacity to make clever decisions and countermoves to his opponents. Rhea is a shell of the person she used to be. While she definitely seems to be a little bit more active in this book, it doesn't count for much since she is actively getting pushback from the others, and unable to do much. Rhea always tried to turn the situation to her advantage in the first book, but she is too depressed to do much of anything in this one. Instead of using it to her advantage, she bemoans her state as a ruler. The dynamic I loved between Rhea and Michali is gone in the first few pages. While I expected things to change between them, I did not expect the book to start out with Rhea just hating him. Michali is just mindlessly in love with Rhea while she can't stand the sight of him. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of depth and nuance between the two of them. Overall, the well-beloved twins in the first book are a thing of the past here.

Chrysanthi and Nitsos didn't have any purpose to the story except for dragging out the plot. Nitsos could have been the most interesting character in the whole book. At the end of the first book, we discover just how deeply rooted Nitsos' desire for his father's approval is. He had such a focused goal in the first book but is just lost in this one. Chrysanthi was marginally better. I feel like she didn't have much of a personality in the first one, so I enjoyed exploring her identity more. However, her overall arc was slowed down immensely by her actions. She spends the majority of the book wandering around, without the capability to flourish. These two additional points of view ended up adding nothing to the book.

The plot lacks action. There is none of the political intrigue or magic system that made the first book incredible. It is so slow, that I felt like I was reading a hundred pages for every fifty. I couldn't read for more than half an hour at a time. Towards the end, things pick up speed, but by that point, I was too frustrated to really enjoy it. While the dark ending is unexpected, it did not make up for the long, boring journey to get there.

If you have read the first book and loved it, I would hesitate before picking up this one. It might not be the ending you were looking for.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I was a bit worried about this one going in, given the pacing issues of the first book, but oh, was that the least of my worries. Sadly, the ending is not going to be for most people as it does not feel satisfying in the way that Rory Power normally delivers. I, however, am unsure how it would have been best fixed. Just overall bummed with this one.

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In this part two of the Argyrosi duology we follow the siblings of the Argyrosi family after the event that changed their lives forever. The loss of their home, normalcy, security, and alliances sends them each on their own path ultimately navigating to the same point. And each evaluates what it means to have power, love, family or none at all.

Truly a wonderful novel at the core. The relationships between family is the thread that weaves through this novel. Sometimes it is making it in your own and discovering yourself, other times it is recognizing the value of what you have. I really enjoyed experiencing each path that the siblings take to its ultimate end. You cannot help but feel for this family. And it all is set in an interesting and engaging world. 5 stars.

Review based on a digital Advanced Reader’s Copy provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley. Thank you!

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Rhea and Lexos have lost their father and their kingdom. They now find themselves on opposite sides of the rising rebellion and are in search of people they can trust. Can these twins push past their pain and reunite their kingdom? Are they beyond saving? In an Orchard Grown from Ash is the second book in the Argyrosi duology. I love fantasies and I love stories based on ancient myths, but I did not love this book. I found my mind wandering and forced myself to back up and start chapters again. Even when I got to the end, I wondered why I finished. The first book was good but this one fell flat.

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3.5 stars, and that's being generous because the ending was severely disappointing.

Most of the book was the 4 Argyros siblings traveling around the world, either avoiding or searching for each other. New characters were introduced that could have really added to the story, but nothing about the magic or the saints ended up being fully explained.

The ending was a "for now" kind of ending, because the widespread problems of power obsession wasn't addressed at all. And it ended with one of my least favorite series ending tropes and I never will feel the need to read these again. Which is too bad, because after book one I was expecting something much better than this.

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Second book in the Argyrosi duology which left off with Rhea receiving the matagios instead of Lexos and Nitsos betraying the family. I must admit this story took an unexpected turn. Much darker than the first. But it is still interesting to watch the characters develop. Chrysanthi comes to the forefront while it seemed Nitsos story is almost thrown away.
The Argyrosi are torn apart from within and without. Apparently when a family holds on to power with the ritual sacrifice of young men, it does not end well. Still a satisfying conclusion.
Thanks to Del Rey and Netgalley for the arc.

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I really wish I had known this was the second book of a series. (I usually like to read them in order) It did not take away from me still enjoying this book. I'm not a fan of so much political/strategy/military dialogue. Along with there being slow paced segments.

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I received a copy of this story from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

DNF: 10%

All of my issues with the first book are still present: VERY SLOW pacing, inaccessible emotional life, convoluted plot that is weirdly not compelling.

In this one, we have a PoV from each of the Argyrosi children. That intrigued me because at the heart of it all, this is about the drama between those four siblings. I had hopes! But the voices for each PoV sound the same. There wasn't much to differentiate them beyond location so I kept forgetting whose PoV I was reading.

And I was already feeling like this would be a slog and for an almost-500 page book, that's not a fun feeling. I couldn't justify continuing.

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In an Orchard Grown from Ash is a poignant conclusion to the duology, taking readers on a raw and emotional journey through the lives of a family whose actions have both created and broken them. The story explores the consequences of their choices, delving deep into the complexities of human relationships and the power of redemption. With its evocative prose and compelling characters, this novel is a must-read for anyone seeking a thought-provoking and deeply satisfying literary experience.

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The satisfying follow-up to "In a Garden Burning Gold", Power continues to vividly create atmospheric worlds that her characters exist in (one of the thing's I think she does best), and creates a fast paced finale to the Wind-Up Garden duology
      We are introduced to some new characters, while some familiar ones get stronger voices in this tale. In particular, I really liked the character growth of Lexos and Rhea's sister, Chrysanthi. We get to learn a lot more about her this time.
      The Argyros siblings entire world has been turned upside down, not only do they have to deal with familial betrayals and consequences, they no longer sit on the throne, and are surrounded by political turmoil. Separately they all have to make decisions on whicb paths they take with the possibility of very self destructive outcomes, for themselves, and for the world they live in.
      While this still has the feeling of an old Greek epic to me, I also feel like the politics involved feel very current.
        It is difficult to not give out spoilers, but the series is definitely worth a read!

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I was looking forward to this second novel in the Argyrosi duology after enjoying the creative world-building and action in the first novel. Unfortunately, this one was rather slow as it went back and forth among four different POVs. Lexos lost his charming personality, Nitsos is barely mentioned after the first few chapters, and Rhea seemed to be angry all the time. The only saving grace was Chrysanthi whose character blossomed in this novel. The final chapters finally brought the action to life but it took too long for me to get to that point. All-in-all, rather disappointing.

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In this sequel to In a Garden Burning Bright, “In an Orchard Grown From Ash”, Rory Powers' story as it weighs the cost of power is beautiful but feels incomplete. Part of the reason it feels that way to me is how rich and complex the novel is as it gives us Rhea’s and Chrysanthi’s voices, as they grapple with what their power means, the legacy that their father and mother have left them but also what to do with their own gifts, as those gifts shape them as they see the impact of their powers. 

I was left with so many unanswered questions about how Rhea’s gifts and the others actually work. The language used is beautiful and I fell in love with Chrystanthi and her voice. But I also wanted to hear more from Nitsos. There was potential to have more from him but we don’t get enough to even justify his presence in the book. Alexandros has far more presence in the novel but there were so many times I felt like there was unanswered potential to his interactions with secondary characters. Some of the choices that the characters make also don’t seem very wise or smart.  

For me, I loved the novel and I did feel like the ending was beautifully heartbreaking. The words are lush and the ideas complex, especially when exploring the cost of power and understanding the impact of choices, the legacy of family. The drama is winding and enthralling but I felt like there were opportunities to explore more, particularly with Nitsos and Alexandros. But I also feel like the story ended the way it was meant to do. Still, I can't help thinking it is very beautiful but feels incomplete.

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Thank you Random House and NetGalley for this digital advanced copy in return for an honest review.

As someone who enjoyed the first book of this duology, I was eager to dive into Rory Power’s ‘In An Orchard Grown from Ash’. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed by the slow pace and lackluster POV of Rhea.

Unlike Power's previous book, which had a gripping pace and dynamic characters, In An Orchard Grown from Ash felt plodding and uneventful. It took me far too long to become invested in the story, and even when I did, the momentum never truly picked up. I found myself constantly checking to see how many pages were left, hoping that the action would finally kick in.

One of the main issues I had with the book was the POV of Rhea. While I understand that multiple POVs can add depth and complexity to a story, Rhea's narrative felt flat and uninspired. Her storyline lacked the urgency and intrigue that the other characters possessed, and I often found myself skimming her chapters to get back to the more compelling parts of the book.

While In An Orchard Grown from Ash had some redeeming qualities, such as Power's vivid imagery and knack for political intrigue, I ultimately found it to be a disappointing follow-up to the previous book. Fans of slow-burn, character-driven stories may enjoy it, but those looking for a more action-packed and dynamic read may be left wanting more.

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Title: In an Orchard Grown from Ash
Author: Rory Power
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3

The Argyros siblings have lost everything. With their father dead and their family home captured, they’re no longer the rulers of their fractured kingdom—and no longer bound to each other.

In the frozen north, Rhea struggles to wield her newly inherited command over death and to find her place in an increasingly distrustful rebel group. Chrysanthi travels to a distant, war-torn land in search of her elusive brother Nitsos, certain that he is there on a dangerous mission to restore the family to its former glory, this time with himself at its head. And Lexos, now stripped of all his power and a political prisoner of the Domina family, is left to rot in a hauntingly desolate palace with nothing but thoughts of revenge.

Alone and farther apart than they’ve ever been, the siblings must reckon with the pain of their past and find a new path forward—or risk their own destruction.

I really enjoyed the first book in this duology, In a Garden Burning Gold; this one, however, felt like a waste of my time. I will say that I enjoyed Chrysanthi’s growth, although she felt so passive through the first 2/3rds of the story, just letting everything happen to her without taking action herself.

Nitsos was almost a non-presence in this book---and he was pointless. Lexos was useless: all he did was whine about not having power. And Rhea…man. I really liked her in the first book. In this one, she was a terrible human being, and I just wanted her to hurry up and die already. I do not recommend this read.

Rory Power lives in New England. In an Orchard Grown From Ash is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Random House/Ballantine in exchange for an honest review.)

(Blog link live 5/4.)

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC.

In an Orchard Grown from Ash is the second book in the Argyrosi duology, following twins Rhea and Lexos as they face off on opposite sides of a rebellion.

There were things I liked about the way this book wrapped up the Argyrosi story, but overall, this read felt really slow. I wasn't as drawn in as I was with book one, and I found that though there was a stab at politicking, a lot of it wasn't happening on screen, which left me often feeling out of the loop. It felt difficult to figure out why I was being shown the scenes I was being shown, rather than the seemingly more interesting things I was just hearing of afterwards.

I do like that this book got darker, but in all I'm not really sure it was the story I was hoping for. Still, I think it was nice to get back into this world with characters I grew to like in book 1, and I'm certainly not dissatisfied with the total scope of their stories.

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What's it about (in a nutshell):
In an Orchard Grown from Ash by Rory Power is an incredibly poignant and tragic dark epic fantasy set in a world full of Gods and Saints, where magic is deadly, and life is fleeting. It is the second book in a duology and must be read after the first book, "In a Garden Burning Gold." This part of the story is about the four Argyros siblings and their struggle to regain the power their father once held.

Bullet Point Review:
I loved the tragically rich story, full of emotions and dire consequences.

I also loved how the story is almost Shakespearean in scope with its political and personal intrigue. The stakes are high, and you don't know if any characters will still be alive by the end.

It's very dark and gruesome, which surprised me. Book one had plenty of darkness, but it was much better balanced than this one.

The main characters are four siblings – Rhea, Alexandros, Chrysanthi, and Nitsos – and are all very well developed with layers of complexities and endured tragedies.

The story is told in first-person narration in alternating chapters through Rhea, Lexos, and Chrysanthi's voices. Nitsos does not get his own chapters though we are made aware of his story through his siblings.

The pace is relatively slow. It could be faster for my taste.

The world-building is incredible and rich - full of color, emotions, politics, and magic.

Read, if you like:
Epic fantasy
Tragic stories that take you on emotional rollercoasters
Magic

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Lovely sequal...it had been a bit since I've read the first one, so I felt maybe some kind of recap might have helped jog my memory a bit. It was also a bit slow to take off, but the world was really well laid out. I loved the political intrigue, and the family dynamic...and the unexpected darkness at the end. I'm still sitting with it.

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This book was equal parts beautiful and brutal, bringing tears to my eyes multiple times.

I am stunned at the capacity of Rory Power’s writing. This story is stunning and devastating. This is definitely a book hangover read… be warned!

This book is rife with fantastical political intrigue, budding relationships, betrayals and the love of family, even in the face of devastating treachery.

Rhea and Lexos, twins now cast on opposite sides of the growing divide caused by the rebellion that has town their family apart, follow their own paths in this book. Unfortunately, their accomplishments as they make their way are a bit lacking… Instead, the shining star in this one for me was Chrysanthi! I adored her and her building relationship with the one guarding her, Andrija.

Rhea was the downfall, though. She consistently made the worst choices and I couldn’t get past them. Aside from her dwindling character, I truly loved this book. There were some unanswered questions… a few things that left me confused, but ultimately, this book made me FEEL and I’m sad it’s over.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine for the opportunity to read an advance copy! All opinions are my own.

In an Orchard Grown from Ash is a great successor to the first book—it picks up right where the first left off; we get to see Rhea and Lexos dealing with the consequences of their actions, and Chrysanthi dealing with how her siblings’ actions affect her.

However, it suffers from the first book’s same faults—namely that, despite having few real faults that I can pinpoint, something about it just isn’t memorable.

I really like Power’s writing style, and I think the world building and magic system are very cool even if also pretty confusing. In the first book, this confusion actually worked well with the plot, because it emphasized how sheltered the siblings really are. But now that they’re all out in the world and making their own ways, free from their father, it should’ve been cleared up more than it was.

Some of the characters like Falka were fleshed out nicely compared to the first book, and I loved the introduction of Ettore. Chrysanthi, as she was developed more, quickly became my favorite character and honestly the only one of the siblings I felt strongly towards.

The strongest point in this book is the relationships. While not all of them feel fully fleshed out, the ones done well were done really, really well. Chrysanthi’s romance plot was possibly my favorite part of the whole book, and the relationships between the siblings was both realistic and tragic. The themes of the ties binding them all together and how even when they hate each other and betray each other, they can’t help but love each other too—these were definitely highs.

The biggest thing I can point to that I really didn’t like is the pacing. I love a good political intrigue fantasy plot, but there weren’t really any high points in the plot? It’s more or less all the same level of urgency and tension. With this being the last book in the duology, this really just doesn’t work for me. There’s no big finale, and in fact the ending is both underwhelming and doesn’t make much sense. So few plots are wrapped up that I had to check if this had been turned into a trilogy.

Overall, I’m between 3 and 4 stars for this—4 because there really isn’t much wrong with this book, but 3 because there’s very little I’ll remember about this even a week from now.

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