Cover Image: In an Orchard Grown from Ash

In an Orchard Grown from Ash

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In an Orchard Grown From Ash returns to the tangled world of the Argyros family. Twins Rhea and Lexos are torn apart after inherited power does manifest as expected and a betrayal occurs. The youngest brother Nitsos has an unexpected depth to his power and seeks strong allies. Chrysanthi will do anything for her siblings- but how much will her siblings ask of her? All four siblings will reckon with the price of their magic and must choose whether the cost is worth it.

I enjoyed this sequel to In a Garden Burning Gold. This book took on a darker tone, with more tragedy woven into the plot. The Argyros siblings and the dynamics between them are fascinating. Chrysanthi and her journey was my favorite, as she was such a loyal sister who was also able to see the cracks in the foundation. Chrysanthi and her companion’s journey was one of my favorite threads to follow in this book.

Rory Power makes it clear that magic always comes with a price and the characters must make difficult choices as the true cost and origin of their gifts are revealed. The new characters were gripping and insidious, especially Falka and Ettore. The world-building is intricate and stunning, such as the unusual library where they go to seek more information. I loved the creativity of the siblings' gifts, particularly Lexos’ gift of arranging the stars in the night sky.

I would recommend this duology to anyone who enjoys vivid world-building, complex sibling stories, and cinematic dark high fantasy. This would be perfect for readers who enjoy Tara Sim (The City of Dusk), M.A. Carrick (The Mask of Mirrors), and Game of Thrones.

Thank you so much to Rory Power, Del Rey, and Netgalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

For publisher: My review will be posted on Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, Storygraph, and Barnes & Noble etc

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Thanks to Del Rey Books and Netgalley for the ARC.

I remember after finishing In A Garden Burning Gold how much I was looking forward to the conclusion. I very much enjoyed the premise, politics, magic and characters in that story. After reading this, the only word that keeps repeating in my head is "unsatisfying". I was certainly expecting more machinations, betrayals and all the backstory of the saints, which was mentioned so often in this story.
The strongest arc in the story is Chrysanthi's and I liked her growth and the developing relationship with Andrija. Unfortunately I can't say that about the other siblings stories. What seemed ripe for political conflict just ended up with Lexos and Rhea wandering around and not accomplishing anything. Nitsos finished the prior book as the man behind the curtain manipulating everything and then he's basically invisible here. And the end of his arc......still baffles me honestly. I still keep thinking about all I would have loved to read here.

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I received a digital advance copy of In an Orchard Grown from Ash by Rory Power via NetGalley. In an Orchard Grown from Ash is scheduled for release on May 2, 2023.

In an Orchard Grown from Ash is the conclusion to the duology following the Argyros families. The first novel left the four mythical siblings scattered and at odds with each other. In this conclusion we follow the aftermath of the events of the first novel as some siblings work to reconcile with their family, some work to take all the power for themselves, and some work to find a path forward that is free from their past.

While I enjoyed the first novel, I did find the rubbing against known Greek mythology while not quite matching difficult to reconcile. In this conclusion, we were much further from Greek myth which made it easier for this story to stand on its own. I did, however, find other challenges in this novel.

The biggest challenge for me was my lack of connection to the characters. In this novel, we follow all four siblings, with chapters alternating between their points of view. While this did allow me to see the story from all sides, I found that it did not give me enough time with any of the siblings to really connect with their stories. I also found the choices made by the characters (particularly in the last quarter of the novel) sometimes came out of nowhere, rather than being connected to what had been established for the character and their wants and needs.

While I will not name names, there are many deaths in this novel. The switching from narrator to narrator kept me from feeling the impact of these deaths in the way I think I should. Several times a death occurred, following by an immediate change in narrator that moved us to a different physical location and set of events. There was no space for the characters (or the reader) to absorb the death, which gave a feeling of the death not mattering to the characters, the story or the world. In the end, the stories of the individual characters were resolved, but I was left wondering how this pair of stories changed things moving forward for this story world.

Overall, In an Orchard Grown from Ash wrapped up the arcs started in the first book, but left me unsure about the intended impact of the books’ events.

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I don’t think I enjoyed this as much as the first one, the pacing felt a bit off throughout the middle, it was a little too slow for me, but I love this world and the characters

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After the thrilling tale of the first book I had high hopes for the second installment of the burning kingdom trilogy. Unfortunately several things fell flat for me.

I normally don't mind a slow pace as long as it's building up to a big crescendo. But this was all slow with no payoff. Several characters arcs felt extremely unfinished. What happens with all the political backstabbing between world leaders? Unresolved. Is Nistos dead or what? No idea they never confirm. If he did die, then all the backstabbing of his siblings was literally for what? It accomplished nothing. Just so many questions and no resolutions.

The ending was very anticlimactic. Basically just depressing and morose with no real wrap up. The second book just wasn't for me unfortunately.

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Just as beautiful as the first in the series, actively adding to the truly fantastic world building. Now that the siblings are on their own, trying to find their own way, they each are confronted with their limitations and dreams very closely. Heartbreaking and warm at the same time. This is a beautiful way to round out the duology. That said, I hope Power keeps writing in this world. I want to explore it forever.

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Their home set aflame and each scattered across the nations, the Argyros siblings have become broken in the upheaval of rebellion. As Rhea attempts to collect some semblance of power from the Stratagiozi and Chrysanthi, Lexos finds himself on his own for the first time in his life with Nitsos in the spotlight. How will the tides of fate move them?

This duology conclusion did not go in the direction I expected, but I was hooked every page. The already dark tone amplified, so be prepared because Powers offers no mercy to readers or her characters, but I don't think her world would have felt as real without the ruthlessness. Four stars because it really hurt, though... That said, I loved seeing POVs from Nitsos and especially Chrysanthi - she carried this book! And I just want it on record that I will burn everything to the ground for Andrija!!

Content Warnings: language, gore, domestic abuse, references to verbal abuse, references to emotional abuse, violence

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It's not every day that I read a book and am partially convinced that maybe I just might not be intelligent enough to understand what was happening. I like to think that my reading comprehsion skills are pretty well exercised, that I've been putting them skills I learned to ace my elementary school AR test to good use over the past few years...

But then I read this series and I just... Words fail?

I'm even more embarrassed but the girls were not fucking with this foray into adult fantasy by Rory Power, they were decrying it as one of the more lackluster fantasies of last year, and while I didn't rank it among some of the best fantasy I've ever read I did think that it was solid.

My lack of comprehension doesn't stem from me thinking that this book is necessarily bad... Just that I am struggling to understand the lens that the book is best viewed through. All fantasy is commentary to some extent, so you'll definitely get bits of that in this series. But I don't think that was the primary motivation. It's not exactly just vibes either, at least not in the introductory volume in the duology, the vibes definitely attempt to wrestle control here in the conclusion. Just pure enjoyment though seems to be the last thing that the series was gunning for.

As a story, this at least makes sense. I might have thought that this second book might be a little more explosive given how the last one seemed to be tripping over itself to get to the third act climax, and then this book is pretty even-keeled for the entirety of the time we spend in the story. Parts of that are definitely more annoying than others, and ultimately the book just sort of ends? Sort of memorably, but definitely not in the manner I would have expected going in? It might be the kind of story reads better on reread, when the destination is known and the journey there can be savored a little more. I'm not sure... I just know that this was a thing that I read and other than Rory Power I'm not quite certain who the audience is meant to be? At least at this time.

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Well, that was a downer. Power is a strong storyteller, but she took her story to a much darker and more gruesome place than I expected or wanted. If dark and gruesome is her thing, that's fine; it just isn't my thing.

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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This book wasn't anything like I thought it was going to be. To be fair, I did pick it up without having read the first book and knowing absolutely nothing aside from the fact that the covers are SO PRETTY. 900 pages later (between the two books obviously), I now can have an opinion!!

A Garden Burning Gold had a bit of a slower start and all of the action crescendoed in the last 15% of the book, so I was hoping that since we had gotten the world building out of the way, this book would dive into the action and plot of the story.. In an Orchard Grown from Ash we pick up where the Argyrosi siblings left off, now pretty much separated, and trying trying to survive the residual effects of their family aggressively imploding on itself.

One selling point of the story is Rory Power's writing style. Would reccomend if you like tragic events that are prettily written. The characters in this story are raw and they kind of struggle to develop even when they express a desire to, they think and do inconsiderate things, they can be unlikeable and selfish and respond to trauma in negative ways. I actually enjoy this. I know its fantasy but I sort of hate when everyone gets a redemption arc. My major complaint was that considering the amount of time spent with nothing happening throughout this book (both books actually), I felt like I should have a better understanding of the magic system, the history. I think we could have dove deeper. IF she wanted to pace the book that way and limit the action scenes, something else was needed to grab attention and keep people turning pages..

If you liked the first book, I think you'll probably like this one too as long as you go in with the expectation that most of the political scheming from the first book doesn't really carry over.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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This is one of those books that does 70% of build up for anything to start. I wished that the action etc. would have been weaved throughout the story instead of right towards the end. I did enjoy that the author expanded the world but other than that I was pretty bored most of the time.

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Recommended for readers who enjoyed the Wicked Saints, or Three Dark Crowns (both YA fantasy books full of political intrigue), and maybe even see this as a very light version of Game of Thrones. In this next installment of the Argyrosi duology, we have the final installment to a detail-filled political fantasy family saga. Cover of this book and Argyrosi #1 is a five out of five stars. It would’ve been a beautiful selection for “stenciled edge book” that are very hot and trending right now with book box subscriptions, Waterstones booksellers, etc. This story overall was a three of five stars for me but will be popular with YA readers who love Greek fantasy mixed magic and political intrigue. Character development specifically is a three out of five stars. For a final installment, the four POV’s needed to have more decisive development that rounded out each character, as this is an essential element in stories to connect the reader to the book. I didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I wanted to but I did appreciate the extra POV’s that this installment provided, four POV’s instead of mainly two. Plot development was medium paced in about 70% of the book and slow paced in 30%. There are many readers eager for this genre and it should have a loyal following once the final book is published. Thank you to the publisher via NetGalley for this arc. I read this voluntarily and all opinions are my own. This review will be posted as per the publisher’s recommendations.

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In this sequel to "In a Garden Burning Gold," we now follow the perspectives of Chrysanthi and Nitsos in addition to Rhea and Lexos. Each sibling has had their world turned upside down: Rhea with new power and demands as a saint and symbol to the Sxoriza, Lexos as a political prisoner, Nitsos as he seeks the grave of the saints, and Chrysanthi as all her comforts of her home and family are stripped away. We travel with the siblings across cities and continents to seek the answers about their mother, their powers, and how to mend their family after their father's murder. This epic conclusion to the story of the Argyrosi challenges the characters you thought your knew and their motivations.
The plot moves quickly and the stories of the siblings intertwine, though not in the ways you might expect. So much political intrigue follows the deposed family of Stratahoma that it will be impossible to predict their next moves.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this advanced copy. This book was different from the first in that the book was from the perspective of all the Argyrosi siblings not just the elder twins like the first one. This book also introduced a lot of new things in the world building but didn't give straight answers on them, which left me wondering, is this going to be more than a duology. I was not expecting the ending, that completely took me by surprise. It's a good read and glad it picks up almost right after the first one, but for this book to be the end of a duology, it didn't quite feel like a conclusion and left me with more questions.

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I picked up the first book in this duology (“In a Garden Burning Gold”) because of its beautiful cover, but the story itself was even more amazing. This second installment is stunning in both its cover and contents.

“In An Orchard Grown from Ash” picks up where its predecessor left off, with the four Argyros siblings far from their childhood home of Stratathoma. Rhea and Chrysanthi are encamped with Rhea’s back-from-the-dead husband Michali and the Sxoriza rebel group; Lexos is imprisoned under the Domina family rule, and Nitsos is off on an errand for another Stratagiozi family. Battle lines are being drawn, and which side each sibling will end up on is as yet undetermined.

Rhea finds her power is failing her, Lexos falls in with a powerful ally (or is he a foe?), Nitsos searches for a way to prove himself, and Chrysanthi explores the world around her after a childhood spent sequestered in the family home. The siblings' paths will cross as they follow their individual endeavors, but the intent behind their adventures will have them at odds.

I really enjoy the world this author has created. You definitely have to read the first book to both understand what is happening in the second book and to appreciate the relationships between the characters. While each of the Argyros children seek to distinguish themselves as individuals, they discover how inextricably tied to each other they are. I felt like I wanted a little bit more to be resolved in this book – a reunion of all the siblings, more background on how Luco Domina was imprisoned, a “winner” amongst the warring factions, whether those in servitude to the library ever escape, etc. While I felt like more could be explored, I greatly enjoyed what was written and would recommend the Argyros duology to any fantasy reader.

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Rhea, Lexos, Chrysanthi and Nitsos continue their journeys, not as one united family, but as divided factions taking sides after the death of their Baba throws the power in the lands out of balance. Sibling against sibling, each one trying to find a way to preserve and enhance their own powers without having to sacrifice anything but each other. Who can they trust? Certainly not each other! As each of the siblings forges a new path, the reader gets a hummingbird's eye view of the action, following each character as well as seeing the overarching picture of each one's quest. Why the sudden interest in the old saints and does anyone outside of Rhea and Chrysanthi know the secret of their mother's sainthood? What power will those old bones lend to their finder? Who will find them first and what message could their mother give them from her grave? In a world where only the strongest and most cunning survive, the ending will certainly surprise readers. Sequel to "In a Garden Burning Gold."

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Thank you to Del Rey and Netgalley for the ARC!!

After speed reading "A Garden Burning Gold" (book one), I was more excited to read this book, "In an Orchard Grown from Ash". Book one was primarily political intrigue, with an underlying tone towards familial manipulation. This book was more fascinating because there was finally a juxtaposition to Lexos and Rhea's mental instability. Chrysanthi's character was by far the redeeming trait of this book.

"In an Orchard Grown from Ash", Rhea and Lexos are not particularly lovable characters. Their twin bond seems to be a disadvantage as they often spiral into selfish and illogical situations. Despite the absence of their Baba, he is still controlling their every influence. Book two provided a way to redeem the story by incorporating another layer to the siblings journey. The romance between Michali and Rhea felt a bit forced and was so sudden, it lacked the foundational interactions to make the reader empathic to them. Chrysanthi and Andrija's love story gave that to us! There was an interesting dynamic where several important characters from book one suddenly became foils and then a new set of characters were given the chance for further development.

Overall it was a more enjoyable read and will be a hit with fans from book one.

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The follow-up to the gorgeous IN A GARDEN BURNING GOLD, this book picks up where the first one ended.

The siblings have betrayed their father and each other. Leaving them scattered around the kingdom. What they want is their power back. Politically that is all that matters.

Rhea is trying to gain control over her power to command death among people who don’t really trust her.

Chrysanthi is in faraway land that has been scorched by war searching for her brother, Nitsos, who she is sure is up to no good

Lexos has no power and is now in the hands of the Domina family and has no clue what his siblings are up to.

Can they find one another and heal the past to rule the future? This dark fantasy is so many things and I am there for them all.

And, we have to talk about the gorgeous cover art this author has. Every book is a work of art and adds to the fantasy feel.

NetGalley/May 2, 2023, Random House

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Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for this e-ARC.

This is a sequel to In a Garden Burning Gold and it took me a long time to remember the plot of the first book. Once I got into the themes and remember the main plot of the first book I was excited to delve into this book and follow our favorite wayward siblings. However, I found this book to be lackluster and ending with more questions than answers.

As we follow Lexos, Rhea, Niktos, and Chrysanthi you'd think there would be answers to questions raised in the first book, but it's mostly just the siblings wandering around being assholes. Except Chrysanthi, who is a precious cinnamon roll who has done nothing wrong. The story ends with almost no conclusion and a new big bad. I was kind of surprised that there wasn't going to be a third book. I don't know the story just fell flat for me.

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Wowowow. After my absolute love of In A Garden I cannot believe I’m saying this, but this may be one of my least favorite books of all time.
I do wonder if the level of my disappointment has a direct correlation with my love of the first one and my year-long anticipation for this conclusion. I even reread In a Garden immediately before diving into this so I could reacquaint myself with the world and all the political maneuvering taking place.
So how was this book a disappointment? Oh, let me count the ways…
To start, it felt like everything I loved in the first book was non existent in this one. The magic system was not really further explained. Past world events weren’t clear, and character motivations made absolutely no sense. Certain characters who I thought would come into larger focus in book two completely fell off the page and had no role whatsoever (here’s looking at you Stavra. And Zita. And Tarro. And basically anyone who wasn’t an Argyros child….). And finally, and pehaprs most notably, there was no political intricacy in this book whatsoever. Not between the children, not between the Stratagiozi, not even explained in the past! Anything going on with the broader fantasy world happened completely off page and so far out of sight that it literally had no impact on the plot or our characters.
After In A Garden I was excited to see more of the siblings and how the roles they had slotted themselves into would impact them moving forward- ultimately to whatever conclusion lay ahead. And while I was excited to learn that all four Argyros children would have a POV in this book, my excitement turned to sheer apathy at about the 20% mark. While each sibling was set onto their own path, they were all doing the same thing. Like, the exact same thing. So each chapter read felt like nothing was gained for the reader. And this made the book feel like it didn’t MOVE. It takes a lot to put me into a reading slump, but this one managed within the first 40ish pages and never let up, even to the very last page.
As I mentioned, nothing was really happening for the characters. Sure, some of them were moving from place to place, but they weren’t doing anything and as the reader I felt no urgency in their movements or the potential implications of them moving around them map. With regards to the characters themselves, they almost didn’t even feel like the same set of siblings from book one. So here’s my little angry thoughts on each:
Nitsos’ chapters were absolutely pointless. What was to be gained from them? What was expressed to the reader in his chapters that we weren’t already getting from the other siblings? His fate was so stupid, and his abilities weren’t used in the slightest. I wanted backstory on how he came to his semi-power position, but we never even saw him have a single meaningful interaction, not with a sibling, or anyone else either.
It felt like Lexos had no agency whatsoever. What was his plan? To just keep clinging to coattails in the hopes of an opportunity presenting itself? That says some interesting things about power and how it is attained and kept close, but after the first book where every move he made was calculated, and self-lead In an Orchard felt like a completely different Lexos altogether, most importantly one I couldn’t root for at all because he wasn’t doing anything…at all. He felt stupid in this book, like he couldn’t put the pieces together, while in book one he was thinking three steps ahead.
Rhea made no sense either. I hated Michali and Rhea’s interactions. Every single one. Michali quite literally was not a character in this book, which I understand from a theming perspective, but honestly I just couldn’t deal with it. If she hated him so much, I don’t know- kill him again? SPEAK to the poor guy? And while her gifts (new and old) should have been interesting in this book, she didn’t do anything with hers either. She just wandered around, slowly crumbling, uselessly trying to lash out at her siblings. Like, okay if that’s what you want I guess?
Chrystanthi felt the most whole in this book. She definitely shines the brightest, but still in retrospect she had the most chapters, but someone please explain to me what did she actually DO the whole book? Up until the last 2 or 3 of her chapters she’s also just wandering around.
Plotwise I’m fine with a grim ending, but if you’re going to give me a sad conclusion it still needs to feel satisfying. But thinking back on the nearly 500 pages of this book- what was accomplished? Why did it matter? Again, I get that’s probably a commentary on the nature of power itself but that doesn’t make it any better.
I’m curious to see how this book is received by readers who loved the first installment. For me, there was just nothing to latch onto or get excited about. The siblings barely interacted during the entire book. And no, that’s not an exaggeration. There were maybe 5 chapters where two of the siblings were even together on page?? And when they weren’t together I didn’t really feel any connection between them.
I can usually structure my thoughts with what worked or didn’t work for me in a book, but this one absolutely nothing about it worked for me. I have so much more to say, but I’m not sure it’s even worth saying to be honest. This book deserves no love from me, and as soon as my visceral rage starts to fade I hope promptly to put this book out of my mind and never think about it ever again.

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