Garden of Thorns

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Pub Date 06 Mar 2017 | Archive Date 19 Dec 2022


“A tense, fast-paced fantasy.” —Taylor Fenner, author of The Haunting Love

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chooses from the crowd isn't one of the emperor's men—not anymore. He's the former heir to the throne…and is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic. He’s the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. Assuming the hostage-taking is part of the emperor’s plot to crush the rebellion, he decides to take Rose as his hostage instead.

Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, so she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she'll tell him all the Garden's secrets. Well, almost all. Because there’s one secret she’s been keeping these seven years…and she’ll take it to the grave.

The Garden of Thorns series is best enjoyed in order:
Book #1 Garden of Thorns
Book #2 War of the Wilted
Book #3 Roots of Ruin

“A tense, fast-paced fantasy.” —Taylor Fenner, author of The Haunting Love

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an...

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ISBN 9781633758483
PRICE $0.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

For the past ten years, "Rose", now sixteen, has spent her life enslaved in a burlesque troupe called The Garden, forced to perform and known only by a name that is not hers. Only the cruel leader of The Garden, the Gardener, knows who she really is and holds it over her to keep her in line.

When Fern, the girl that she's grown up with, the wilted to her flower, is murdered right in front of her by the Gardener's right-hand man, Shears for conversing with a member of the rebellion Rose knows she has to escape.

But when the man she uses to escape during her performance turns out to be the young leader of the rebellion she trades one captor for another. Can Rose convince him that she's not an assassin sent to kill him? How will she be able to return to The Garden to free her still captured "sisters?"

As Rose finds herself aligning with the rebel Zareen, making friends with their members, and falling for Rayce, the rebellion's young leader who's mood runs hot and cold Rose will grow more involved in the cause and learn more about the fall of her homeland, Varsha - and about herself. But can she really trust Rayce and the rebellion? Or would they turn on her when they found out her identity too?

Garden of Thorns is a tense, fast-paced fantasy that incorporates unique ideas like a enslaved burlesque troupe and familiar themes like a lost, forgotten princess and a disgraced prince leading a rebellion to save a kingdom.

The book reminded me in ways of the Throne of Glass series, Rebel of the Sands, and in a strange way - Water for Elephants. Rose had a little bit of a "Caelena Sardothian" in her, but definitely a feistiness that was all her own.

I loved the supporting characters: Marin, Arlo, and Oren and felt they really fit with the rebellion. Rayce was a perfect rebellion leader and love interest for Rose and his hot and cold temperament showed his struggle between helping his people and giving in to what he wanted - Rose.

As for the world-building, oftentimes in Fantasy novels, I try to compare the kingdoms to countries of our world. Delmar reminded me of a fantasy version of China and Varsha maybe could be compared to Russia; especially with Rose, who would, in a way, be like Anastasia - the lost and presumed dead princess.

The only thing that annoyed me a bit was Rose's lack of trust toward Rayce and the Zareen toward the end of the book. I kept waiting for her to admit her secret to Rayce and yet she chose to run, again, which caused the unnecessary deaths of a lot of people - one in particular who had treated her with respect and like family. Hadn't the Zareen, by that point, proven that they looked out for her like she had been one of their own all along?

Overall, I really enjoyed Garden of Thorns and am eager to see if this is continued as a series, it has great potential for a continuation.

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This is a great debut for a new author she this idea of a something that echoes in our history and makes the wonderful magical fantasy story with echoes of other books in this genre that i thoroughly enjoyed.

Rose is a strong determined character that has been dealt the misfortune of being captured in the garden a traveling troupe of slave girls who are not treated in the best possible manner. She carries a deep dark secret and her unlikely hero is linked to that secret. The book moves along at a steady pace that will keep you turning the pages as we follow rose along in her attempt to escape the Gardner and rescue all those she holds deeps in her heart. Their where a few characters that i was very sad she was not able to rescue and the author leaves us dangling with just a hint that their more story to come but as of now just the one book.

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“Garden of Thorns” begins with a bang, as Rose is trapped in a cage as part of the Garden. The Garden is ruled by the Gardener who trains enslaved young girls to be “Flowers” in his entertainment show. The Flowers are each paired with a Wilted who they sleep with and who helps prepare them for performances. Anytime a Flower makes a mistake, the Wilted takes their punishment. Rose is the star of the Garden and eager to escape and save the rest of the Flowers. At the beginning of the book, she learns that her Wilted, Fern, has been accused of doing something terrible and watches, trapped, as she is “Clipped” (beheaded). Rose vows to escape and save the other Flowers.

Soon after, Rose makes her escape and lands promptly in the clutches of the Rebellion, led by the handsome and kind-hearted Rayce. As Rose gets to know the rebellion better, she begins to open her mind and her heart to new possibilities. In the meantime, we explore the politics and history of this interesting fantasy world.

One major theme of the book is Rose’s distrust of all men due to the fact that she was betrayed by one at 9 years of age and handed over to the Gardener (and then suffered at his hands). I found this a little hard to believe (despite people keeping their promises, helping her, etc., she could not seem to trust), especially to the pervasiveness at which it escalated and also considering the time before she was captured with her fond memories of her father, etc. Maybe it was meant to be a coping mechanism for her to lay blame elsewhere (e.g. on all men, rather than specific ones?). I also found the instant liking between Rose and Rayce to be a little too fast/predictable. I would have liked a slower lead up and burn for their attraction.

That being said, the book captured my attention from the start and I loved the beginning of the book- the idea of the Garden was fascinating and quite creative. I was excited to see it lead into some bigger picture ideas with government/rebellion. I devoured this book pretty quickly as it was tough to put down. Although it was supposedly written as a standalone, the ending felt pretty open (e.g. we see the sand, not the beach), so there is that to consider. It’s not clear if this would have sequels, but if it does, I would be happily first in line to check them out!

Overall, I found it to be enthralling and enjoyable- a fascinating addition to the YA fantasy genre. There are some mature themes which should be considered in terms of readership (e.g. battles, death, murder). Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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