GARDEN OF THORNS BY AMBER MITCHELL
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Entangled Teen in return for an honest review
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
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 chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.
Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.
Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.
*I would like to thank Entangled Teen for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*
From the very beginning this book dives right in and takes off with thrilling intensity. The concept of the Garden and all that these captured girls go through in this traveling burlesque troupe was so captivating and made me want to continue from the very start. There are secrets, intrigue and kingdoms at war.
I thought Mitchell did a wonderful job with the opening of the book. I was so drawn in from the first page. She was able to maintain my attention and keep me on the edge of my seat until the end, although I did think it faltered a little in the middle. The character development of the main character Rose was so well executed. She had issues and unlike so many YA novels she actually had to work through her issues and face her own demons which was refreshing. I find that in so many novels the issues are presented and then quickly are dissolved. Rose was a strong female heroine and definitely makes the whole female independence a strong motto.
The other characters were really well developed and so well described that I could picture them perfectly. The thing with such great character development is I feel like Mitchell fell a little short on the world building. There was so much room for great world development being a fantasy novel and even more about the Garden. I was really intrigued by the concept of the Garden and wanted more from it.
I had just a few other issues with this book and without giving too much away, I thought the romance at times was too much. I really liked the way it ended but at the beginning it came on too strong and didn’t follow Roses beliefs but Mitchell managed to straighten it out and actually make me really happy that it was in the story and added a great component. The last problem I found was with how quickly they threw Rose out on missions and how she was trusted with little to no training.
Overall, I found this story to be very unique and nothing I have read before. It did not shy away from the gruesome details and wasn’t afraid to not let a strong female overcome obstacles and shine. Garden of Thorns was a fast read and kept me on the edge of my seat, never knowing what was going to happen the whole time. It made me experience a wide range of emotions and actually had an ending I cannot complain about. I really recommend YA fantasy readers who enjoy strong female leads and times of war and unrest to pick this book up!
You might also like:
♣ The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
♣ Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
♣ Alanna by Tamora Pierce