Title: Garden of Thorns
Author: Amber Mitchell
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, 2017 (March 6)
Genre: YA Fantasy
**I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review**
Let me start with the fact that I’ve been on a streak lately and I’ve been reading a ton of great books! So I have been extremely fortunate and I think it’s because I’m choosing a lot of books that sound like something I would enjoy. I hope that keeps going!
Here is the copy I’ve been reading on my Kindle:
But you can judge that for yourselves…
Rose has a secret.
It has nothing to do with the fact that she is a Flower in the Garden, a sleazy illegal show featuring girls all captured and used in some way. Rose’s best friend Fern is what’s called a Wilted: anytime the “Flower” Rose screws up in her dance routine or in her behavior, the “Gardener,” or head of the show, takes it out on Fern. Each Wilted’s body is covered in scars, reminders of their Flower’s mistakes.
Rose has been in the Garden for many years, but she is always worried her secret will be discovered and she will be used by someone worse than the Gardener, the only person who knows her secret (and promises not to tell as long as she stays in the Garden).
One day, a major mistake costs Fern her life, and Rose knows what she must do: she must free all the Flowers and Wilteds; she must free her other sisters in slavery. When she chooses the right time, and picks a random stranger during the show to take hostage, she makes a major mistake…
She happened to pick the most wanted man as her hostage.
Now Rose’s secret is in danger of being discovered….but she has no choice. The “hostage,” the notorious nephew of the Emperor, has decided that picking him out of a masked crowd means she could be an assassin. Rayce cannot make the mistake of letting Rose go. But Rose needs to free her sisters and she needs to keep her secret safe.
But the longer she’s away from the Garden, the more the walls she has built up all her life start to crumble around her.
Who is Rayce, this mysterious nephew with the jagged scar across his cheek, the man who runs a rebellion full of people willing to die to change their way of life? Is he someone Rose can trust? Or, if he discovers Rose’s secret, will he tell the Emperor in exchange for what he wants…peace for his people?
Who can Rose trust?
Can she trust anyone?
Definitely. I love the concepts in this book…there’s so much to discuss. For one, the culture of Delmar and Zareen. Delmarians live in the nice city surrounding the Emperor. There are temples to different goddesses, and the decor is reminiscent of (perhaps) an Asian influence. Rayce is called the “shogun,” and the names of the people and the decor of the city mix elements of sandy deserts and Japanese gardens. You could ask students if they see any examples of cultures and have them describe how they picture Delmar and Zareen.
Zareen has the ability to create light with the rocks around them. Is this a chemical reaction? What could cause such a reaction in the land around them? I had so many questions and I could see more coming from sequels that could quench my curiosity. Though the book is currently a standalone, I think it NEEDS a sequel.
Main point: lots of areas to discuss: sex trafficking in the case of the Garden, Rose’s trust issues toward men, and the dynamics of the different societies of Delmar and Zareen. This is a book that could be discussed at length.
Now, once again when it comes to small published books, there are no Lexile scores available for Garden of Thorns. I will have to do my best and use my judgement here, and I encourage y’all to use your own as well. There are no inappropriate scenes despite what the Garden represents, and there isn’t any swearing. However, there are some violent scenes. I would say 13 and up to be on the safe side…you all know by now that I always err on the side of caution! But I actually feel comfortable giving this one to my niece to read, and I think she would like it. I don’t have a physical copy, but if I did, I would be more than happy to lend it out.
I liked this a lot. I was on the fence with four and five stars…and the only real reason I went with what I went with is because:
- There are no half-stars and
- There needs to be a sequel to explain some things I still have questions about
So, I give Garden of Thorns ★★★★☆. Or in other, Stephanie-rating-land words…
What are YOU reading, my little bloggerinos?