Title: In a Garden Burning Gold (The Wind-Up Garden #1)
Author: Rory Power
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Rhea and Lexos were born into a family unlike any other. Together with their siblings, they control the seasons, the tides, and the stars, and help their father rule their kingdom. Thanks to their magic, the family has ruled for an eternity, and plan to rule for an eternity more.
But Rhea and Lexos are special: They are twins, bonded down to the bone, and for the past hundred years, that bond has protected them as their father becomes an unpredictable tyrant—and his worsening temper threatens the family’s grip on power.
Now, with rival nations ready to attack, and a rebel movement within their own borders, Rhea and Lexos must fight to keep the kingdom—and the family—together, even as treachery, deceit, and drama threaten to strand the twins on opposite sides of the battlefield.
In a Garden Burning Gold is a vividly written, atmospheric saga that explores the limits of power and the bonds of family—and how far both can be bent before they break.
Why This Book
In a Garden Burning Gold follows twins Rhea and Lexos as they deal with trying to protect their family and their family’s powers, but their younger brother and sister are just as important as the rest of the duology plays out. I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, but I did like the garden, which we don’t really get to see until the end. There is also a front garden Rhea walks through as she returns to her family home after spending the season away at the beginning of the book with her latest late consort. I love that it was colorful and clearly touched by her sister’s magic. But it’s the garden at the end that really fascinated me. Belonging to the younger brother, who is clearly itching for more of a life, it’s full of clockwork creatures, and will end up holding a few secrets as this book draws to an end.
My review: “In a Garden Burning Gold is an interesting Greek-inspired fantasy, but it missed the mark a bit for me. The main characters tended to grate on me, though the secondary characters were quite amusing and a lot of fun. The story felt a little thin and simplistic as well, though I loved how much trouble Lexos and Rhea made for themselves. If they hadn’t been so self-absorbed and focused on their father, I think they might have been more palatable to me. Fortunately, their younger siblings saved quite a bit of the story for me, and absolutely made the ending something to enjoy”
Romantic Parvenu gave this 2 stars, saying “So many times while reading In a Garden Burning Gold, I caught glimpses of brilliance, but Power consistently struggles to fully delve into her characters and the deeper layers of meaning beneath mechanical plot movement. The end result is a fantasy novel that has more “coulda been great” vibes than any actually rewarding elements.”
The BiblioSanctum gave this 4 stars, saying “I also find the author’s writing style very appealing. She has a way with words and a talent for bringing even the most abstract concepts to life. While the world-building itself isn’t as well-defined as it could be in this book, Power’s prose is solid and so some of the vagueness behind the magic systems can be forgiven because she makes up for it with the sheer originality and mystique behind her ideas”
Girl Who Reads said “This book starts out slowly and picks up the pace about halfway through. It might be a consequence of all the world-building, as it’s a fantasy location and isn’t as grounded in our real world as her other books. As the first part of a duology, this certainly must do a lot of heavy lifting in the world-building department. We reach a conclusion at the end, and it’s an unsettling one”
Reading For Sanity gave this 2.5 stars, saying “There was just so much writing and book without anything interesting or any necessary story happening. It seemed to have chapters and chapters of not much happening, with very little character development. I’m not sure what was going on with all that, actually. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to read a YA fantasy book transformed into an adult fiction book, this is your book to try.”
The Quaint Book Nook said “The whole thing really had the feel of a Greek tragedy, especially from about the midway point. It was full of family drama, secret plots, unforeseen twists, and terrible betrayals. There was a moment when one of the twists made me put down the book and not want to deal with the consequences, but in the end I had to know how things would play out, and I ended up reading the whole thing in a day”
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | Powell’s | Target | Walmart | Waterstones (UK) | Booktopia (Australia) | Books-A-Million | Flipkart (India) | !ndigo (Canada) | Kobo | Audible | Google Books | Apple Books | Thrift Books | Abe Books | Audiobooks | Dymocks (Australia) | Blackwell’s (UK) | Libro.fm | Pen & Honey Bookstore | Little Professor Bookshop | Novel Bay Booksellers
Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.
This blog is my home base, but you can also find me on:
One thought on “Book Highlight: In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power”