Review: Garden of Thorns

by - 8:00 AM

30118749Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

| ISBN: 9781633758483 | Pages: 364 |
Publication Date: March 6, 2017 | Source: Entangled Publishing
| Rating: 4 out of 5 stars |

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. 
Before we get started, let's wish a big happy release day to Garden of Thorns! If you're interested in picking up a copy after reading the review, just click on the cover and it'll take you to the Amazon page for purchase (not sponsored btw.)

Garden of Thorns intrigued from the beginning with its stunning yet simple cover and alluring synopsis. When I was granted an ARC for review, the publicist said that so many people requested it that they had a hard time narrowing the list down. This is one of those books that lures you in, holds you captivated throughout the story, and then drops a bomb at the end. 

From the very beginning, there's this mystical aura that surrounds our main character Rose. She's the star Flower of her troupe called the Garden, made up of slave girls who are forced to entertain in a land where entertainment has been banned. If the girls do not obey the Master's demands, he'll punish their Wilted, companions whose sole purpose is to take beatings for the Flowers. This entire concept was so intriguing to me and the relationship that Rose has with her Wilted, Fern, just further emphasizes that bond. If Rose disobeys, she'll be punished emotionally by watching Fern take her beatings.

When the Garden makes its way to the capital to entertain the emperor, Rose finds herself running away from captivity but instead of using one of the emperor's guards, she ends up choosing the ex-heir Rayce. From that fateful meeting onward, there's no slow moment as Rose is constantly trying to go back to safe her Flower sisters while Rayce is trying to lead a rebellion to overthrow his uncle. 

I'm pretty sure I read this entire novel in about three hours and I definitely sacrificed some piano practice time to finish it, but every single moment was worth it. From the beginning to the end, Rose just grows up so much and learns to trust and build new relationships that strengthen her as a character. I loved her relationship with Rayce and while sometimes she did act a bit irrationally which led to certain consequences, they help teach the other what it means to trust and love someone. 

Garden of Thorns is just such a fascinating story that it's hard to describe clearly what I felt when reading. There's so much action from Rose escaping the Garden to Rayce and his rebellion trying to rescue the Flowers that you don't get a second to take a breath before something else happens. As secrets start to be revealed, the plot just grabs you and holds you utterly captive to the story. I hope there's a follow up because there were some points left unresolved and mostly because I want more from the characters and this world.

Copy provided by Entangled Publishing. All opinions are 100% my own.

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