Thank you to Del Rey Books and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: In a Garden Burning Gold (Argyrosi 1) by Rory Powers
Release Date: April 5th 2022
Tags: Fantasy | Adult | Magic | Immortality | Gifts | Bisexual MC
Trigger/Content Warnings: Emotional Abuse | Physical Abuse | Death
Rhea and her twin brother, Lexos, have spent an eternity helping their father rule their small, unstable country, using their control over the seasons, tides, and stars to keep the people in line. For a hundred years, they’ve been each other’s only ally, defending each other and their younger siblings against their father’s increasingly unpredictable anger.
Now, with an independence movement gaining ground and their father’s rule weakening, the twins must take matters into their own hands to keep their family—and their entire world—from crashing down around them. But other nations are jockeying for power, ready to cross and double cross, and if Rhea and Lexos aren’t careful, they’ll end up facing each other across the battlefield.
In a Garden Burning Gold Rory Powers steps away from her thrillers to move into an adult fantasy which is quite a different ball game. This greek inspired fantasy unfortunately lacked a bit of punch.
We follow the twins Rhea and Lexos who have been helping out their father rule a country. The powers that came with the position has been given partially to them. Rhea has to marry a consort and kill it in one season so that the next season starts. Lexos has powers over the tides and stars. Their father has a touch of death though he doesn’t seem to have much control over that. In this story we follow Rhea struggle with who she is while Lexos wants to find those that threat his family.
The idea of In a Garden Burning Gold is interesting and I enjoyed most of the world building. There are a variety of countries who have a similar set up though I find it unclear what their exact powers are. And in that regard there is still a lot to be gained in the world building. I have a lot of questions about the exact gifts their family has and about the saints that are referred to a lot.
But even more that could have been gained were the relationships. Especially between our twins. They don’t talk. I’m not sure if there is even any actual fondness between them. You couldn’t tell by the interactions you’ve had. Considering they’ve lived for 100+ years you’d think they would have learned to communicate. But not just between them. There are two other siblings where there is no little real connection. I couldn’t really believe in this family.
There is a lot of thinking going on in the chapters of Rhea and Lexos but none of it was very exciting or thought provoking. None of it was truly reflective. There doesn’t seem to be much maturity in them or any of the side characters. Honestly I wanted the rebellion to kick their asses. So if you were asking if I liked any of them, not really. Mostly I just didn’t care. Neither of them can see what is right in front of them.
So mostly I was bored, especially with Lexos’ chapters. I was tempted to skip them all together. I wouldn’t have missed much for most of the book. Not until the end did the ball start really moving in the plot sense.
All in all I am not taken with this book and I am not sure if I would want to read on in this series.