A Half-Built Garden | ARC Review

Thank you to TorDotCom and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.

 Book: A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys
Release Date: July 26th 2022
Tags: Adult| Science-Fiction | Future Earth | Aliens | LGBTQ+ | F/F Relationships | M/M Relationships | Non-Binary
Trigger/Content Warnings: Graphic Sex Scene | Discussions about Gender


On a warm March night in 2083, Judy Wallach-Stevens wakes to a warning of unknown pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. She heads out to check what she expects to be a false alarm–and stumbles upon the first alien visitors to Earth. These aliens have crossed the galaxy to save humanity, convinced that the people of Earth must leave their ecologically-ravaged planet behind and join them among the stars. And if humanity doesn’t agree, they may need to be saved by force.

The watershed networks aren’t ready to give up on Earth. Decades ago, they rose up to exile the last corporations to a few artificial islands, escape the dominance of nation-states, and reorganize humanity around the hope of keeping their world liveable. By sharing the burden of decision-making, they’ve started to heal the wounded planet.

But now corporations, nation-states, and networks all vie to represent humanity to these powerful new beings, and if any one accepts the aliens’ offer, Earth may be lost. With everyone’s eyes turned skyward, everything hinges on the success of Judy’s effort to create understanding, both within and beyond her own species.

An alien contact human story was what drew me to this book to request to review. I got something a lot more and while I did not love it at all I think there is a lot for others to discover here.

I think the whole concept of this future Earth is rather interesting. Basically Earth has fallen ecosystem and corporalism wise. There are big watershed networks all over the planet that are working hard on trying to recover our eco system while making decisions as a whole without one person as the leader. The corporates were pushed away by them and they settled on what was previous new zeeland/austriala I believe.

The family dynamics are also very different. Couples take on children and form families with other couples so that there is more of a network for each other and the children. This can be romantic/sexual as well but doesn’t have to be. A lot is open about queer identity but even here there seems to still be a stigma on being trans.

As much as I liked exploring that part of this book I felt that we were thrown into this story without very little explanation. I was grasping at straws while we were also meeting the aliens and I am fairly certain I didn’t manage to catch all the great things about this set up. I think that was a shame. A bit more of a focus on the world building, like the explanation of the actual collapse and war with the corporations would have been nice.

Adding into that I am sorry to say is that I did not care for the element of romance in this. It wasn’t about it being three persons but about one of them being a headless spider having sex with an f/f couple wih its tentacles/paws/whatever. Like no, okay. I didn’t need it to be that graphic either.

9 thoughts on “A Half-Built Garden | ARC Review

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