Review: Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

Published: March 6th 2017 by Entangled Teen
 Rating: 4 out of 5


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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.

Garden of Thorns is a really sweet novel with a backdrop of absolute horror. In a world where a travelling group of young girl dancers have to perform, the Flowers, to their other halves that have to take their punishment, the Wilteds, to Shears, the bloodhungry side-kick to the Gardener, a man who rules by fear. The imaginary world that flows with metaphors and colours is a haunting memory of times gone by. If you love the oriental-ness of Crouching Tiger crossed with Memoirs of a Geisha then you'll love this book.
The star of the show is Rose. She's been brought up in the Garden since she was nine. Her life consists of her best Wilted friend, Fern, travelling in the back of a horrendous cart from town to town to perform. They're never allowed near the Imperial city because their kind of show is outlawed. But an invitation arrives to perform in front of the Emperor. But just as the girls get through the gates Fern begs Rose to run. She tells her, in no uncertain terms, that Rose's past is the key to bringing down the Garden. A rebellion has started, by the Emperor's nephew, Rayce. Rose must escape. Fern is killed in front of Rose. She's horrified and vows that the Gardener, Shears and all the staff will pay. Rose will bring it all crashing down and free all the Flowers.
When Rose performs that night she unwittingly comes down into the audience and puts a knife to the throat of a guard. She can't tell who he is because everyone wears masks. They get out the tent and her hostage is revealed. Rayce, the leader of the rebellion ends up rescuing Rose and taking her (eventually) back to their base where Rose becomes aware of the full extent of the rebellion.
They must race against the Gardenenr and the Emporer to achieve their goals. An end to the cruel Garden and the downfall of the Emporer.
Garden of Thorns was very thought provoking, fresh and an enjoyable read. The writing was clever, and the oriental charm of the outfits, the food to the weird green Zarenite created a perfect picture blend. There are some usual clich├ęs used but I've always loved stories about lost princesses, especially with the twist used in this one.

My only problem was the story wasn't finished. One of the key evil baddies got away, so I wonder whether there will be a follow on. I hope so!



About the Author
Amber Mitchell graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Creative Writing. She likes crazy hair styles, reading, D&D, k-dramas, good puns and great food.

When she isn’t putting words on paper, she is using cardstock to craft 3D artwork or exploring new places with her husband Brian. They live a small town in Florida with their four cats where she is still waiting for a madman in a blue box to show up on her doorstep.

You can find Amber Mitchell here:

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