In an Orchard Grown From Ash by Rory Powers: Beautiful but Feels Incomplete

The Argyros siblings have lost everything. With their father dead and their family home captured, they’re no longer the rulers of their fractured kingdom—and no longer bound to each other.

In the frozen north, Rhea struggles to wield her newly inherited command over death and to find her place in an increasingly distrustful rebel group. Chrysanthi travels to a distant, war-torn land in search of her elusive brother Nitsos, certain that he is there on a dangerous mission to restore the family to its former glory, this time with himself at its head. And Lexos, now stripped of all his power and a political prisoner of the Domina family, is left to rot in a hauntingly desolate palace with nothing but thoughts of revenge.

Alone and farther apart than they’ve ever been, the siblings must reckon with the pain of their past and find a new path forward—or risk their own destruction.

In an Orchard Grown from Ash is the dramatic finale of a darkly beautiful, atmospheric saga that explores the cost of power and the weight of legacy.

In this sequel to In a Garden Burning Bright, “In an Orchard Grown From Ash”, Rory Powers’ story as it weighs the cost of power is beautiful but feels incomplete. Part of the reason it feels that way to me is how rich and complex the novel is as it gives us Rhea’s and Chrysanthi’s voices, as they grapple with what their power means, the legacy that their father and mother have left them but also what to do with their own gifts, as those gifts shape them as they see the impact of their powers. 

I was left with so many unanswered questions about how Rhea’s gifts and the others actually work. The language used is beautiful and I fell in love with Chrystanthi and her voice. But I also wanted to hear more from Nitsos. There was potential to have more from him but we don’t get enough to even justify his presence in the book. Alexandros has far more presence in the novel but there were so many times I felt like there was unanswered potential to his interactions with secondary characters. Some of the choices that the characters make also don’t seem very wise or smart.  

For me, I loved the novel and I did feel like the ending was beautifully heartbreaking. The words are lush and the ideas complex, especially when exploring the cost of power and understanding the impact of choices, the legacy of family. The drama is winding and enthralling but I felt like there were opportunities to explore more, particularly with Nitsos and Alexandros. But I also feel like the story ended the way it was meant to do. Still, I can’t help thinking it is very beautiful but feels incomplete. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 marks. 


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