Book Review: The Gardener Kings by Monica Boothe

About the Book:

Title: The Gardener Kings

Author: Monica Boothe

Series: The Gardener Kings

Page Length: 317

Publication Date: Jan. 3, 2022

Publisher: Peniel Press

Synopsis: All her life she’s lived in exile, hiding from the traitor who usurped her father’s throne. But now she must return to the very kingdom she’s always feared.

Iníon is the daughter of the last Gardener King, or so she thought. When the king reveals to her that she is not his blood daughter but that he found her in a tree the night that he fled Gàrradh, she begins to wonder what other secrets he’s been hiding.

She falls for Rían, the king’s wild son with Gardener blood in his veins who not only lives in the trees but speaks to them. But Rían is forbidden to marry any woman without kings’ blood.

Together Rían and Iníon concoct a plan to return to Gàrradh and solve the mystery of Iníon’s birth. But what they find when they arrive in the land of their birth turns everything upside down. After what she’s learned about the Gardener Kings, will Iníon still want to be a part of this family?

This young adult fantasy novel inspired by Celtic myth and fairylore is the first in The Gardener Kings trilogy.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

A unique coming-of-age fantasy, The Gardener Kings is the first book in the series of the same name. The author’s writing, strong imagery, compelling characters, and a unique plot filled with secrets, lies, and betrayal make for an immersive read. The story is very atmospheric, and I love how nature is personified throughout the novel, making it almost a character in itself. Rían has a special connection to nature, much like his father and other ancestors, which is a really interesting element of the story. I was so fascinated by his abilities and the different ways in which he used them. It is an important aspect of the story, and, at times, it felt as if nature could actually communicate with some of the characters. I’m curious to see how this affects the characters and plot as the series continues.

The author created a unique world of magic and mystery, and I like the many twists and turns in the story. I also like how the plot increases in intensity as it progresses. Iníon and Rían’s journey takes them to unknown places rife with danger, adventure, mystery, and more. It’s an interesting dynamic because the characters have such different feelings about returning to the place of their birth, and both have to come to terms with their complex, and often contradictory, feelings of fear, hope, longing, disgust, and more. It seems as if the more this pair learns about the past, the more they question their present and future.

Iníon is such a dynamic character, and I really loved her journey throughout the story. As Iníon goes on a physical journey to learn more about her parentage, she also goes on an emotional journey. Revelations change the way she feels about herself, her relationships, her life, and all she ever knew, and it’s fascinating to see how she handles all life throws at her.

The relationship between Iníon and Rían is sweet and pure, yet complicated and filled with angst. So many obstacles stand in their way. However, Iníon is a strong and determined young woman fueled by her love for Rían. Since Rían can’t marry anyone who isn’t of noble birth, theirs is a forbidden romance, which propels them even more to find Iníon’s blood relations. I have to admit I wasn’t 100 percent on board with their love story just because it started out more as a sibling relationship. However, their bond is strong, and you can tell they care a lot about each other. Other characters, including Rían’s father and the myriad of people they meet on their journey, are also interesting and well-developed.

This is an interesting and engaging start to a new series and one I would recommend to readers of YA fantasy. After that surprising ending, I’m eager to continue the series and find out what’s next for Iníon, Rían, and many of the characters they’ve met and left behind. I’m so thankful to the author for sending me a copy of the book.


Favorite Parts:

  • The immersive writing.
  • The imagery and personification.

Favorite Lines:

I picture myself a drop, one among a thousand, falling into the unknown wilds of the sky. What does it mean to be found?

When you love someone, there’s nothing you want more than to make her happy.

I wonder how it’s possible to be so perfectly happy and so wildly lonely at the same time.


i would recommend this book to readers of YA fantasy.

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