IN AN ORCHARD GROWN FROM ASH by Rory Power.
Titan Books. h/b. £15.99.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.
Snow falls even as spring draws to a close. Rhea has sacrificed her consort, just like always, so why does it still snow? Alexandros, the second youngest of the Argyros siblings, finds himself captive of Tarro Domina. His father dead. His brother a traitor. His sister in the company of the rebels. It has been a long journey to get to the capital, and Lexos does not yet realise that there is far more to come.
Rhea, the Stratagiozi daughter, breaks tradition and saves Michali’s life, yet he is changed. No longer always at her side, her lover is a shadow of his former self. He does not accompany her to the rebel meeting, leaving Rhea to deal with her own problems in the wake of her father’s death.
Elsewhere, Nitsos is getting closer to his dream of visiting the continent’s greatest library, the Navirotsk, where he hopes to finally find his answers. Rhea must stop him before he can do any more damage, and Chrysanthi may be the only one she can send to track down their brother before it is too late.
In An Orchard Grown From Ash is the concluding part of Power’s Argyrosi duology. The story centres around all four siblings as they play their respective parts: Lexos, captive of their enemies; Rhea, his twin, no longer able to understand the power she wields; Nitsos, already a betrayer in their eyes, and fixated on his own goals; and Chrysanthi, desperate to find her brothers and unearth the remaining secrets of their family.
Without spoilers, the groundwork that was laid in the first book does pay dividends here, with the worldbuilding already embedded and the capabilities of the magic system at least partially established. The pace holds steady throughout, and we know the main characters well enough to grant the climax the emotional investment that it needs from the reader. By the end, there are elements of the magics and the character relationships that feel unconcluded and one is left with the feeling that this may not be the last we see of this world or the Stratagiozi.