Reputation by Lex Croucher
Reputation by Lex Croucher is a fresh and unusual way to reflect on different historical and social realities that are problematic in our current times. The story takes current situations and places them in a Regency Romance setting for a twist that initially made me uncomfortable, but that I eventually accepted and grew more comfortable with.
The main character, Georgiana, has been left with her aunt and uncle while her parents move to the coast for her mother’s health. Feeling a bit lost and alone, she is the perfect target for the local mean girls who befriend her and then turn her life upside down. Along the way, she meets a diverse cast of characters that wake her up and present her with a different world – much like the author has done to the reader. She is a bright and quirky character that I could quickly embrace and sympathize with, and I loved to see her grow so much during the story.
Using snark and wit, the story’s narration left me both appalled and in stitches with laughter. The formal language used when adults were around slowed my reading pace down. Still, the more current language of Georgiana and her acquaintances was quick and easy to read, being more relatable and less full of the extras that formality dictates.
Recommended for watchers of Bridgerton and anyone who is intrigued by the mash-up of eras, this Mean Girls meets Bridgerton meets Gossip Girls meets Jane Austin story will leave you in awe and wonder.
In A Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power
A Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power is a new epic fantasy world that is truly epic in every way. The world-building is full of juxtapositions that enhance every aspect. It’s a cold dark world in action, but the actual environment is beautiful and bright. Lives are given to bring on the changing of seasons, and the magic and near immortality that drives this is commonplace.
Adult twins Rhea and Alexandros are the oldest children of their nation’s leader. Alexandros is his father’s second, and Rhea must take and kill consorts to bring on a new season. Their lives are full of war and death, with people conspiring against them from all sides. They live to serve their father, a dark, abusive man who likes his home filled with light and color.
This story reads like a Greek epic tragedy and begs the reader to take their time and savor this world and the lyrical way it is described. Rhea, in particular, grows enormously, and I loved how layered and nuanced her character development is. She is just exquisite in every way. Rhea is beautiful and values life well beyond what her position in this society would seem to dictate. She sees beauty everywhere and wants more for herself, even though achieving it would come at a very high cost. She is my favorite character, not because I relate to her, but because she is intriguingly complicated.
I also loved the shocking twists and turns the story took and discovering all the different magics this world held. If you love epic stories told in fantasy worlds, A Garden Burning Gold is a beautiful selection for you to savor.