Book Review: Garden of Thorns (House of Royals Book 6) by Keary Taylor

It's been years since the battle in Mississippi, and Elle finally has a life of her own away from her brother and the House of Conrath, though she still hasn't entirely escaped a life involving vampires as she now administers the cure to Bittens out of her apothecary in Boston. But when trouble with Charles Allaway and his House start brewing, Lexington (from Alivia's House) moves in as a bodyguard, and both Elle and Lexington are surprised by who the other has become and how much they enjoy each others' company.

Book Review: Garden of Thorns (House of Royals Book 6) by Keary Taylor | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, young adult, vampires
Title: Garden of Thorns
Book Number: Book 6 of TBA in Full Series, Book 1 of TBA in Elle's Story
Pages: 248
My Rating: 3 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*

As much as I enjoyed the original House of Royals books (Alivia’s story), I was ready for it to end. But then this one came out, and I figured I’d give it a go since I did enjoy the original and this one was about a different main character (Elle, Alivia’s sister-in-law). Unfortunately it fell flat for me.

Even though I could understand why Elle was the way she was after all that she’d been through, I still couldn’t connect with her. Withdrawn would probably be a good word to describe her. She was badass in her own way though, I’ll give her that. She wasn’t an expert fighter, but she was an expert with botany and chemistry and creating toxins and weapons to use against the vampires. She also had some more conventional weapons, like stakes and hand guns. And despite the dangers, she wasn’t afraid to be around vampires when she felt it was the right thing to do, like when she was administering cures to the Bitten. So I can see people liking her and maybe connecting with her better than I did.

Another problem I had though was that I felt like not much happened in the plot, then it ended on a cliffhanger, still without anything really having happened. There wasn’t a climax, or maybe that scene would’ve been it, but it was cut short because the book ended. And when Allaway’s plan was fully revealed, it didn’t make sense in that it was just a bad plan and I didn’t see how it connected to the “a sister for a sister” revenge thing.

Lastly, there was a lot of talk about the chemistry between Elle and Lexington, but I never felt it. And because of that, even though it wasn’t instalove, the love still felt kind of sudden. But they had cute moments together, and I did think it was sweet and hilarious when she poured some blood into the batter and made him blood waffles.

So overall this book was too subdued for my taste, I didn’t connect with the characters, and it seemed like it mostly set things up without having much plot of its own. Even though Keary Taylor has created an interesting take on vampire society in her House of Royals series, sometimes you’re just ready to say goodbye to a series, and maybe I’d have enjoyed the book more if that weren’t the case for me. If you still want more House of Royals after finishing Alivia’s story though, or if you were interested in getting to know Elle, you might like this book more than I did.

*Note: Even though this book has a different protag and storyline, I recommend starting this series with Book 1. It might be possible to start here since there are brief explanations for most things, but you might still be confused by terminology and side characters.*


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14 thoughts on “Book Review: Garden of Thorns (House of Royals Book 6) by Keary Taylor

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    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t mind them too much if they come after the climax and lead into the next book, it just bothers me when there’s not a complete story in a book!

  1. Greg

    I like the idea that she can cure vampirism and the idea of people who knew each other but have changed- sounds interesting. Sorry to hear this fell flat. Blood waffles? THAT I like (well not literally, but, you know…) I never thought about how adding blood to food might make it yummy to vamps. Cool idea. 🙂

    And the plot- Three Dark crowns was like that. Good book but not enough happened, and then cliffhanger. Sigh. I do like the idea too of a character being badass in a different way- having toxins and stuff to combat vamps is a cool idea.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, the book had some good ideas, but sometimes that alone isn’t enough :-/ I really did think the blood waffles were cute though lol, since the vamps in this series still eat food. Wouldn’t want to eat them myself though lol.

      It just always gets on my nerves when nothing much happens and then the book cuts off on a cliffhanger. I feel like books should have a full story, even if they’re part of a series and will continue the overall story in the next book.

  2. Dina

    That’s a bummer to read a book where not much happens. I’m glad you stick with the books, though. Do you ever DNF things? I try not to. But, sometimes, I am so tempted.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it is disappointing when not much happens in a book before it ends. And no, I do not ever DNF anything, haha. In the past maybe 3 years, I stopped reading two different books at 10%, and that’s been the extent of my DNFing. Not that there’s anything wrong with DNFing, it’s just not something I like to do.

  3. Olivia Roach

    I am sorry that this one didn’t work out for you :/ I can’t stand it when there isn’t that much of a plot and it kind of misses out on the climax too. It makes me wonder where the point of the novel is… and then the romance wasn’t good either. I hope your next read is more fun!

    1. Kristen Burns

      YES. I really get annoyed when books do this because they just feel incomplete. Maybe the point of this one was the romance, but since I wasn’t really feeling that… Oh well. Thanks!

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Sorry to hear this book was a bit of a let down when you enjoyed the first part of the series. It’s always difficult for any series to transition from one MC to another. It sounds like Elle is a cool character and I’d probably like her she’s just been let down with a romance that doesn’t have enough spark and a story that is obviously a bit bad and illogical. I’d not actually heard of this series I might check out the first part of the series if I see it around and then maybe read this and see how it goes.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I suppose I might’ve enjoyed the whole book and Elle’s character more if there had been more to the plot and the romance. But I felt like the original series was complete, so at least I don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not continuing with this spin-off.