Book Review: The Orchard of Flesh (Arcadia Trust Book 2) by Christian Baines

Despite the werewolf problems of the last book being over, Reylan's formerly simple life as a vampire has been turned upside down now that he has a werewolf lover, a human in his thrall (aka a mannequin), and a newfound semi-alliance with the Arcadia Trust. But when humans start disappearing and mannequins start becoming crazed, not only does it does it stir up politics between two supernatural factions, it puts Reylan and those he cares about in danger.

Book Review: The Orchard of Flesh (Arcadia Trust Book 2) by Christian Baines | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, lgbt, m/m, vampires, shifters
Title: The Orchard of Flesh
Book Number: Book 2 of TBA
Pages: 282
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


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

I was a little hesitant to read this book as I didn’t love the first one. But I enjoyed certain things, there was potential there, and the issues I had seemed like the type of things that could improve, and it turns out I made the right decision in continuing the series!

Instead of judgmental and condescending, Reylan was actually funny this time, and I could tell how much he cared about his people, so he was much more likeable. There was also very little, if any, breaking of the fourth wall, so I wasn’t thrown out of the story by the narration. And the dialogue felt a lot more natural.

In addition to the improvements, I liked the unique relationship dynamics between Reylan and Jorgas (his werewolf lover), as well as between Reylan and Brett (his human thrall A.K.A. mannequin). I still would’ve liked to see the relationships explored more in depth, but they were interesting and complicated nonetheless. Sometimes they were even kinda sweet.

I also once again liked the violent and darkish aspects of the book. And, in relation to that, the author did a good job of making the sex scenes dark without making them the stereotypical BDSM you usually find in books. There was no tying up, but Reylan and Jorgas did seem to like a maybe-not-so-healthy dose of violence with their sex, and there was even one scene that seemed more like blood play than regular vampire sex since Reylan used a mirror shard to slice Jorgas and then lick up the blood rather than directly biting him. But again it was all consensual, and of course there was sexy biting too 😉

The last thing I really liked was that this book wasn’t all happy and predictable. Numerous things happened that I wasn’t expecting, including the ending.

There were still a few moments when I got confused, and I didn’t understand all the politics or what was actually going on with Jorgas’s father and the bad guy, but those were small things because the focus of the story was really the supernatural troubles and the people in Reylan’s life.

So overall, I’m happy that I chose to continue the series. I’ve started feeling invested in Reylan, Jorgas, and Brett, I enjoyed their unique relationship dynamics, and I’m curious to see how things will continue to pan out!

*I’ve read this book multiple times. This review was written after my 1st read.*

2nd Read Update:
I feel pretty much the same. A bit of confusion here and there in the writing, but overall a great book with some interesting relationships and some darkness.

Reread Ratings:
4 Stars (1st Read – 2016)
4 Stars (2nd Read – 2019)


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  1. Bookworm Brandee

    Mm, sexy vampire bites. 😉 I’m glad you gave this a go and it was worth the time, Kristen. It seems like the characters were fleshed out a bit more so that you could connect to and invest in them. I am curious about the politics and their relation to the story if Reylan’s problems with the supernatural world were the real focus. That would seem to serve to muddy things. But maybe it’ll all make sense by the end. 🙂 I’ve added this to my tbr – on my Kristen Recs shelf. 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha it’s good to know I can always count on you to understand my love for sexy vampire biting 😉 Thanks! I’m glad I gave it a go too. I was definitely better able to connect to the characters this time. And yay my own shelf! It is now my sole goal in life to fill up with books! 😛

  2. Lola

    Sure sounds like it was a good decision to continue this series! Sometimes it really matters what you didn’t like about the first book and if it’s likely to improve in the next book or not. Reylan sounds like a funnier character in this book and I am glad to hear the writing seemed smoother. I also dislike it when books break the fourth wall too often, so that sounds like a good thing that didn’t happen as much in this book as in the first one.

    I kinda like the sound of him being a vampire and his lover a werewolf, you don’t see that as often. The relationship dynamics in this one sound interesting. And yay for unexpected events! I hope this series continues to be good!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Right? It was! I guess it really does depend on what it was you didn’t like and whether it seems like the kind of thing that could improve.

      Yeah, I guess I haven’t seen many other books with vampire-werewolf pairings. You’d think that would be more common since they’re the two most popular creatures lol. But yes, definitely yay for unexpectedness in books! Thanks 🙂