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Thornfruit (The Gardener's Hand, #1)
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(The Gardener's Hand #1)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  315 ratings  ·  80 reviews
There were two secrets in Varenx House, and Alizhan was one of them.

Alizhan can’t see faces, but she can read minds. Her mysterious ability leaves her unable to touch or be touched without excruciating pain. Rescued from abandonment and raised by the wealthy and beautiful Iriyat ha-Varensi, Alizhan has grown up in isolation, using her gift to steal secrets from Iriyat’s
Kindle Edition, 354 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Etymon Press (first published February 8th 2018)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  315 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Start your review of Thornfruit (The Gardener's Hand, #1)
as a gay, i find it really difficult to enjoy lgbt-themed books. usually they're too sad, or hit too close to home, or too clearly written by a straight person. but on a weak-willed, mildly drunk night after an office party filled with too many heterosexuals, i caved and signed up to receive free copies of a bunch of lgbt books (and i re-downloaded tinder, but that's a whole different horror story), including this one.

i'm sure y'all can read, so i won't recap the summary, but i will say that the
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't normally write reviews because I feel like an inarticulate mess but this book deserves a review.
At the beginning I was kind of doubtful because I didn't know in what direction it was going and if I'd end up slowly making my way through exposition after exposition and a plot that is completely overpowered by it (which is something that, in my experience, tends to happen often in the fantasy genre).

But I was positively surprised and, truth be told, what I most feared in the beginning
Betty BoomBa
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ff-fantasy, ya-na

Loved this story. Epic Fantasy, with a lovely and intriguing use of "magical" or paranormal abilitries. It works well. Look out for lacemaking, I think this is a brilliant idea.
There are very few errors, which is excellent, and the story is well written and engaging. I like the two main characters and the romantic element is so well woven into their interactions that it slips into the story without diminishing the main story line.
This is not a romance so some might be disappointed, but as
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4,5 stars but I rounded it up, because I think that the worldbuilding here is really interesting.

I am surprised that this novel isn't widely known. It reminded me in some aspects of Ten Thousand Doors of January - a novel that came out this year. The story itself was different, but the concept of a story within the story and the keeper of the main character who may or may not be a main villain was what made me think about those two books.

I really liked this book, the worldbuilding is great and
Matt Hope
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed it a lot. Very queer which is always nice. Overall a story with a lot of heart, sweetness, and compassion. There is all sorts of drama of course but that only adds. Recommended.
Cinnia Is Still Not Over Thornfruit
4.5 stars (remind me I need to write a more in-depth review in the summer of 2019)

"I love this book and here is why" nonspoilery review below

I’ve probably recommended this book to all of you at some point in the past 6 months because The Gardener’s Hand trilogy was bar none, the best series I got into last year and I simply can’t shut up about it because I’m basically propping up the fandom by word of mouth and text post memes. (Please, y’all, it’s lonely in here. The tumbleweeds are gaining
Cornelia Gordon
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read. This. Book! I've been following Davin for a while now and was really excited to read her debut novel. It did not disappoint me. Thornfruit showcases everything I've loved about her writing, from her incredibly nuanced grasp of character - all the characters and their relationships felt real and carefully examined, and I never once felt like Davin took any shortcuts - to her phenomenal pacing - it reads like a page-turner and Davin never wastes words, giving you the descriptions (often ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this was really good. The world-building was so well thought-through, but the reader can figure it out without being handed a big "here's how it all works!" chapter-or-more of explanation. The characters were well-developed, and it felt like I was reading a lost Tamora Pierce novel from her secret sci-fi days, but the only sci-fi element is the world itself, which underpins everything but never makes the reader uneasy, because it never makes the characters uneasy. All the unease comes from ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, faves
Alex (HEABookNerd)
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Series: The Gardener's Hand #1
Rating: 4 stars - it was enjoyable

Brief Summary: Alizhan's ability to read minds makes her a valuable asset to the Great Houses of Laalvur so she's been raised by Iriyat ha-Varensi to act as a spy. But the Priests of Balance believe any magical abilities make you a monster, an unbalanced, so Alizhan must keep it a secret. When Alizhan begins to question her loyalty to Iriyat she finds herself partnering up with farmer's daughter Evreyet "Ev" Umarsad to discover what
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully lush worldbuilding with evocative descriptions of places and atmosphere. Fascinated by the separation of night and day by space rather than by time and loved how naturally it wove into this world. The intercalated letters lent to the intrigue and gave weight to the ongoing story. Loved the characters and can't wait to see what lies ahead in the next book.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such excellent tenderness towards the characters and the world. There's some different, new stuff here and it's all awesome.
actual rating: ...more
Sometimes there are books that are hyped for months, that you hear about the moment the publishing contract is signed and anticipate for years before they're finally in your hands. And more often than not, in my experience, those books tend to be a let-down. (In fairness, it's hard not to be. Nothing can live up to that much hype.)

And sometimes there are quiet books, that seem to enter the world without a ripple, that you stumble upon by complete accident, that open up into jewels as you turn
Nichole David
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Evidently my goal for the new year is reading books that have been on my to-read list, but I was too emotionally invested in liking to actually read them.

I loved this book so much. I fell in love with every character. I am ready to recommend it to everyone!

I'm looking forward to finishing the series as soon as possible.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very fun and lovely read. The world building is interesting and the characters endearing. I particularly liked the mystery created by the inclusion of the first person chapters. I would bump up the rating but the plot felt a little too much like a 'part one' for me, without a particularly climatic ending.
Elizabeth Smart
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
There is a lot to love about this book. The world-building is incredible, from the different ways time is told to the various countries and islands discussed within. The characters are also fantastic: Ev may be one of my favorites of all time (she's peak fantasy aesthetic for me), and everyone feels fleshed out and real. I think my only beef with this book is that the plot could have been a little tighter. There's a lot of buildup (GREAT buildup) for a somewhat less-than-satisfying conclusion. ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was recommended this book as "Tamora Pierce but queer" and was NOT disappointed. I haven't been this captivated by a story in a long, long time. I immediately bought the second book, which I'm halfway through. If you like high-seas hijinks, queer relationships (romantic, platonic, and otherwise), magic, and well-meaning but corrupt female antagonists, this is the book for you.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-f, f-f
Really creative and compelling worldbuilding carried this for me. It's set on a tidally locked planet (the same side always faces the sun), in a city toward the boundary between Day and Night - which are of course directions on this planet, not markers of time. The main romantic thread is f/f but it's not a romance, more of a save-the-world quest-y fantasy novel, but again not high fantasy, more alt-history the way the world is built up.

Farm girl and fruit seller Ev is pulled into uncovering a
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Queer female leads and thief-spies and telepathy with face blindness and secret orphanages and everything about this book was wonderful! I love how everyone's stories ended up linked together, I love Ev's patience and Alizhan's impatience - they work so well together and they're baby queers in loooooove!! I'm excited to read the second book, and the third.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
It's difficult to write a less-than-enthusiastic review of a book you really wanted to like; the premise of Thornfruit sounded like just the kind of book I wanted. Alas, despite the ambitious worldbuilding and so many good ideas, the characterization felt unconvincing, and the prose was just not right for me.
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Something new

Unexpectedly intriguing! This tale is woven masterfully and the more that gets revealed, the more I want to know. I would definitely recommend this to others looking for a very different take on adventure and fantasy.
Penny W
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book in YEARS that I just sat down and read basically cover to cover (I took a break to sleep & run a dnd session). It's wonderful - the worldbuilding is masterful, the prose smart and funny and occasionally absolutely chilling. Also when alizhan lifted up ev's shirt to stop her bleeding and was like "wow u have a lot of muscles" it was a lot for me
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Probably more of a 3.5 or even 3.75 but I thought it ended abruptly and was glad I had the second book on hand to continue. Ev is great though. I love her a lot.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Time to search out the next ones hoo boy. Very intriguing.
If you like your romances to be slow-burn, man, this is really gonna do it for you.
Heather Halloran
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Y'ALL. This is the wholesome, femme, queer, POC fantasy adventure we all deserved growing up. This is the first time I have finished a book and IMMEDIATELY purchased its sequel.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven’t finished a book that I thoroughly enjoyed in a long time. This book has everything; strong female characters, strong relationships, and a huge world that feels familiar.

Characters: Ev and Alizhan are both very different female characters, but they compliment each other and make this book fun to read. It’s also good to see Ev and her family being so loving; it’s rare to see full family figures (aka both parents) being so supportive of their daughter. It was nice to see.

The world:
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
The plot was mostly setup for the next book which I expected since I got it for free. I did like Davin's world building and her characters. I'm almost tempted to buy the sequel if I wasn't so determined to keep a strict book budget this year.
Brenda Barlow
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful escape into another world full of wonder & intrigue. Engaging characters explore themes of honesty, truth, intimacy, trust, love, and ethics. A great balance of action and relationship building that makes for a real page turner!
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