Two Minute Review: Lions in the Garden by Chelsea Luna

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Title: Lions in the Garden
Author: Chelsea Luna
Genre: historical fiction
Series: The Uprising #1
Pages: 236
Published: expected March 1 2016
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 1.5/5

Prague, 1610

Ludmila Novakova--Mila--has barely set foot outside Prague Castle in her seventeen years. But with the choice between braving the bandits and wolves of Bohemia's uneasy roads or being married off to a disgusting old baron, she's taken what she can carry and fled.

Escape won't be easy. Even Mila has heard the rumors of a rebellion coming against the court. The peasants are hungry. The king hasn't been seen in months. Mila's father, the High Chancellor, is well known and well hated.

But Mila can't sit behind a stone wall and let fear force her into a life of silk gowns and certain misery. Her mother's death has taught her that much. She has one ally: Marc, the son of the blacksmith. A commoner, a Protestant--and perhaps a traitor, too. But the farther she gets from the castle, the more lies she uncovers, unraveling everything she thought she knew. And the harder it is to tell friend from enemy--and wrong from right . . .

Prague is such a fascinating city and the Kingdom of Bohemia in the 1600s is a very interesting time and place. Those two factors are a large part of the reasons I am so confused about why the author chose to ignore the atmosphere and history at her story's fingertips... and instead focused on bland characters acting out a predictable and tepid romance. Instead of creating a rich world to surround main characters Mila and Marc, Lions in the Garden spends far too much time focusing on the less appealing aspects to the story.


  • shallow, stagnant characters
  • predictable plotting
  • little to no historical detail besides basic Protestant vs. Catholics
  • instalove romance
  • uneven pacing

There is potential for the story to grow outside of the tropes it seems to follow so readily, as well as for Mila to become more of person and less of a cardboard cutout. The basics are in place but the execution felt stilted and kept the novel from real success. The plot of the novel has a lot of promise but the focus on the romance detracted from the strengths to Lions in the Garden. I wanted more depth and emotion but that was in short supply over these less than two hundred fifty pages.


  1. What. A. Bummer! I really like the cover and got so excited by the description until I saw your rating :( Why do authors do this to us?! Hahah. Dangle interesting historical periods in front of us and snatch them away with lackluster worldbuilding and meh romance. Sigh.

    1. Riiiight?? I was extra bummed because the setting is so interesting and had so much untapped potential...


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