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Book Review: The Garden of Delights by Amal Singh

A fantasy novel with a unique concept and a beautiful blend of myth, magic, politics, history and culture

By Marie SinadjanPublished about a month ago 3 min read

A world where petals are currency and flowers are magic.

A man battling a curse of eternal old age. A girl who can be his boon. But it's not all tulips and roses. There are also nettles and thorns.

Where Delights persist, Sorrow must follow.

In the city of Sirvassa, where petals are currency and flowers are magic, the Caretaker tends to the Garden of Delights. He imparts temporary magical abilities to the citizens of Sirvassa, while battling a curse of eternal old age. No Delight could uplift his curse, and so he must seek out a mythical figure. A god.

When a Delight allows a young girl an ability to change reality, the Caretaker believes he’s at the end of his search. But soon a magical rot takes root in his Garden, and the Caretaker must join forces with the girl and stop it from spreading.

GENRE: Fantasy / Mythology / Magical Realism


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amal Singh is a writer of science fiction and fantasy from Mumbai, India. He has numerous short story publications to his credit, in venues such as Clarkesworld, F&SF, Apex, Fantasy, among others. His story What is Mercy?, published in Fantasy Magazine, was longlisted for the BSFA Award in 2021. While he has held jobs of IT Analyst, Database Administration, and SOP consultancy in the past, he is now fortunate enough to do something that involves full-time writing.

By day, he juggles screenwriting, audio-writing, and Creative Production, working on web-shows and movies. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and running. / X: @Jerun_onto



This is a gorgeous, gorgeous book! I loved the concept of flower magic, and it was very well executed. The story was like a well-tended garden too, with the different elements coming together at just the right time and bringing forth such delights. There's myth, magic, politics, history, culture... Indian authors seem to be really good at this? The last book I read by an Indian author was The Phoenix King by Aparna Verma and it had the same satisfying blend of all that.

The prose is beautiful without being overbearing. Same with the worldbuilding. I'm unfortunately not familiar enough with Indian culture and folklore/mythology but I now want to read more about it thanks to this book. (Maybe there's an article somewhere detailing the concepts and such used in this story. I'll have to research.)

The characters were particularly great. Even the minor characters had such life and complexity to them. And the depiction of the gods and other creatures were very refreshing.

Definitely one of my favorite books of the year so far!

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️️⭐️️


Hi! I'm Marie, a Filipino SFFH author and book reviewer currently based in the UK. I’m the co-author of The Prophecies of Ragnarok, a Norse myth new adult urban fantasy trilogy, and I also have several short stories published in anthologies and literary journals.

You can find more info about me and my books, and also subscribe to my newsletter for more content, here. And if you like what I do, please also consider supporting me on Ko-fi! 🩷

If you fancy a short read, I have a cozy reimagining of the Norse myths about Hel, but it's just under 70 pages and can be read in one sitting. ✨ Plus there's a swag kit coming soon! Includes a "membership card," a bookmark, a sticker, an origami dog, and an exclusive 500-word story 🫶🏼

All things end, and all must die.

But death is not always the end.

When Geiravor Lokisdottir was stripped of her name and cast out of Asgard, torn from her family and the life she had known, she thought she’d lost it all. But in the shadows of Niflheim she discovers the path to her destiny, and what it truly means to be queen.

This is a prequel short story to THE PROPHECIES OF RAGNAROK trilogy by Meri Benson and Marie Sinadjan, and a retelling of the myths involving Hel, the Norse goddess of death and the queen of the underworld.


About the Creator

Marie Sinadjan

Filipino spec fic author and book reviewer based in the UK. •

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    Marie SinadjanWritten by Marie Sinadjan

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