*Disclaimer: This review involves spoilers. And Rated PG-13/R (Book..not review!)
I need to say, this has been sitting in my Want to Read List on Goodreads for months now. I hadn’t been able to find a copy at my local library, so I waited to use one of my Audible credits so I could listen during my commute. That was a bad idea, more on that later though.
The premise of this story sounds amazing. A beautiful garden tucked into a soundproof green house. A rich man lavishing young girls with beautiful clothing, meals, and whatever they would desire, within reason. Each young girl, ranging from 16 to 21 lived in the garden, and each was tattooed on their back with specific butterfly wings. Intricate wings covered their backs. They were free to float along the garden, play in the pond and streams, read, play music, and lay around.
However, there are few stipulations. One: They are to submit to the Gardner’s sexual wishes at anytime, regardless of their feelings. They are also to submit to his violent son, Avery.
Two: When they turn 21, they are killed and placed into a glass case filled with resin to be on display for all eternity. Or if they become pregnant, sick, broken, or out of control crazy, they go into the glass.
Sounds like the making of a great crime drama. WRONG! The main character, Maya, when being questioned by the FBI about everything that happened in the garden, was standoffish, complacent, almost annoyed to have to even help the FBI find out the truth in the garden. Her childhood history was pretty cliche as well. Abandoned by her self absorbed parents, molested as a child by the neighbor, raised by a drunk grandmother who smoked all day and watched soap operas, and disappeared to New York after her care giver died; leaving her grandmother’s body to rot.
The narration bounced between the FBI agents and Maya. One trying to find the truth, the other just not caring whether the truth ever came out. Listening to her telling of life in the garden, she almost sounded like it wasn’t that big of deal. Twenty-three girls lived in the garden. There was only one gardener, and he was never armed. Only one person escaped in over the 30 years he was keeping the butterflies. Why hadn’t anyone tried to fight back? Not a single one. A few may have tried to commit suicide. But everyone else, just accepted their fate, earned their privileges and created art, or music, or dance. WTH?
Then there was Desmond. The younger son. The one son who was appalled by everything his father was doing. He did nothing. NOTHING to save them until Avery kidnapped a 12 year old girl. I had so hoped for drama, thrilling and psychotic twists and turns. The biggest twist, the way the story ended, was with the realization that Maya’s old roommate from her apartment in New York, was the only butterfly to escape the garden. And she didn’t even tell anyone about the girls left to be raped and killed. WHAT?!? This is the big twist? Maya’s big secret? Ugh.
I have read other reviews of this books and so far, I am the only one who disliked it. Except for those who made the review on Goodreads…should have listened to them. (Face palm)
On a side note: If you do decide to read the book, do not do the audiobook version. The swapping of narrations mid chapter, the male voice trying to do a female voice and visa versa, just made an already boring story worse.