The Butterfly Garden is one of those books that just keeps popping up. Every few months or so, I encounter it somewhere – in a blog post, on Goodreads, while shopping for books – and I never picked it up. To be honest, I don’t think I ever even read the synopsis. But I finally caved when I saw it was on Kindle Unlimited (and I was bored one day at work).
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.
In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.
When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.
As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…
The Butterfly Garden is the kind of bizarre, dark book I love reading. This story is seriously messed up. And I couldn’t stop reading it. It’s one of those thrillers that’s impossible to put down, even when you know you probably should be ingesting that much horror all at once. What can I say, I’m fascinated by serial killers. And The Gardener is one of the most interesting I’ve encountered. Even though he’s fictional.
Like I said, this book is dark. It’s told through interviews with Maya, one of The Gardner’s butterflies – the girls he tattoos to be butterflies in his garden. And the story she tells is horrific, but also kind of beautiful. In a really perverse way. Which I think is what makes this book so intriguing.
The story itself was really engaging. But there was something about the writing style that just felt off to me. It wasn’t bad, but I also didn’t love it. I think maybe because it’s essentially told in interviews conducted after the fact. But something about it didn’t click for me, and it might just have been a more personal preference thing than anything else. Overall, still a solid thriller with a unique premise.
★★★☆☆ – The Butterfly Garden was incredibly disturbing, but also really engaging. I enjoyed it as much as anyone can enjoy reading about a serial killer – though, thankfully, this one is fictional. If you’re into that sort of thing, definitely check this one out.
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