“Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.” – Dot Hutchison, The Butterfly Garden
I first discovered this book while I was on one of my impulse buying evenings—ehem, late nights actually–on amazon.
The cover caught my eye and I figured I’d read about it if it was worth buying–and here I am doing a review of it.
The Butterfly Garden is actually the first book of a trilogy that Hutchison is currently working on and I believe the 2nd book is already available entitled Roses of May.
Disclaimer, our beloved butterflies wont be making an appearance on the second book from what I’ve heard but I am still excited for what Hutchison has in store for Roses of May.
The Butterfly Garden’s story mostly revolves around an isolated garden where girls are being kept by an overseer which they would all refer to as “The Gardener”.
He would tend to these girls and claim them as his own and do things to them. I’m pretty sure you get the idea by the sound of whats happening by now. Isolated garden, lots and lots of girls, a master, and to make things worst, they’re all branded according to their namesake. Butterfly Wings—on their backs. All sorts of butterflies you can think of, wings that would match the girl that they’re assigned to.
And the horror of what awaits them when they turn a certain age is still creeping me out.
or what the Gardener called her when she first arrived at the garden. Well, she didn’t really arrive but more of she was taken.
So Maya is our protagonist in this book, aside from our FBI agents who are amazingly patient towards this girl who refused to talk about EVERYTHING all the way.
Maya is an exceptionally strong, independent, and I could say, naive young woman. What separates her from the normal young girls he age is that she had a tough childhood which leads to her being in danger most of the time. Read more about her character in the book because that’s a few of the boring parts but that’s everything she was holding on to during her stay in the garden. She reads a lot, it is mentioned in the book that whenever The Gardener would choose her for the night, she would recite parts of books that she loved just to drift away from what was happening to her while tending to The Gardeners needs. This honestly has stained a few books that I also liked that she has recited while she was being used.
Don’t even get me started with this guy. He is actually a genius, but he is the exact example of why I am terrified of rich people who have twisted minds. He was a philanthropist. or so they say. He invested a lot of money into building his own fantasy realm—the Garden. Whats more twisted than that is its right beside his actual house. Just a few trees in the way and you wont see the garden at all. He has two sons, Avery and Desmond, which I will be talking about here as well because holy shit–this is one twisted book.
His routine upon capturing his new addition to the garden is to brand them first and use them and keep them in the garden, for his amusement. He awards the butterflies when they are being good hence why Maya and her friends were able to sustain hobbies while their stay in the garden.
Avery is one sick motherfucker. He obviously has issues that I cannot fathom. Probably because The Gardener favored Desmond over him on most things, except the garden. Avery would abuse the women in this garden that some of them would die afterwards. He is that sick. Disgusting, really.
Now this guys, right here. Had potential. He never knew anything about the garden in the first place. It was Avery and his father’s little secret until one day, he discovered it. He could’ve helped the girls, he wasn’t anything like his father and Avery. I even hoped that the friendship between Maya and him would prosper into something else, something special that could’ve helped save our beloved Maya, not just from the garden, but from herself. But he was weak. He didn’t do anything to help the girls, he just visited the girls like there was nothing wrong at all.
[WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK]
The world building is absolutely incredible. Its twisted, yes. But the world building, the whole concept of how he thought of capturing girls, turning them into his private collection of butterflies, in his garden, take care of them and preserve them like REAL butterfly catchers do is both eerie and amazing that I cannot really tell if I am amused by how detailed it is or disgusted at the whole idea.
I also like the character development in this book, how Maya helped the other girls stay sane in the garden while she was quietly figuring out if she should do something to escape or accept the fact that she would die there.
I also like how the writer stayed true to Maya’s character. How she seemed too broken to entertain anybody. That ending. Actually I don’t see anything to NOT LIKE in this book. Aside from how short it is.
[WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK]
I am not entirely sure if I like how short it is, but more of the agony it put me thru while waiting for the next book only to find out that Maya will no longer be in the picture.
I also didn’t like how weak Desmond is but then again, if he wasn’t that weak in the first place, he could’ve joined his father and his brother in their little game of choose-a-girl-and-use-her as much to their liking.
I hate how this book made me think that how these butterflie die is beautiful. Its really twisted and all but the way it was told, it was thought of was really, beautiful and sad.
Such a bittersweet book. The whole time I was reading it, it felt that way and I cannot stress how much I loved and hated this book at the same time.
Overall verdict: 5 stars and would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something short and really engrossing.
Warning: Book contains a few topics that are rather taboo; not really recommended for people who are sensitive to topics that involve abduction of girls, taking advantage of them, and the likes.