By Dot Huchison
Published June 1st 2016
Rating: 4.5/5 leafs
Synopsis 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…
This was one of the finalist in The Goodreads Choice Awards for 2016 in the horror category. That fact, combined with that chilling synopsis had me hooked. I needed to read it. When I did it was creepy and atmospheric, almost everything I was looking for in a horror novel.
What To Expect
I’m not sure if this is a horror trope, but I really like reading about horror stories that are obsessed with beauty. This story is all about beauty and how being obsessed with certain things can twist beauty into something horrible. The Gardener is so obsessed with beautiful woman that he kidnaps them and tattoos butterfly wings on their back. He keeps them in a garden of his own creation.
Start From the End
It’s one of those stories that starts with the end, the garden blowing up. It then works backward with the interrogation of one of the survivors who is a woman named Maya. This technique was well done and works really well with the story. The synopsis mentions how Maya herself is a “puzzle” and that’s true. She comes off as an unreliable narrator but the more she reveals both her own story and the garden’s story, the more I was drawn in to flipping pages.
The story switches from Maya’s perspectives to one of the FBI detectives investigating the story. I liked getting into Victor Hanoverian’s head as much as Maya’s. You could tell that he was smart enough to see when Maya was being not entirely truthful and he was also very compassionate. Although he was a seasoned detective, he didn’t fall into the “cold and stoic hardened detective” stereotype.
Highlight to see negative. SPOILERS
I’ve read a lot of reviews on this book and the same complaint was on all of them. The ending! For being a horror story, everything wrapped up far too neatly. It was also kind of out of the blue that Maya’s roommate also happened to be the one butterfly who maybe escaped. That was the only thing that I didn’t like.
By Dot Hutchison
Published May 23rd 2017
Rating: 4.5/5 leafs
Synopsis from Goodreads
Four months after the explosion at the Garden, a place where young women known as the Butterflies were kept captive, FBI agents Brandon Eddison, Victor Hanoverian, and Mercedes Ramirez are still entrenched in the aftermath, helping survivors in the process of adjusting to life on the outside. With winter coming to an end, the Butterflies have longer, warmer days of healing ahead. But for the agents, the impending thaw means one gruesome thing: a chilling guarantee that somewhere in the country, another young woman will turn up dead in a church with her throat slit and her body surrounded by flowers.
Priya Sravasti’s sister fell victim to the killer years ago. Now she and her mother move every few months, hoping for a new beginning. But when she ends up in the madman’s crosshairs, the hunt takes on new urgency. Only with Priya’s help can the killer be found—but will her desperate hope for closure compel her to put her very life on the line?
When I found out that this was a series, I was so excited! However, this book seemingly had nothing to do The Butterfly Garden. Yet when I read it, I found out that it followed a different case of the same three FBI agents called the FBI three. Instead of Victor Hanoverian, this one got in the mind of Brandon Eddison and the case of a serial killer that always kills girls in Spring.
What To Expect
Butterfly Garden Still Involved
This was a surprise to me but it was a really good surprise. The characters from the first book are still involved. Their story is all about the aftermath of the garden trauma.
The relationship between Priya and her mom is really amazing. I like how there was an emphasis on it being okay to not be okay. This book was really realistic in that sense. Priya’s mom passed down that wisdom to Priya and then Priya shared it with the butterfly girls.
In this book, the FBI agents were even more apart of the story. They just added to the strong family aspect in the last point. Victor Hanoverian “adopted” the girls from the first book. He took them under his wing and incorporated them into his family for support. Brandon Eddison did the same with Priya. He’s a rougher detective than Hanoverian but Priya and her mom get into his heart because they’re just as rough as him.
Although there was a bunch of different elements in this book, it was still super creepy. There were sections in the killer’s perspectives which were disturbing. This killer is also obsessed with beauty, beautiful girls that he either punishes for being impure or kills so that they never make a mistake. Priya’s sister was killed but then the killer turns eyes on her.
Highlight to see negative. (SPOILERS)
The Ending Again
It was the same problem with the last book. Everything wrapped up far too neatly although it was much less than the last book.
This is the next book coming out May 22nd 2018! It follows the last of the FBI three, Mercedes Ramirez. I am so excited. I hope to see characters from both of the first two books and something just as creepy. Look it up and add it to your Goodreads list!
Let’s chat! What are some of your favorite horror novels? What kind of horror content do you like to see in those books?
Thanks for reading!