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....
©2016 Dot Hutchison (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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"It started off okay..."
The premise wasn't great, the character development was shoddy, and the end was stupid beyond words.
I thought the book was just slightly below average up until the end, when it proved how hopeless it really was.
This book started out okay; as others mentioned, it had the plot line of a lifetime movie. All that being said, I still listened to the whole thing, I just wished it was better at the end. I'm glad I got this via kindle unlimited, rather than wasting a credit on it.
Mel Foster is absolutely ghastly at trying to do female voices. Lauren Ezzo I thought was wonderful, but I will never listen to any book narrated by Mel Foster again. Every time he tried to impersonate a women I cringed. It was whiny and condescending and like nails on a chalkboard. Also, he sounds like a car commercial announcer so when he narrated any part it came across as cheesy and overdramatic.
Honestly... I haven't ever read/listened to a book I was so eager to review, and I sincerely hope that the author reads these comments. The one positive thing I will say about the story is that I had to finish it. Like I can't keep from looking at horrific accidents on the freeway I pass... I had to finish it. That's it.
Otherwise, here is what you will be subjected to if you choose to listen:
-Poor and unrealistic character development. An 18 yo woman with a childhood that would realistically cause her to become a sociopath in her own right, somehow is confident, wise and compassionate. Riiiight. And that's the protagonist. The rest of the important characters are equally as ridiculous.
-The most disgusting, disturbing and silly plot line imaginable. A gentle and loving serial killer abducts countless women over the course of 30 years and because he isn't rough when he rapes them and gives them gifts like running water, not once in 30 years do they ever band together to kill the mo' fo'. Ok then. They're allowed to be brutally honest with him... and are... they're painted as intelligent, but somehow this gentle and loving serial killer just inspires in them only the desire to be subservient. Honestly, this is the kind of drivel that gives misogynists the ammunition to spew fowl opinions on women wanting to be raped and controlled deep down. Also... the "twist" that the roommate was once a butterfly and escaped pregnant, but then didn't tell anyone for years and year because she didn't want to lose her baby to A SERIAL KILLER? Seriously? I don't know whether to puke or laugh. Also, apparently it's plausible in the author's mind to even imagine that the FBI allows agents that yell and threaten VICTIMS of heinous and unimaginable crimes. Perfectly normal to scream at them that you want answers. Nothing weird about that.
-A male narrator who's portrayal of women should be illegal. See my comments above. Whoever this Mel Foster is, he should not be narrating.
I highly suggest you just skip this. It's just really, really not a good story, a good listen or in anyway redeeming. If you don't I'm sure you'll hate it but feel the need to finish it as I did and wonder why you wasted the time. *le sigh*
"Not my taste in novels!"
The Butterfly Garden is a dark, dark, sick, sick novel; it is worse than a waste of time. I finished it, but I regret beginning it. Mel Foster, the male narrator, is simply incompetent. Lauren Ezzo is an excellent narrator.
"Bad narration doesn't help a bad book."
This is just not an enjoyable audiobook.
I don't mind when elements of a story are unrealistic- it's fiction - and this is my favorite genre (crime fiction/suspense) so give me 'disturbing' any time: but the plot of The Butterfly Garden is bizarre to the point of laughable, but you can't laugh when the characters are just so ridiculous. I could only try so many times.
There are FBI agents who are scaredy cat ineffective. They are scared of the interviewee, a barely- 18 overly intellectual pretentious brat. Are you going to tell me that 2 hardened FBI agents can't grasp control over a difficult subject? They are so disturbed by assault and murder that they are near tears and have to leave the room?
Agent 1 has little personality, absolutely non-compelling. The male narrator reads like he's talking to kindergarteners. Agent 2 'bad cop' is yelling and banging tables just because he's so mad at the bad guys, not for any other apparent reason, such as, again, trying to elicit information from a hostile witness. He is such a baby that he can't stay in the room for more than a couple minutes at a time. And they are both quaking in their boots by the prospect of dealing with a politician mother of one of the victims? Come on.
Why is our protagonist so hostile? It's unclear what she has to gain by her ridiculous posturing and purposeful antagonistic banter with these sad law enforcement agents. She is not willing to assist in a mass casualty investigation? Put her stuck up bottom in a cell that's not as fun and luxurious as being in a sorority garden of other gorgeous women who all love each other, and wait for her to be less spoiled. Brings up flashbacks of Orange is the New Black- which I also despised.
Just like a great narrator can save a so-so book, a poor narrator can kill an otherwise decent book. Here, unfortunately, this is some of the worst narration I've heard, and the story cannot survive it. I can't think who WOULDNT do a better job narrating this book.
Pretty good and irritated.
Sorry, I don't buy it. I wanted to love this book, but I am really disappointed by the characters and the overly bizarre plot and these narrators. Make it stop.
Quite simply, I don't recommend this book.
"So Bad it is Good"
This is like listening to a Lifetime movie. Completely unrealistic, terrible acting and ridiculous plot BUT, that being said, I listened to the whole thing. I laughed when I wasn't supposed to and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that it was so terrible.
"Audible version is better than reading it."
I was able to follow along better with the voices changing between the male and female. It was easier to distinguish who was telling their part of the story.
I wish the end was wrapped up better. Many questions were left unanswered. But a great quick read over all.
A definite read for fans of serial killer type stories and will be overwhelming for those of us who like to read about the underlying thoughts, morals and dysfunctional thinking from all perspectives. I will be looking for more books by this author as I loved the language, characters and format of the writing. Don't start to read this book if you don't have time to read or listen in its entirety as you will be unable to put it down!
This story could be too disturbing for some listeners. Think law and order SVU on steroids. It's dark and creepy and horrible to think could really happen. However, it's beautifully told and hard to stop listening. If you can handle that sort of thing, I strongly suggest this book.
"Major let down"
What a waste of a brilliantly twisted idea. There wasn't a moment of this story I enjoyed. The writing is lazy and cumbersome, so much telling and so little showing and feeling. The characters are incredibly under developed, and there are so many names of girls that are mentioned with such little effort of having them mean anything.
The plot summary of this book is the best part. Don't bother reading it. There are no compelling characters to hope for, no plot twists to shock you, no passages that will haunt you.
The highly rated narrators do nothing to help this book. The male voice sounds nice, but made it impossible to distinguish between the two male detectives and his inflections for the girl made her sound like an irritating snob.
"listened to it from start to finish in one day."
This was an interesting story. An easy listen.
The female narrators was excellent and the male narrator was a bit flat...but it's okay.
"An Hypnotic Danse Macabre"
Fascinating, intriguing, gentle and brutal. An hypnotic Danse Macabre that genuinely surprised me. They say never judge a book by its cover and well in this case you should beware the innocent sounding title as well! Hidden behind it is as twisted a story as you’re ever likely to read. There is insanity, brutality and the extinction of hope yet the quality of the writing within and the ultra-smooth delivery of Lauren Ezzo lead you on an almost surreally tranquil journey through the story's stark landscape.
The book is structured around an interview of one of the survivors of the garden. It’s a clever device which actually works better than I expected and gives the book a good rhythm without disrupting the flow. Foster’s gruffness provides a growling counterpoint to the smooth narrative sections from within the garden. There are some lighter, very human moments as the relationship between the FBI agents and the girl develops. There are also some surprisingly gentle interactions within the beautiful yet horrific world created by The Gardener.
For all those gentle touches though this book deals with the disturbing including moments of extreme cruelty. It really is no light holiday fiction for all the delicateness of its title and moments of genuine humanity. What it is, is a darnn good read though. If you have the fortitude to enter these dark places and appreciate the good writing you find when you get in there then you’ll find this a genuine treat from Dot Hutchison.
Really enjoyed listening to this book - honestly made me wonder for the sanity of the author though! What a twisted story.
"worth a visit!"
different, enthralling story and well worth a read. Will be looking for more by Hutchinson!
"The butterfly garden"
I really enjoyed this book. It was a shocking story. But very well told, I was immediately hooked and read & listened to it any time I could.
Absolutely loved this book. Could not stop listening. Usually set sleep timer as listen to relax at bed time!! Not with this one. Not on edge of seat drama but intreaging til the end.
Loved this book.
Such an original story, told really well.
Good strong character who held their own within the story
"Disturbing yet moving"
An emotional and addictive listen, very well narrated by both actors. I think the characters are strong and to be honest and if cast well I would not be surprised if Maya is not an Academy Award nominated part for some young actress in a few years............this will be snapped up to make a film..........it has all the right moves!
"A great page turner"
Great story which got me hooked really quickly. The only downside was a far fetched point near the end. However this was forgiven because overall I really enjoyed it.
"a strange one"
was excited to start and couldn't put it down. a funny twist in the end. rather a short novel.
A very original idea allowing scope for psychological descriptions and inferred judgement. I will listen to it again!
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