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....
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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*
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.