Title: The Poison Garden
Author: Sarah Singleton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 1 Star
It is the 1850’s, and a young boy, Thomas, leaves his family to be apprenticed to a pharmacist, at the behest of his dead grandmother. He also inherits a magical box from her, which provides him entry into a mysterious garden. But while visiting it, he sees a ghostly vision of his grandmother, who tells him she was poisoned, and warns him that he must find the person responsible, and save her precious garden. For she was one of five members of an arcane guild, each of whom cultivated an individual garden, mastering the art of poison, perfume and medicine. The guild members jostle for power as, one by one, they are murdered …
Can Thomas solve the mystery, before he in turn is threatened?
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
My opinion of this book is not great. Within the first couple of pages I was getting annoyed with the style of writing and found myself drifting off while reading and thinking about other things, and it took me far longer to read because I kept putting it down and trying to find something else to distract myself so I didn’t have to keep reading. But, I hate to leave a book unfinished and I committed to trying to post a review each day, so I pushed myself through it.
The contents of the book is described in way to much pointless detail that you dont get to form your own opinion or idea, and it happens way to fast for me. You get have barely started reading before major stuff starts happening, and though this can often work in some books it is not the case here. I felt as if I was being rushed through because the author themselves was already bored and was trying to get to the end of the book. Because of this rushed feeling you don’t get to connect to any of the characters. When bad things happen you don’t care because why should you? You haven’t gotten to feel any warmth or connection to them, you have just been told “This is this guy,” and then they just remain some random you know of but don’t give a damn about.
This feeling of disconnectedness could also be contributed to the pore dialogue. The conversations feel forced the entire way through, and for me they sealed the deal when it came to not caring about the characters. Towards the end I started to feel something, my head was focussed on the story I was being told and I wasn’t looking to see how many pages where left, but then some forced dialogue reared its ugly head and I was pushed outside of the book again. Things are danced around in a too obvious way, or they are just too plainly laid out for all the world to see. Conversations don’t seem natural (or feelings or reactions for that matter), and I felt as though I was reading school students running through a scripted play for the first time.
That being said however I did love the idea behind the book and feel it has so much untapped potential which makes the failings stand out that much more for me. Gardens which are all connect but all apart, which shape to your imagination and inner most ideals, and are boundless to restrictions of simply ‘good’ or ‘evil’ magic/abilities sounds like a fantastic concept that should have been looked at it more detail. I so desperately wanted to know more about each garden, to spend more that 10-30 pages I was given exploring each garden world.
This one book could easily have been an awesome series if it wasn’t so rushed.