Review | The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

“Beauty loses its meaning when you’re surrounded by too much of it.” 3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: waterfalls, interrogation rooms, moving walls, black dresses, showcases, Poe’s poems, pregnancy tests, ceramics, carousels, sad dragons, perfectly peeled oranges, tattooed butterfly wings and beautiful gardens.

This was probably one of my most anticipated reads for this year… and I have to say I’m disappointed. When I heard about this book for the first time, I knew I had to pick it up. A killer who kidnaps girls and tattoos their backs with butterfly wings? My first thought was “I need this book ASAP”. 

Maybe I had high expectations. I already had a clear idea in my mind of how this book would be before I read it and I was super excited to finally pick it up, and then I got disappointed with the outcome. 

I think the biggest problem for me was the book format. I honestly don’t think the writing is bad, but the way the author decided to approach the story ruined it for me. Well, in case you haven’t read it yet, the entire book is divided ONLY into three parts. There are no chapters to finish “scenes”, only small breaks that have no reason to exist given the context. The story just keeps going and going, and if you want to put the book down you will have to stop at the end of a random paragraph or small break – like I had to do several times – and I didn’t like that. But that’s not even my main issue with this book. It’s written in a very confusing way! It’s hard to explain but even though the story is told without breaks, the girl who’s being questioned keeps going back and forth with the timeline of events. So as you can probably imagine, sometimes the story gets difficult to follow. I also think the story would be more interesting if it followed the girl during her time at the Garden instead of a police interrogation – but what do I know? I’m not a writer.

And then I thought, “okay, but the ending is going to be good and then I’ll rate this higher”. Wrong again. The ending did not impress me. The story felt incomplete and I wish some things would be better explained and developed. It was only a “meh” ending in my opinion.

But I’m happy to say that not everything was bad. Like I said before, I really liked the concept and story overall. The story was very creative and creepy, and I loved the smallest details. For example, one thing I really liked was how the author mentions what species is tattooed on each girl. That gave me the opportunity to google each species and get a clear picture of what was described of their backs. The book is very detailed and I liked how the environment was described. I also liked how raw and honest the main character was. She suffered a lot in her life and she was very honest but couldn’t be sweet or pretend that things would be alright. She accepted the world she lived in and she was very aware of her reality. I know probably it’s an unpopular opinion, but I actually liked her. I also loved how the girls would be together in their rooms and chat, and how everyone had different hobbies to deal with their daily lives. Every single girl had her own personality and likes and even though they were all very different from each other, their circumstances brought them together and made them a true family.

What makes me sad is that this book had so much potential to be incredible. The story itself is actually really good and creative, I just wish the approach was different. I know that this book is part of a series and I’m tempted to pick the next book up just to see how it goes, but I’m not sure for now. Ergh, I really wanted to love this one!

xoxo, Neide

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