Saturday, 28 February 2015

Review #25 - Garden

Title: Garden
Author: Jane Yates
Publisher: Autumn Orchard
Published: 2015


A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)

Inspired by the classic novel The Secret Garden, Jane Yates introduces us to a steampunk world of bio-domes, robots and mysteries. Garden introduces us eleven-year-old Aberdeen, who is so used to being by herself that all she has to fill her thoughts are stories of mighty dragons and grand castles. Aberdeen's world is soon thrown into disarray however; her parents murdered.

Having no choice, Aberdeen is sent to live with her uncle back on Earth where her fascination into her new surroundings begin to take hold. Untrusting of new people at first, it isn’t long before Aberdeen comes across 3 other children, and taking a risk, befriends them as she tries to adjust to her new home. And yet, along with Maisy, Peter and Lenard, Aberdeen comes across a riddle - a set of clues to reveal the hiding place of a lost manuscript. A manuscript that forces more questions than answers.

Oh, and there’s Frank too, Peter’s robot dog, who completes this special circle of friendship.

Garden is a journey of self-discovery, of trials and friendship. With adventure boundless, Jane Yates follows up her acclaimed Paradox Child trilogy with a new tale for young fans of steampunk and science fiction.

About the Author;

Jane lives in the historic city of Oxford, England with her two spaniels. She works at the Pitt Rivers museum there too and is amazed and inspired by its wondrous array of objects. Being a museum of anthropology and world archaeology, Jane often finds herself influenced by its exhibitions. And indeed it had helped Jane write a trilogy for children - the Paradox Child series.

Jane is not only a mother, dreamer, artist and storyteller, but dyslexic too, which only highlights her success even more. Jane refuses to allow the disorder to halt her dreams and continues to enjoy her favourite hobbies.

Jane is a lover of steampunk, adventure and children stories, which often play a huge role in her own books.

My Review;

I was surprised at how much I had in common with the main character, Aberdeen- we both have blue to our hair, we both own a snake, we both love dragons, and we're both pretty terrified of flying. I'm about 90% sure this girl is my narrative twin, haha. I loved it.

Garden was a dazzling retelling of one of my beloved children's books, and I felt Jane did a fantastic job of incorporating elements of science-fiction and steampunk into the story.

As a very-closet lover of steampunk, Garden was the first book I have read within this genre and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think the whole genre is new, revolutionary and fresh; it adds a very much wanted spin to plain science-fiction novels.

Throughout reading, I was constantly amazed by the emotions I kept feeling. I wasn't expecting to laugh as much as I did, or feel so much- well, what's the opposite of Schadenfreude? Schadenfreude is finding joy from other people's misfortune, but with Garden, I was finding joy from Aberdeen's joy. Anti-Schadenfreude, perhaps?

Nevertheless, it made me incredibly happy. I particularly enjoyed the little crush Aberdeen seemed to develop upon Peter, it just made me go 'awww' repeatedly.

One thing I loved was Aberdeen's reasoning behind her self-imposed isolation: 'The environment was alien to her and befriending some stranger wouldn't change that.' A lot of people usually try to find themselves at ease by associating with large groups, but I don't think that would be calming at all in Aberdeen's situation. I was glad she stayed by herself.

But then of course, she met Maisy, and I was very glad- Maisy was a well-rounded character, who really opened up Aberdeen's childish, snappy and bratty personality to a lovely, nice little girl. Not only that, but Maisy (along with her brother Peter) are portrayed as dyslexic, which added a very heart warming touch to the story- it was refreshing to see Maisy so proud of her dyslexia, and able to talk about it without shame or sadness.

Maisy's story telling was fantastic, as well. Especially her first tale, the Dragon Story, made me snort and giggle with the ending. Dragon Story is not you're typical fairy tale, which was brilliant, the sense of humour within this book is really something.

The aspects of planet Earth and the bio-domes was revitalising, giving the story both supernatural and science-fiction elements, presenting the world in near-dystopia.

Aberdeen, once she came out of her shell and became the nice little girl, was very amusing to read. She cared deeply for her new found friends, and her bout of mischievousness was interesting.

All of the characters within Garden had their own quirks; Mrs Merryweather, for example, was strict and horrid on the surface, but as the story continued she warmed up and even began smiling at the children.

I particularly loved the ring, it's description was very beautiful. As was all of the robotic guardians and keepers, in particular Aaron, the garden bird. Though I think my favourite was by far the orrery.

For me, Garden was a fantastic read, and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to do so. Thank you very much, Jane!

My favourite quote;
"And at that very moment, Aberdeen felt as if a soft warm glow of energy moved from the four sculptures in the garden and up towards the sky and out across the world, spreading into the furthest, darkest corners, giving every sick child hope and the will to live magically in their hearts."
Star Rating: 5/5

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  1. Thank you so much Paige. When i saw you had blue hair i thought of Aberdeen, and i giggled with delight at the thought of you being 90 percent the same. Aberdeen does not like flying and i had to imagine that part as i love it, and have even had a few lessons flying a small plane.
    I was really very pleased with you detailed review, especially with you picking up that I was being positive about dyslexia. That bit i did not imagine as i am dyslexic, but you might be interested to know that Masiy is based on a real sixteen year old dyslexic girl, also called Masiy. And she read every chapter as i wrote it and offered ideas and encouragement.
    I am totally thrilled that you liked Garden Paige, and thank you full heartily for taking the time to write such a full and splendid review. thank you again, smile jane

    1. I'm very pleased that you're a fan of the review :-)
      That's interesting about the plane, it sounds like a lot of fun! Congratulations on achieving that. That's so lovely, basing your character off of someone you know in real life.
      Thank you for commenting, and for letting me read your special book!