Jeannie Mancini's Reviews > The Gardener

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
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's review
Jun 05, 2010

really liked it

Future Steps in Evolution for the Fate of Mankind

Although S.A. Bodeen’s new sci-fi thriller The Gardener is somewhat predictable in its plot layout due to the cover subtitle blurb telling you outright what the story entails, and is formulaic in its execution, this new novel is still an outstanding science fiction read for teens and adults alike. This thought provoking book allows the reader to think ahead to the future of the human race and to the many problems our descendants will face regarding declining food supplies caused by the increasing warnings of global warming and over population that are rapidly depleting the world’s resources.

Mason, a 15 year old biology enthusiast is raised in Oregon by a single mom who works at a mysterious facility called The Haven of Peace in which Mason has always been led to believe was a rest home for the elderly. He never knew his dad, the only experience of his father he ever had was a short home movie on a DVD that his mother gave him, that shows his faceless father reading to him from a children’s book, The Runaway Bunny.

One night while visiting his mom for the first time at the Haven, he finds a group of comatose like teenagers being cared for by his mother. As she steps away for a minute leaving Mason alone, one of the young girls wakes up while Mason is passing the time watching is dad’s DVD. The girl seems to have reacted and awoken by listening to the words from Runaway Bunny. Laila, an angelic like teenager girl, fascinates Mason, and as she comes to life she pleads with him to take her away from there, to help her escape, that the “Gardener is coming!”

From this point on this creative young adult novel becomes a fast-paced sci-tech thrill ride as Mason and his best friend Jack, hijack Laila to a mountain cabin and soon realize they have gotten in over their heads and have embarked on a terrifying journey into the world of genetic engineering, and a lab experiment gone haywire created by scientists hell-bent on solving the problem of future starvation on planet Earth. As both Mason and Laila uncover horrifying mysteries surrounding both their pasts that reveal clues of their parents startling involvement with a company called TroDyn, the reader is caught up in issues of right and wrong, morals and values amidst the world of biology and genetics, and will wonder just what is ethical when planning the future survival of our children and the generations to come.

The Gardener is enjoyable, fun, well written and creative. I give it high points for innovation alone. And, it appears, for once, a stand-alone book and not an installment of a multi-book series which in itself is a breath of fresh air!

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