Melissa 's Reviews > Gardener, The

Gardener, The by S.A. Bodeen
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Mason has a hero complex and when a video of his father reading The Runaway Bunny wakes a beautiful girl from her coma who has been institutionalized in the nursing home where his mother works, Mason feels that he has to help the girl escape this place she fears so much. Now he finds himself in a whole host of trouble being chased by those who want the girl back so badly, and from a man the girl only knows as “The Gardener.”

This novel is fast paced and exciting, but unfortunately it falls a little flat. I found myself wishing for better character development and overall, just more details. The pacing makes up for that to some degree, and the action and pacing would make it interesting for reluctant readers.

We are told Mason has a bit of a hero complex. He is always wanting to save somebody, perhaps because of his experience as a child. I felt that most of the characters, with the exception of Mason however, are stock characters and not terribly developed. I was always wanting to know more throughout this novel. So many of the adults have secret lives with the company in the novel and you really don’t understand their motivations. Mason’s love for the girl was also a sticking point with me, because he doesn’t even really know her or who she is, just as she isn’t completely aware of who she is. I did like Mason as a character, but overall the characters just don’t connect with the audience. The dialogue between the characters was okay, but sometimes it felt rushed like the momentum of the story was forcing out the big revelations at such a fast pace that you only got a page or two dedicated the the mysteries that surround the girl and the story.

The audio version produced by Brilliance Audio and performed by Luke Daniels was well done, but there were moments when I felt that the narrator was too old to be narrating the voice of a 15 year old. Otherwise the production is well done, and a good way to read this book. It is only 5 CDs long which makes it a relatively quick book to listen to.

Overall, this book is entertaining, but like so many action packed movies out there it lacked depth. You are grabbed from the beginning and pulled through the novel at a relentless pace, but below the surface you won’t find much detail. I wish there was more back story, and found myself wanting to know more about TroDyn and especially the parents, but alas it just wasn’t there. Because of the action, this book will appeal to boys and your reluctant readers and it is, despite its flaws, a fun story.

Cautions for sensitive readers: Mild sci fi horror, and some violence.
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