Book Review: Everyone Dies in the Garden of Syn (The Garden of Syn Book 2) by Michael Seidelman

Shocked by horrifying secrets, in danger, and trying to keep a promise to someone who helped her, Syn made some mistakes and had to flee the Garden. But someone she cares about is being held captive, and she'll have to return for a rescue mission with the help of her friends, despite the Garden no longer having its mysterious healing powers.

Title: Everyone Dies in the Garden of Syn
Book Number: Book 2
Pages: 221
My Rating: 3 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*

Sometimes when you read a series, your tastes change between books, and I wonder if maybe that’s what happened here since I didn’t feel as gripped by this one. There were still aspects that I enjoyed though!

I thought the story itself was good and really creative. Alternate/parallel universes can be cool to read about, and we even got some backstory and explanation about the Garden and different things in it. Although the whole book had fairly good, balanced pacing, I got more into it as it went on and the pace got faster. There was also a twist in this one that I did not see coming.

I also yet again loved the chronic illness representation! The main character has cystic fibrosis, and she had realistic and serious symptoms that persisted throughout the whole book, but the book wasn’t about her illness. Syn still had these wild adventures and went to other worlds and fought baddies, she just also took pills and did treatments and had the occasional hospital stay and had additional struggles that healthy people wouldn’t. This is exactly the kind of disability rep I would love to see more of. (Just a note, I do not have experience with cystic fibrosis, but I’ve seen other reviews for this series written by people who do, such as this one, say positive things about the rep.)

The problem for me was that there was a lot of telling, and I had issues with things characters said and did not always seeming very believable. I think teenage me, who was more of a plot-driven reader, would’ve liked this more though, what with all the action and the interesting sci-fi/fantasy aspects. So this might simply be a case of the book being better suited for younger audiences than what I normally read, or simply not being entirely to my tastes.

Overall, even though I had some issues, I still enjoyed the creativity of the story and premise, and I loved the disability rep!


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  1. Greg

    That’s pretty awesome about the disability rep, and cystic fibrosis isn’t something you see repped very often (at least I don’t think so?). Glad you enjoyed it even if it wasn’t entirely satisfying- I’ve had that too where I’ve really liked a book one and somewhere along the line I’m less enthused when book two hits. Tastes change between books… that might be a good way to put it. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      No, I haven’t seen it often either. I think this might be the only SFF book I know of w/ CF. But yeah, it was still enjoyable, even if my tastes did change some 🙂

  2. Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)

    Great to find an accurate disability rep in this genre so a shame it didn’t live up to the first in the series. I sometimes wonder if authors’ first books take more effort over a longer time, but when they’re successful their publisher wants the sequel out too quickly?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think that might very well be the case sometimes. This is self-pub and took a couple years to come out though, so in this case I think it’s more likely my tastes changing.

  3. Karen

    Despite the issues you had – it still sounds like there’s a lot of great things in this one Kristen.

    I find my tastes changing a lot over the years. That’s why I’m a little afraid to reread favorites. If they don’t hold up I’ll be crushed lol

    But on the other side of it – I’ve been enjoying books lately that I know I would have thrown at a wall just a year ago 🙂

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, there were some good things still 🙂

      It’s so weird to think about how much our enjoyment of a book is affected by when in our life we read it! I have reread books, even just a year or two apart, loved them the first time, disliked them the second. And I know I’ve read books that I’m glad I waited to read because I wouldn’t have liked them had I read them any sooner.

  4. Olivia Roach

    I know what you mean about your tastes changing between reading sequels to books. I actually have that feeling with a MG fantasy series at the moment. The biggest change is that I stopped reading MG but since the first book was 5 stars I hoped it was going to help me get back into MG xD We shall see. I love this book title. Also, I am glad the representation for chronic illness is done so well, but it also isn’t the main subject of the book! I think it’s great to start normalising illnesses that way.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It does happen sometimes. But who knows, maybe your love for the series will overcome the fact that you no longer read middle grade! I really do love the chronic illness rep in this series!