*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!
Fans of Book 1 in Michael Seidelman's Garden of Syn series. Anyone who likes young adult, parallel universes, creative premises, and chronic illness rep.