Garden of Secrets
Volume 1 of Misselthwaite College
Posted in Book Reviews on April 2, 2023
On the eve of his twentieth birthday, Alistair feels more lonely than ever. His parents are going out, without him. They never take him to any of the parties they go to almost every night. The two hardly interact with Alistair at all. He's had tutors but has never been to school. Then, that night, his parents are killed. When their will is read, it presents Alistair with a choice: He can live on an impossibly small allowance until he's 25, or if Alistair attends Misselthwaite college for a year, he can come into his full inheritance. It seems a simple enough choice, but when Alistair arrives at the manor housing the school, he's confronted with all sorts of new ideas.
There's a passing similarity between the basic plot of this story and That Wizard Franchise that shall not be named. Yes, there's a school full of people with magical powers, wands and all. There is reason to believe that this story may have been inspired by that other series, but Alistair and his classmates are much older than those other kids. This author is also very adept at writing gender-fluid characters, although only one is present in this book.
The narration is entirely from Alistair's point of view. We get to know him quite well as the story unfolds. He grows quite naturally from a shy young man who feels very out of place to someone who gains more and more confidence once he begins to find the right path. It also helps that Alastair starts to make friends among his classmates.
In fact, Alastair makes several friends, and if you've read the author's other books, you probably know where that will lead. It's a much slower burn in this story than in the previous two series. Alastair's new friends, Samal, Thomas, and William, are each distinct individuals that end up bringing their own talents to the relationship.
“Garden of Secrets” is available from Amazon.