A woman blinded by life …
The human population of the 23rd century is dying. As an honored Healer and the Chief Administrator to the largest hospital in the capital city, JAHARA KHATERI has successfully avoided her obligation to mate with a male and fulfill the archaic laws of procreation. But with her 30th birthday fast approaching—time has run out.
A man working for change …
BRENIMYN is a gifted breeding instructor at the Garden of Serenity. Enslaved by the government and forced to submit to all females who request his services, he’s searching for the one woman strong enough to lead a revolution. When Brenimyn is paired with Jahara, he wonders if his instant reaction to her is a desperate attempt to fulfill his destiny or if he’s truly found his soul mate.
Two people willing to die for their love …
When Brenimyn shows Jahara the ways of the ancients, she can no longer deny that theirs is a world gone horribly wrong. As the bond between their hearts grows stronger, Jahara realizes she wants nothing more than to stand at Brenimyn’s side and lead the people of the Garden into a fight for monumental change. But the government finds their loving relationship a threat to their hierarchy and they will stop at nothing to keep these two rebels from succeeding in bringing about a new world order.
Rating: 4 stars
GARDEN OF SERENITY is a compelling adult dystopian, and it revolves around the theme of gender inequality. This time, however, it’s the males who are at the bottom of the social structure, being relegated to the role of breeder and laborer. While women are the ones who hold the important positions in society and move the world forward.
At the center of this is a government order for all women to take two years off to breed, to combat the dying population. They are sent to the Garden of Serenity, where the male breeders live. Women have the right to choose whichever male–or <i>males</i>–they want to breed with, and whether or not to leave their children behind when the two years are up.
Dr. Jahara Khateri has put off the inevitable for a long time, until finally she has no choice but to go to the Garden, thereby being of a more advanced age than the other girls. Though she has had prior relationships with other women, the head male breeder Brenimyn affects her like no other.
Brenimyn, on the other hand, has been waiting for a strong woman like Jahara to lead them in a revolution to change the world order, a world where men and women are equals…
Nina Pierce delivered a suspenseful, erotic read that twists and turns. The stunning revelations also came thick and fast. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, she reveals another surprise, creating depth and substance to the story. In a way, it is also deeply moving and profound, and it makes the reader think and reflect on the real world, how no matter how much we say we are living in modern times and that the world has changed so much, gender inequality is still very much a part of us.
While Jahara and Brenimyn are the main characters leading the change, the charge and the romance, the novel wouldn’t have been possible or the revolution successful without the secondary characters, some of whom stood out due to their complexity.
Jahara starts out uncertain and passive, though with moments of “rebellion”. Understandable, as she didn’t wish to be at the Garden, and also because Brenimyn unnerves her and throws everything she knows into question. She comes into her own when she realizes her feelings for Brenimyn, and that’s when she starts to shine.
However, I did think that the events in the first half of the book moved too fast and the revelations came too soon, and subsequently, some of Jahara’s behavior wasn’t that believable. True, she doesn’t espouse the prejudices that most of the women harbor against males, and maybe being a healer helped in that. However, it still is a big leap from that to being the face of the revolution, even with Brenimyn at her side. But there was no protest from her, no hesitation or doubt, just acceptance (though reluctant), and that didn’t quite ring true.
Brenimyn is a great hero–strong, idealistic and determined. His most enduring characteristic is his patience–waiting for three long years while secretly planning and educating people. While it’s great to see a hero so in love with the heroine, even the first of the two to realize it and declare it so, sometimes I wonder if the person he loved is the woman in front of him or the woman he envisions.
The story moved along at a clip pace, and I liked that there was a balanced mix of erotic sexiness, suspense and action.
That said, the story could do with another sweep for grammatical errors, but it didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the story. If you like your romance spicy and the dystopian setting, don’t miss GARDEN OF SERENITY!
My first review for the year! 🙂
Update: This is to fulfill the Full House Reading Challenge – Published in 2014, as this was published in September 2014.