Review: Garden of Dreams and Desires by Kristen Painter (Crescent City #3)


Garden of Dreams and Desires by Kristen Painter // VBCGarden of Dreams and Desires (Crescent City #3)
Kristen Painter
Published: Apr. 7, 2015 (Orbit)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books in the series.

A few days have passed since the end of City of Eternal Night and Augustine’s main objective remains freeing Harlow from possession by her dead twin Ava Mae. But his Guardian duties are threatening to interfere as tourists start disappearing and the NOPD needs his help. One of the missing is the son of a senator with strong anti-othernatural views who can make life miserable for the Fae. Meanwhile, new coven leader Giselle and her sister are working on a chaos spell that would allow them to take over the city.

The story in Garden of Dreams and Desires is both too much and too little. I feel like this could have been two books that got combined. It has three major villains, and a few minor ones, each of whose plots could have been developed more. Nothing really grabbed my interest in any of their stories and most of them didn’t really get what they deserved. It felt kind of like a to do list: 1. Defeat Ava Mae 2. Defeat witches, etc.

I knew that Harlow would get free of her sister. (I don’t think that’s really a spoiler. It happens fairly early on.) And I knew more or less how that would happen, so there were no surprises there. I did like that she really came into her own afterward. She gains confidence and fully participates in, even sometimes leading, the investigation. And she gets to show off her computer skills and her new found Fae powers. This is the heroine I wanted her to be all along.

I also like Augustine’s lieutenants and the rest of the supporting cast so I was happy to see them get a good amount of time on the page. But I wish they had more to do—more action and more banter. I don’t know if I would have cared about Cy and Dulcinea if I hadn’t met them in the previous books.

I loved the earlier books in the series so I’m kind of disappointed with this ending. Olivia’s end in particular is less than satisfying. It does feel open-ended enough that Kristen Painter could return to this world, so maybe novellas about the secondary characters could round out the story some day. I’m glad that I know how it all ends. I just wish there had been some surprises along the way.

Sexual content: kissing

6 Responses to “Review: Garden of Dreams and Desires by Kristen Painter (Crescent City #3)”

  1. Amy says:

    I just started reading this one. I always felt the House of Comarre series was packed too full of storylines. I liked that this spin-off series was only going to be three books and it seemed (at least in the first two books) that Ms. Painter had narrowed down her character POVs which I was very much happy with.

    Even not being too far into the book, I already get a sense of too much going on which is a shame, but it still seems (based on your review) that it’s a pretty good read.

    I like that you mention about Harlow getting free from Ava Mae early on because honestly I’m already ready for that storyline to be finished 🙂

    • Margaret says:

      I agree that having fewer POVs made this series more accessible. I just loved the world and all the magic that was possible with the Fae, witches and voodoo practitioners all together.

      She had originally planned five books but the publisher didn’t pick up the option for four and five, so I wonder if more got squeezed in to this one.

  2. I listened to the first two books in this series, and I found out that this one will not be on audio. It makes it hard to change formats after two books. I hope to get to this one to finish out the series. I hate that it sounds like they took two books worth of material and put it into one book.Three villains in one book does seem like a lot. Thanks for the great and honest review.

    • Margaret says:

      I think a lot of reviewers have been doing this series on audio. I wonder if they’ll go back and do audio if enough people request it?

  3. I felt similarly about this one; it could easily have been two books, and it was more of a checklist than a full bodied story. There were also too many questions leftover for me to feel satisfied by the conclusion to Painter’s trilogy.

    • Margaret says:

      I agree. Lots of unresolved issues, especially with Lally, for me. But I felt like it was leaving the door open to return to this world. Even if that wasn’t deliberate, I’m choosing to believe it. The only one that really bugs me is Olivia.

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