Vain Lily Blackwood and her shy brother Silas wonder if their family will ever settle in one place long enough to lead a normal life. When a mysterious stranger arrives claiming to be their uncle, they discover their parents have been hiding a secret that turns their world upside down.The two are kidnapped to Nightfall Gardens, the family’s ancestral home, a place shrouded in ancient mystery, where they meet their dying grandmother and learn of an age-old curse placed on Blackwood females.Lily must take over as protector of the house and three haunted gardens that hold mythical beasts, fairy-tale nightmares and far worse. If she doesn’t, the evil trapped there will be unleashed and bring on a new dark age.While she deals with malevolent ghosts inside the house, Silas is put to work in the gardens, where one wrong step means death.Along the way, they search to unlock the secrets of the house and to stop the creatures in the gardens before time runs out and the world is destroyed.
I usually read YA books, but I also have a love for MG. This is a very very very dark MG book! But I loved it!
Lily and Silas Blackwood's family is constantly moving from place to place, running various 'pathetic' plays. When a mysterious uncle shows up, one Lily and Silas knew nothing about, wanting to take Lily away, things change completely. It turns out that the Blackwood family is related to Pandora and since she opened the box, all the females in the family have to watch over Nightfall gardens and the horrors Pandora unleashed. Now, their grandmother (that, again, they never knew) is dying and Lily has to take her place. The siblings now have to face the horrors of the gardens and prevent the horrors from making it out into the real world.
The world-building and imagination involved in creating this book is amazing and I was fully able to imagine this horrible environment! I also liked how there was somewhat of a basis of mythology from multiple cultures added into the book. And the gardens are so very very creepy!
As for characters, there is a large handful. Lily and Silas are obviously the main characters and we get to switch every so often. Sometimes we see Lily in the mansion and sometimes we see Silas in the garden (as the men in the family are not allowed to be at the mansion). The two have their own flaws and, as siblings, do have points when they act as if they dislike each other, but they obviously do care about each other. There is also a large amount of supporting characters--some good, some not--but all fit well into the story!
Very dark but great start to a new series! If you enjoy dark, gothic books then I strongly suggest picking this book up!