I received this book from simon_saysuk.
Thomas's grandmother has died, leaving him a mysterious box. After her funeral, Thomas is introduced to a strange and magical garden. Four years later he becomes an apprentice for Mr. Constantine - a chemist. There he learns about the Guild of Medical Herbalists and their very special boxes. In the midst of this discovery the members of the Guild diminish as someone begins killing them off.
This was a very interesting book. The concept of the gardens reminded me of the Ephemera books by Anne Bishop. It was difficult for my mind to separate the two at times. I didn't find the continuity to be jumpy, as some reviewers did. I thought that with an exception or two, it flowed well and always kept my interest. For most of the book I had the wrong character pegged as the villain. I'm usually pretty good at picking them out, so it was nice to be surprised.
I thought this was a little dark for a young adult novel. The back proclaims "11+" but I'm not sure my almost twelve year old niece would be quite ready for it. There is a fair amount of doom-and-gloom, but it certainly would have appealed to me as a young adult.