While reading the book I was thinking, this can't be, Max Mann is a celebrated chef why would he do such a thing. These guys are adults, this is not the way adults behave. Then this is not really that impossible, we do hear horror stories of bullying all the time especially when one has unlimited power over his/her domain. Kitchen is Max's domain, he does what he wants with his staff. Nobody can fight against it, if they do, they are finished.
The successful could be mean or bad-mannered, but we give them the respect they deserve as long as they made it through hard work. We don't really like people who take shortcuts to success, all those who make it big with no hardwork or long hours. When Killian tries a shortcut to success, we don't grudge him, we want him to prove to the Max Mann's of the world that it is not okay to torture others. They are your apprentices, not somebody you can 'feed shit', (that's exactly what Max does). But from the beginning we realise that Killian is messed up and there will be no happy ending. We are like Mr.Mayle, Killian's teacher and Mentor, who wants the talented often victimized Killian to prove to the world that he can do it. But at moments like when he insults Mr. Mayle in the Kitchen when he presents the Saucier Award to him, we realise that Killian will not turn out to be the hero we would look up to. The herbs the Killian uses are just a way to change the balance of scales to show us what Killian is capable of.
This is a horror story with magical herbs in a hidden garden, with a touch of supernatural with a fly hovering over most of the book and the kind of things we see in the climax of a horror movie. But this is also the story of horror of how ambition makes a talented and nice man into a monster, how somebody who fights for the oppressed becomes the oppressor. A gripping story of horror kitchens!
Disclaimer: I received a free ebook in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.