D.L. Morrese's Reviews > In the Garden of Iden

In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker
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's review
Jul 16, 11

really liked it
Read in July, 2011

The first of Kage Baker’s Company novels is part science fiction, part romance, part historical fiction, and part YA coming of age story. It follows the rescue of Mendoza, a young Spanish peasant girl, from the Inquisition through the completion of her first assignment as an immortal cyborg for the Company at the age of nineteen in Bloody Queen Mary’s England in the mid sixteenth century. Summarizing the plot would be a spoiler, but suffice it to say that Mendoza’s attitude about humanity is adversely affected by her experience as a doomed prisoner of the Inquisition, and she feels conflicted about her attraction to a mortal man she meets at a small English estate during her assignment there to preserve several plant species from extinction. Through Baker’s first person telling of Mendoza’s emotional and intellectual conflict, she explores big issues of religious faith, intolerance, and prejudice. But despite the focus on these dark aspects of human behavior, it carries an overall optimistic tone and mood. Yes, humans can be irrational, intolerant, and cruel but they can overcome these things--eventually. This overlying optimism and the story’s theme of eventual human betterment are what make this book most enjoyable to me. That said, I can see where some will not like it. This is not hard Sci-Fi, which focuses on technology, and not even typical soft Sci-Fi, which focuses on the “soft” sciences of psychology, anthropology, sociology, etc. A lot of the story is conveyed by the romance between Mendoza and the young man, Nicholas. If romance is an immediate turn off for you, as it seems to be for some Sci-Fi readers, you won’t like this book. Also, it comes down hard on religiously motivated intolerance, so if you think of the Spanish Inquisition as the good old days and long for its return, you won’t like it either. But for others, this is a good read and I recommend it.

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