Book Review, Science Fiction

Into the Violet Gardens by Isaac Nasri

The year is 2024. A ruthless cartel dominates Latin America, and the FBI’s Troy Levi gets commissioned to intervene. A cyborg for the bureau’s Virtual Division, Levi delivers a devastating blow to the cartel’s power but encounters a wave of social resentment in the aftermath.

As the people’s feelings for cyborgs grow bitter, former black-op cyborg ally and CIA operative Soriana Salazar finds herself caught between sides. Eliminating the cartel destabilized the region, fueling anti-cyborg sentiments in neighboring countries and afar. But tough decisions await Salazar after civil unrest forces the agency to sever all cyborgs ties. And that’s only the beginning…

Betrayed by the government, hated by the people, a vengeful league of cyborgs spawns a sinister scheme of liberation. And While Levi searches for Solace amid the turmoil and Salazar seeks balance, both will have to take a grave stand if they hope to stall the impending chaos.

This story was mixed feelings for me. For the first half, it was confusing and extremely hard to get into. There were some description paragraphs that were oddly written and I either had to reread them several times or skip them because they made no sense. The second half flowed better and more natural, but there were still some of the paragraph issues. What pulled my concentration out of the story was also the mix of fonts. I do not know if it was for effect, but the way the fonts kept changing made no sense and I kept losing focus. The pacing for this type of story was quick and fast pace, which is perfect for this style of writing.

FBI’s Troy Levi was an interesting protagonist. I do not think he was as flushed out as he could be, but given this was not a long story, the author wrote Troy well enough to get by with. I did like Troy as a character, but because of my confusion during the first half, I did not feel as if I cared enough about his arc like he deserved. The love story arc, for Troy, felt it came out of nowhere in the second half, but it did not feel forced.

There was so much going on at the start of the story, characters being introduced were a bit confusing. Because of this, it was hard to build relationships with some characters and care about what becomes of them at the end. But there were a few who the readers could connect with. With them, there was some character growth, and they were more well-rounded. These characters helped Troy and the story move forward.

What makes us human? This was one of, if not, the biggest, theme throughout this story. The author gives their interpretation of what makes us human, and they did that extremely well. Emotions from both cyborgs (or virtuals as they are also called) and humans are felt and seen. Sometimes there were androids thrown into the middle.

The story’s setting is the not too far off real world. What the author did well was the world building. There was some confusion about mixing the words virtual and cyborg. In the same paragraphs, the author would simultaneously use both. If the two words were supposed to mean the same, I wish the author would have picked one or the other and changed it in another chapter or several paragraphs later.

This was not a bad story. Some things got a little lost for me. It could be because, again, I am not familiar with this genre. I enjoyed the last half of this story very much. If you love sci-fi, action, cyborgs and dystopian worlds, then this is for you.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion.

I give this book a 3/5

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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