In the Garden of Iden

Kage Baker
In the Garden of Iden Cover

Cyborg immortality turned into stale romance


Cyborg immortals! Time travel! A ruthless corporation that acquires goods lost to time in order to turn a profit! What exciting concepts to squander away on a boring Elizabethan love story. It's like your five year-old daughter breaking into your collection of Terminator action figures and sitting them down for tea and biscuits with Barbie.

The novel was off to a great start, with a Spanish girl being saved in extremis from the Spanish Inquisition, bent on torturing her for allegedly being a secret Jew. But somehow, over the course of the next chapters, the girl Mendoza went from a poor Spanish girl to a spoiled contemporary teenage brat with a distaste for humanity.

The events after that just bored me to tears. There's a love interest who walks in, and he is tall and speaks a few classical languages, and that's enough for Mendoza to fall in love with him. They speak in Latin and Greek to each other. All the while, the cyborgs act like rejects from a time travel reality show by doing stuff like dropping a glossy time traveler magazine in front of her mortal maid.

It's not that I mind romance per se when it's well-written; this one is just not very engaging. Mendoza is not a sympathetic figure, and her love interest is a stiff religious fanatic. When Mendoza falls in love at first sight, we're not even given a reason why she'd feel that way.

Overall, I felt like I was reading an alternate take on Connie Willis's delightful time-traveling historians, but with much less charm and literary merit. Guess the Company isn't for me.