In the Garden of Iden – Kage Baker

Historical, sci-fi fiction. My favourite. I was so so excited about reading this and from the first page I was hooked. It was just after Henry the 8th and this was a perfect tie in for me, as I had just finished reading ‘Bess of Hardwick’ – which was wonderful – so I had a lot of context for the book. The main protagonist was female, another plus, plus we had the tie in religious debate to an extent, so it ticked a lot of boxes for me. So why 3 stars I hear you ask? Well, I felt as though the story overall did not fulfil its promise.

I felt as though a lot of the book was about a love story, which I can enjoy, but I wanted to know more about the characters, their backgrounds, ‘The Company’, and while it did partially deliver it felt lacking and it really dragged in places. The last third to a quarter I was basically skim reading just to get to the end. Having read a couple of other sites about the book, I established that you do get a lot more background to the formation of ‘The Company’, how it came to be, what it is, what the mystery is, and I will definitely be reading the next one in the series – sample already downloaded to my kindle – I just felt that more could have been done with the premise in this book.

What I did really enjoy, however, was that the main protagonist was very real and very relatable. She is set up as this immortal being, stuffed with knowledge, yet she was still flawed, still unknowing, and making all the mistakes we all make. She was learning life lessons, rather than simply full of rational, objective knowledge. I was rooting for her the whole way through, and wanting to slap some sense into her – because clearly, I am so wonderfully wise myself *ahem*.

There were a couple of bits I thought didn’t make sense. For example, the protagonist and her colleagues were able to talk psychically and could link into each others thoughts in times of high tension, but there was one particular part where a colleague from outside their project came to visit and drop off a radio disguised as a relic. Instead of simply transmitting their thought into their minds that there was a radio embedded in, they instead had a convoluted conversation and then switched the radio on – set at a frequency that mortals can’t hear – to resolve the issue. That quite annoyed me, I like consistency! Why make something more complicated than it needs to be, simply as a dramatic device?

Overall, I did really enjoy this book, and as I said I will be reading the next one, so fingers crossed it gets better from here on out and that it answers more of my questions and adds a bit more intrigue!


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