Title: Into the Violet Gardens
Author: Isaac Nasri
Genre: Science Fiction
In a dystopian world where humans and cyborgs live side-by-side, the destruction of a well-known drug cartel leads to the eruption of a chain of events with disastrous consequences for man and machine alike. While the fires of prejudice and hatred are stoked into a conflagration that costs thousands of lives, a group of cyborgs must stand strong amidst the chaos in order to restore some semblance of order and normality.
Into The Violet Gardens is science fiction with a capital S. The world-building is characteristic of a dystopian society: instability, corruption, political power plays, combined with technological advancements and futuristic elements. Through it all, however, there was a patina of reality, a sheen of something common, known and familiar, which triggers a sense of recognition among readers, and with it the chilling realization that what is unfolding between these pages is not that far-off from our current reality.
Isaac Nasri’s description and his overall prose were evocative and effortlessly sets the scene for the story. In contrast, the dialogue sometimes felt a bit contracted and stilted, almost robotic. Whether this was an artistic choice to underscore that the central characters were not quite human, or at least regarded as such by the society in which they live, it nevertheless felt like a note that was slightly out of tune from the rest of the harmony.
This is a book with a large cast of characters. It takes skill to give a large cast distinct voices. It took a while for the author to set them apart from each other. The first half of the book sometimes took its time settling and often felt like a blur of faces and mechanical parts. However, Nasri hit his stride in the latter half of the book, just in time for the escalation of tension and the tightening of the string. Never was this more evident than in the characters of Troy, Soriana, and the underrated Eva. Together, these three upped the stakes and secured the emotional investment for the readers.
The pacing was a well-balanced distribution of heart-pounding action and quieter moments of introspection, moments that gave us insight into the central characters’ psyche and strengthened our understanding of the book’s overarching themes of equality, discrimination, and above all, the fight to hold on to one’s humanity.
Some say we are on the brink of human extinction, and that the current rate of progress could be a catalyst to the destruction of our own race. Cyborgs and artificial intelligence: is this what the future looks like? And if so, can we survive it? Into the Violet Gardens asks all those difficult questions, and more. The subtle touches of drama and romance tied up with the blood and gore made it stand out from its peers within the genre. With its careful blend of violence, thrills, and nuanced storytelling, it offers up a story that taps into the very heart of human existence.
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