Title: Into the Violet Gardens
Author: Isaac Nasri
Publisher: Independently published
Genre: Science Fiction, Cyberpunk
First Publication: 2021
Book Summary: 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.
Book Review: Into the Violet Gardens by Isaac Nasri
“Whether forged from metal or born of flesh, one simple need connects every form of life… the unquenchable thirst for freedom.”
–The Outer Limits’s episode The Human Operators.
Gritty, suspenseful and definitely one of those “what if” stories, Into the Violet Gardens by Isaac Nasri has pretty much stripped the glamor of a future filled with robotic beings to its core. The story is set in year 2024. A cold-blooded cartel has taken over Latin America. The bureau’s virtual team gives Levi, a cyborg on the team, the mission to deal with them. The impact Levi has on the cartel is devastating, but the aftermath generates social resentment. Soriana, a CIA operative, steps in to ameliorate the anti-cyborg sentiment and to improve the agency’s relations with the cyborgs. As things go bad to worse, the cyborgs seek liberation, and you get to experience a completely different perspective that was fascinating to read.
Author’s attention to the tensions between humans and cyborgs is interesting because it raises questions about what makes us truly human and separates us from machines. It also mirrors broader concerns about otherness in the form of minorities, immigrants, and divisions of social class. Humans are suspicious of cyborgs and harbor resentment toward them and this resentment is treated fairly sympathetically throughout the novel.
The book’s strength lies in its exploration of diverse themes and it could appeal to people of a variety of interests. Topics include mathematics, physics, sociology, psychology, ethics, humanity, individualism, community, nostalgia, colonization, politics, and more. Some of the book’s ideas are put forth in a straightforward manner, but many more are allowed to develop through discussions and conflicts between characters in the story. The world unfolds in a relaxed and conversational way, so it is enjoyable while also instructive, and the unfolding allows you to feel like you are considering all of the ideas yourself as they are presented.
The science fiction element was masterfully crafted in this book and you can tell that Isaac Nasri has a passion for writing Sci-Fi. I loved that everything was so detailed so I didn’t feel left out with any of the elements during the book and the pacing felt perfect for every moment. The world and ideas were so simple and yet interwoven so wonderfully that I relished in getting to know more about the systems and ways this new world was existing.
On the surface, it’s an exciting, tightly plotted and nicely conceived police procedural and standard mystery set in a fascinating futuristic setting with a completely unexpected ending twist. On a deeper level, it’s a foreboding, grim, bleak look at the imagined social future of mankind. Whether read in terms of a human/machine future or in terms of contemporary politics and otherness, this is a promising and hopeful vision of future cooperation. Into the Violet Gardens by Isaac Nasri has great characters, great start for a new human-machine dilemma, perfect ending and enjoyable for both crime thriller and hard sci-fi readers.