Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mendoza in Hollywood (aka. At the Edge of the West) by Kage Baker
This is the third offering in The Company Series and my second read of Kage Baker. I skipped Sky Coyote because I enjoy the Mendoza character and wanted to get more of her, but if I continue reading this I think I'll have to begin now to read them in order or things may not work out well. I'm getting a sense of this being one rather epic story being told in several novel size chunks. Based on some comments about that last few books in the series I would have to say that the only way I'll be able to judge properly is to try to get the entire picture in order to understand the ending of the series. In the final analysis of this novel I still have to say I'm hooked on the Mendoza character and would have liked to have been assured that she had a greater part in the remaining parts of the story.
I love my fiction character driven, and that's what makes this and the Garden of Iden outstanding as novels. The story and plot in each seems somewhat incomplete although there is still that flavor of completeness extant. Unfortunately both novels have the tragic romance as the main arc in each; although there are differences in the loves she has, even if they could be twins.
Upon having her first lover discover she's an immortal Cyborg and having him decide she's a devil and trying to take her with him when he allows himself to be burned to death for his overzealous religious convictions, Mendoza is content to stay clear of mortals. Unfortunately she keeps having nightmares that her lover is returning to her; and in most cases he's attempting to finish the job of killing her. Only her nightmares might be something more to do with Chrome radiation she emits that causes a distortion in time. When the twin to her lover shows up, over 150 years after the first is burned to death, she tries to be cautious about falling in love again; but fate won't let her off that easy.
Though the story takes place mostly in the area that will one day be Hollywood and there are allusions to the streets and structures that will some day be in specific spots, there is one chapter that confused me a bit--meaning I may have missed something and I hope it wasn't important. Though it is 1862; Mendoza and her companions are all Cyborgs created by the people from the future who were originally testing immortality by altering non-significant people through out the ages in the past (what better way to do so than to go back in time and change people then check up on them in the future when you return). The Cyborgs are also then enlisted to secretly store things from the past that are known to have gone extinct or disappeared and caching them away for the Company. They also are trained in a facility that has many future features, so thus acquainted; it makes sense that they would have movie nights through the delivery of movies from the future. I'm not sure why, though, the movie Intolerance by David Ward Griffith ends up being discussed in length as they watch it.
To get back to the story--at some point Mendoza realizes that this incarnation of her lover, though not as likely to have as adverse a reaction to finding out she's a Cyborg, does have a fatal flaw. His overwhelming dedication to his work makes her think he would have made a better Cyborg for the Company than she is. The rest of the story from here on seems to both complete the tragedy and contribute to foreshadowing the future. Too much discussion would spoil things and this novel bears reading..
Kage Bakers blend of wry humor and historical references as before makes this a singular and entertaining read.
This is a great SFF read for fans of Historical fiction and Time travel novels along with Romance (mostly those who don't mind the bit of tragic romance.)
View all my reviews