Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, Book 1)
The Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel, Book 2)
The Hod King (The Books of Babel, Book 3)
The Fall of Babel (The Books of Babel, Book 4)
By: Josiah Bancroft
My Rating: FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS
Best For: Advanced 14 and up
Thus ends the most brilliant fantasy adventure you’ve never read
Oh gosh, I loved this series. Why haven’t you read it yet?
Once could be an accident. Twice could be luck. Three times is a trend. Four times is a fact.
The Books of Babel is one of the best fantasy series written. But is it fantasy? A mystery? Or steam punk? A little bit science fiction? It is character driven? Or is it plot driven? Is it a fun adventure? Or is it an epic love story? Is it serious? Or is it comedy? Yes. Yes and yes. It’s all of those, literally. It’s the book equivalent of “What Does the Fox Say”–it’s crazy and odd and you can’t stop reading it. Honestly, it’s the most original thing I’ve read since Bilbo found that ring. It’s stunning and strange and reading it made me so, so happy.
Book 1, Senlin Ascends, was (incredibly) Josiah Bancroft’s first book–an indie darling that spread like wildfire by word-of-mouth. It was eventually picked up by Orbit and found it’s way to the masses in 2013. I didn’t get my hands on it until 2018, just before book 3 was published. It’s been a bit of a wait, but now I’ve read book four and the story is finished.
Ahhhhh. (That’s a very satisfied sigh!)
Book 1 introduces us to this world of some time past, where the Towel of Babel isn’t just Biblical…it’s the cultural, financial, and thought center of the world. To most, the Tower and its fabled wonders, riches, and treasures are a mystery; a wonder of the world that inspires imagination in children and passion in adults.
How tall is it really? No one knows. No one has ever seen the top.
Want to visit? Take your life savings and make the trip.
What to do when you get there? Don’t worry, the travel guide books will tell you everything you need to know.
Maybe go for your honeymoon? That’s what our hero, Thomas Senlin decided to do. He’s dull and stiff, boring and proper, as naïve as a small town school master can be..
Of course, this is the Tower of Babel we’re talking about.
Minutes off the train, Senlin and his newlywed bride are separated in a mass of humanity. Poor Senlin learns quickly the Tower is nothing like he imagined as he ascends the unascendable tower in search of his lost beloved.
Surprise: the Tower of Babel, wonder of the world, isn’t the center of all things glorious…it’s the center of all things wrong with humanity.
How broken do you have to be before you can rise? Senlin’s about to find out. And we get to spend four glorious books with Senlin as he travels the huge-beyond-imagination-of-scale Tower, desperate to be reunited with his beloved. Along the way we get to learn the secrets of the Tower–which I know since I just finished book 4, The Fall of Babel. Trust me. You’re going to want to learn the secrets too.
Senlin Ascends is packed full of some of the most clever writing I’ve ever read. The creativity in this world is absolutely off the charts. The characters are outstanding, and you’re going to become emotionally invested in every one. There are layers to this story…short story arcs embedded in longer, and those are embedded in something grand. This is mystery, fantasy, and steampunk. You think you have it figure out, only to discover you swallowed the bait in a long-con long ago. You know nothing.
Except that this series is incredible, and when you’ve finally scaled the Tower and forced it to reveal its secrets, you’re going to only want one thing: MORE.
Content appropriate for all ages, but it is quite complex. Not sure what dictionary Josiah Bancroft uses, but it’s not the same one I used when I was in school. There is some really, really smart word use in these books. All four books are best for advanced readers 14 and up.
Highly recommend. You’re going to need to read The Books of Babel.