Book Review: Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Publisher: Orbit

Publishing Date: January 2018

ISBN:9780316517911

Genre: Fantasy/Steampunk

Rating: 5.0/5

Publishers Description: The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of luxury and menace, of unusual animals and mysterious machines. Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants. Senlin is determined to find Marya, but to do so he’ll have to navigate madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassins, and the illusions of the Tower. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just endure.

Review: Wow. I really don’t know where to start. This was an epic ride that takes you from the bowels of humanity and thrusts you to emotive heights both wondrous  and compelling. A sometimes stark look at desperation and the lengths people take to ensure survival.

Senlin is a principled and straitlaced teacher with high moral accountability i.e. he and his wife are prey where the inhabitants of the Tower are concerned.  What follows is Senlin’s rise in the Tower to find his stolen wife while keeping his morality intact less he become like most of the wretched beings that ply their trade in and around the Tower.

The writing is just dam fantastic. Senlin and the other characters he meets along the way grow superbly with the movement. World building? Fug me. I swear I was there along side Senlin while he was trapped in a Tower cage with a lovely actress or fighting pirates on an airship while stealing a portion of their shipment. I was never happier when characters  that I thought were lost to death or left behind in a lower level to await misery, reappeared, transformed by their trials and travails.  Like welcoming a friend home you have not seen in years. The story line is simple and allows for miraculous and surprising twist and turns while enabling characters to literally jump off the page.

It is a rare occurrence when a novel drives me into the wee hours of the morning to finish. I liked it even better knowing I had the sequel to this masterpiece. If you like high adventure and daring-do set in a steampunk atmosphere………GET THIS!!!!

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One thought on “Book Review: Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

  1. Nice one!
    I’m rather sorry now I didn’t decide for it on Netgalley… I’ll check if it’s still available.. sounds like one not to miss!

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