The Fall of Babel is not just a title; it is a state. A state where the quality of the series ends up.
Josiah Bancroft, please do not read this review. I love your previous books, and I would prefer your memory of my thoughts on your books remains that way; leave it in the state of innocence and happiness just like Senlin before he entered the Tower of Babel. Now, let’s get on with the review.
“You could resent yourself for your imperfect enjoyment of your life, but that seems to me like a never-ending chore. A thankless one, too. I think that if we really knew how good our lives were while they were good, we’d be too scared to do anything, change anything. We’d never take a risk, or explore, or grow. You can hate yourself for not fully appreciating your happy days while you had them, or you could look back and be warmed by the memory, couldn’t you?”
Published: 28th July 2014 by Josiah Bancroft (Self-published) & 22nd August 2017 Orbit Books
Raven’s Shadow by Anthony Ryan, The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan, and now, The Books of Babel by Josiah Bancroft; I’ll be surprised if this series doesn’t end up becoming the next successful self-published to traditionally published fantasy transition.
Arm of the Sphinx is the second book in The Books of Babel series by Josiah Bancroft. The story continues months after the end of the previous book. Each chapter still begins with memorable and philosophical quotes such as:
“We are, each of us, a multitude. I am not the man I was this morning, nor the man of yesterday. I am a throng of myself queued through time. We are, gentle reader, each a crowd within a crowd.”
Published: 2nd June 2020 by Morgan James Fiction (Indie)
This was good, an ambitious SFF debut to what I foresee will be a large series.
Due to my TBR pile that continues to exponentially grow uncontrollably, I have to say that I rarely accept an ARC/review copy from an unknown author these days. My gut, however, told me to accept the request to review Christopher Russell’s debut, Divinity’s Twilight: Rebirth, and I’m glad I gave this one a go. I mean, how could I say no when Russell himself said that he’s a huge fan of The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson; the inspirations from that epic series was evident in his debut. …
The Hod King is Bancroft’s best work so far; a novel that’s stunning in originality enhanced with suspenseful and exciting moments.
Before I start my review, I would like to mention that, if you need a detailed summary of the series so far as I did, check out www.bookseriesrecaps.com for their great plot overviews—tons of spoilers, of course—of both Senlin Ascends and Arm of the Sphinx. I finished reading Arm of the Sphinx in July 2017 and since then I’ve read and reviewed almost 200 novels. Saying that I needed a reread of the series or at least a memory refreshment is a massive understatement. A reread is always preferable but if you’re being crushed by your TBR tower—I know you are—and don’t have the time to reread the series at the moment, this website is your solution; without it, I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate this book without rereading the entire series. For the sake of making this review as spoiler-free as possible, I’ll keep this review shorter than usual and there won’t be any in-world characters’ names mentioned.
“My sense of being, my identity, whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t reside in my parts. It lives in my past, and in the continuity of my present thoughts, and in my hopes for the future. I’m more afraid of losing a memory than a limb.”
The Ace of Skulls gave mostly a satisfying ending to the Tales of the Ketty Jay but as a volume, this was a slight step back in quality.
Tales of the Ketty Jay has always been consistently good from the first book; the third and penultimate book was a huge step up for the series in which almost every element from the previous books was improved efficiently. That’s why it saddened me to say that even though I still loved this one, I didn’t enjoy reading the majority of this book as much as I did before with the previous three books. …
The Iron Jackal greatly built upon the foundations that have been well-established in the first half of the series.
Despite having enjoyed the first half of the quartet, I was getting a bit scared that the fun and enjoyment of the series would start to dwindle in the third and penultimate installment of the series. I’m so glad to be proven wrong, The Iron Jackal ended up being the most fun book in the series so far. Unlike the storytelling structure in the previous two books, The Iron Jackal progressed a bit differently and it’s something I immensely appreciate. Where the first two books were about getting a mission to gain wealth, this book was more of a race against time to save Frey’s own life. It was more intense, more action-packed without neglecting the crucial and great characterizations, and I highly enjoyed reading the book. Don’t get me wrong, as far as predictability, the story was still highly predictable despite the higher stake; no argument from me there. However, everything was just so well-written and well-executed that I just want to continue reading regardless of knowing the outcome. …
This was more or less on the same quality of fun and entertainment of Retribution Falls; except that it was imbued with great characterizations right from the start.
The Black Lung Captain is the second book in the Tales of the Ketty Jay quartet by Chris Wooding. A year since the events of the last book has passed and the plot began with Frey being offered a mission that will make him extremely wealthy and as usual, the mission immediately went completely wrong. Sounds familiar? Yup, I practically copy pasted my plot description of the first book. In terms of storytelling structure, there was close to zero differences with the first book. This doesn’t mean that the book wasn’t entertaining or fun to read, because they were. However, if you’re binge reading the series as I did, you’ll notice even more just how similar the structure of the story was and at times it can felt a bit draggy. The plot and actions were still engaging overall but moving forward, I really hope Wooding offers something new to the series rather than just similar storytelling structure rehashed with different names and places. …