The Fall of Babel Review

Author: Josiah Bancroft Publisher: Orbit Books.

Page Count: 688

The Fall of Babel cover art

Thomas Senlin; a headteacher, a scholar, a husband and at the start of his story…. a little bit of a loser, it is both heart-warming and sad that his journey through the Tower of Babel has finally come to an end. The Fall of Babel which is the last within a series of four novels by the incredibly talent Josiah Bancroft, acts as a conclusion within the series. The Fall of Babel feels very much like a conclusion, gathering up all the loose ends through the previous novels and tying a neat little bow on each of the character’s stories. I have been incredibly excited to get my hands on this novel and I was not disappointed at any point, however that is to say that The Fall of Babel wasn’t my favourite within the series but the novel fulfilled the purpose of concluding the story.

The Fall of Babel picks up with one of our forgotten heroes, who was silent during the Hod King. We find ourselves spending the first third of the story with Adam, who recently been taken by the lightning farmers. Adam’s story was the highlight of this novel and a fantastic way to engage the reader, since we have been wondering what had happened to him. His story explores his kidnappers and the ringdom that they inhabit – this new ringdom was a joy to read about, continuing Bancroft’s unique twists within each ringdom. I won’t go into detail because discovering this new ringdom for yourself will be a treat as a reader. It is safe to say however, that Adam, like all the member of the State of Art crew, get themselves into trouble and rocking the boat (Pun intended). After completing the novel, it is clear why Bancroft withheld Adam’s story until this final novel, since the finale collides all the stories together.

Everyone was either an implementation or an idiot, a rung or an impediment, and the tower was but a toy she had promised herself

The Fall of Babel – Josiah Bancroft

My favourite character within this novel was Luc Marat – the crazed Hod King himself, who has gained power through control of the Hods and had decided to build himself a massive mechanical creature in his final attempt at gaining power from the Sphinx. Luc Marat is written on the perfect side of crazy. He is equal parts clever and witty, matching his crazy ideas and missing sense of morality, with some of the darkest moments of this novel due to his hands. I found Marat’s character a perfect partner for Senlin’s more reserved demeanour. The best scenes in my opinion were held between these two, constantly trying to outwit and out think the other, both playing the long game against each other. As well as Marat, I enjoyed his crazed side cast of characters that followed on his mechanical onslaught. Mr Gedge was a personal favourite, acting as the groups mad scientist and sceptic. He had some interesting moments throughout the novel, knowing that whenever his name was mentioned that something was around the corner.

Otherwise in this novel we follow the remaining members of the State of the Art, who are continuing their quest to find the remaining art pieces left by the Brick layer, whilst trying to foil Marat’s plans, keep Marya safe and find Senlin. It was good to be apart of the crew once more, with this book challenging the dynamics within the team. There were some great character moments to be had upon the ship, with each member being allowed an opportunity to shine. I did find certain characters to steal the lime-light more than others – Violett being very much in the spot light throughout these sections, where as I found Edith to sometimes be left in the shadows as just being the ship’s captain. We have had huge moments with Edith in the past, so I didn’t mind this too much.

The true highlight of Bancroft’s novels, is the writing itself. Josiah Bancroft writes with an effortless genius. One of my pet peeves within reading is when authors attempt to shoe horn complex vocabulary into their work, often at the cost of pace within the sentences. Bancroft on the other hand seems to have mastered the art of using a rich vocabulary with maintaining pace within his sentences. There were a few moments, I was sent happily to google a new word that I had encountered in order to discover the definition. At no point I ever felt it a hindrance to the tale he was telling. Even now I still remember my favourite new word – Bloviate, meaning to talk for a very long time.

The alabaster arch had been carved to resemble titanic eels with long snouts and dagger teeth, their bodies twisted together into a monolithic braid.

The Fall of Babel – Josiah Bancroft

The only crux I felt with this final edition, was very much that it was the final. At times I wondered whether we had enjoyed the main dramatic sections of the story within the previous instalments, not to say that The Fall of Babel was absent of any drama, but it was more a goodbye letter to the series. The ending to the series itself was pretty good, not setting my world on fire too much, but it left our characters on a good note. Personally I would have preferred an ending that satisfied me better and being a more closed but it didn’t detract from the overall series.

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