Book Review: Senlin Ascends

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s rare these days when I’ll start a new series and actually continue with it. As I’ve said in other reviews, I’m just too aware that each book I read is also another book I don’t read. So I need to find a book I really enjoy to make me decide to stick with it for the next in the series.

Much of what I read comes to me through Kindle book sales. I’ll see something interesting, I’ll read reviews on Goodreads, and I’ll buy it for later. Senlin Ascends is a book I’d heard about from a number of sources, and then one day it went on sale on Amazon. The concept was intriguing: a man goes to a steampunk Tower of Babel and works on making his way up the tower. I didn’t know much more than that, but I decided to give it a shot.

I bought the second book as soon as I finished the first, if that gives you any idea what I thought about it.

For the first while in the first book, I didn’t think I was going to like it. The main character was quite weak and did some fairly foolish things. But the setting was more than a little intriguing. This Tower of Babel is truly enormous. Each level is basically its own world, and it’s all very well described to the point that it feels real. And as I kept reading, caught by the setting, the main character began to grow and evolve as well. By the end of the book, it had really grabbed hold of me, and I was truly invested in the outcome.

That’s a tough trick to pull off, but it does a great job of it. In the end, it’s an impressive work. I gave it an 8/10, though again the middle and end were much stronger for me than the beginning, which is always preferable, I find. If you’re looking for a good steampunk read with very light fantasy elements, this is a good one to try.

Give it a shot!


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