Monday, November 1, 2021

Review: The Fall of Babel (The Books of Babel #4) by Josiah Bancroft


The Fall of Babel (The Books of Babel #4) by Josiah Bancroft
Publication Date: November 9th, 2021
Paperback. 672 pages.

About The Fall of Babel:

"The incredible final book in the word of mouth phenomenon fantasy series that began with Senlin Ascends.  

As Marat's siege engine bores through the Tower, erupting inside ringdoms and leaving chaos in its wake, Senlin can do nothing but observe the mayhem from inside the belly of the beast. Caught in a charade, Senlin desperately tries to sabotage the rampaging Hod King, even as Marat's objective grows increasingly clear. The leader of the zealots is bound for the Sphinx's lair and the unimaginable power it contains. 

In the city under glass at the Tower's summit, Adam discovers a utopia where everyone inexplicably knows the details of his past. As Adam unravels the mystery of his fame, he soon discovers the crowning ringdom conceals a much darker secret. 

Aboard the State of Art, Edith and her crew adjust to the reality that Voleta has awoken from death changed. She seems to share more in common with the Red Hand now than her former self. While Edith wars for the soul of the young woman, a greater crisis looms: They will have to face Marat on unequal footing and with Senlin caught in the crossfire. 

And when the Bridge of Babel is finally opened, and the Brick Layer's true ambition revealed, neither they nor the Tower will ever be the same again."

Previous reviews for this series:

This has been a truly phenomenal series, and I'm so thankful to Orbit and Josiah Bancroft that I have been able to be a part of this incredible journey! The Books of Babel series has all the markings of a classic, and I know it's a series that I will re-read and continue to recommend for years to come. As a quick note, there will be no spoilers for The Fall of Babel in this review; however, there may be minor spoilers for previous books in the series, so do please read with caution if you haven't read any of the previous books!

The Fall of Babel is a true culmination of all the adventures, trials, and and discoveries that have occurred over the course of the series, and I don't think Bancroft could have done a better job of bringing it all together and creating an unforgettable and deeply satisfying ending. Senlin has been on a journey that has gone in directions I don't think any of us (the readers) could have predicted, and it has been one hell of an exciting journey. I feel like I learned and grew right along with Senlin and I have grown so attached to him and all the other figures that were a part of his journey. We still have a variety of POVs to follow, though, and along with this a variety of different settings and ringdoms to follow as well. 

This book starts off with a POV section centered on Adam, whom we hadn't heard from since book two, The Arm of the Sphinx, and I'll admit that this was a bit of a surprise that at first left me feeling bummed to not get to see Senlin or any other friendly faces, but quickly reminded me how interested I was to find out what Adam had been up to. I quickly found myself diving headfirst into Adam's experiences and losing myself in his excellent and captivating prose. One of the most exciting parts of this section featuring Adam is getting to see the very top of the Tower, and trust me when I say that Bancroft has certainly not lost any steam in the imagination department. 

As the story progresses, we slowly join more character POVs that we know and love, and even get to meet new characters. Senlin, Edith, Iren, Voleta, and so many more return to continue their excellently written character arcs. And of course Byron, who is easily one of my favorite characters in this entire season! I was also pleased to see even more new characters added to the cast–especially some more villainous ones–because I am always so intrigued and excited to see what personality Bancroft will create next. One of the biggest strengths of this series (in addition to the world-building and imagination, of course) is its characters, as Bancroft absolutely excels at creating unique and unforgettable characters that have so much life breathed into them that they feel as real as any person I know. I think this is also what makes it so difficult to finish this series and leave these characters, and to see the various obstacles that these characters face, but that's the best compliment I could give to a book's characters to make me feel that way. 

One of my favorite things about this series, outside of the characters, has been the Tower itself. I am in love with the idea of this huge tower with distinct and individual ringdoms scattered throughout that are just full of the wildest characters and places and the fact that there is just this horrid corruption seeping into everything that is so reflective of our own life in so many ways. The sheer imagination and innovation that went into developing this world and each and every ringdom astounds me and has kept me so entertained and delighted each and every time I pick up this story. If you love reading worlds where there's always something new and quirky and mysterious and everything in between, the Tower is something you will love–or continue to love, if you've been reading the series already. 

The stakes and the world have been expanding since book one, but in recent installments I have been amazed at how much Bancroft has added to the story and how he has been able to develop these huge and momentous plot points and ideas that just feel so much bigger than what this series started out as. I have loved this aspect of the series, and I was so happy to see (though not surprised!) that this trend continued into the final installment in some truly expansive and incredible ways. I genuinely wish I could say more about some of the ways in which this book has exploded in so many unpredictable ways, but I want to be as careful as possible not to give anything away so I will shy away from specifics, but just know that there is always something more at work than you might expect. There are so many ideas being played with in this series and I truly just couldn't get enough of it, and I know that re-reads of this series will yield even more delights and surprises since this book is packed with so much detail and extraordinarily careful writing. 

Overall, I've of course given The Fall of Babel a highly-deserved five stars. I genuinely cannot wait to read whatever Josiah Bancroft is writing next, and I will be one of the first to pick it up and dive in. The Books of Babel series has been such a delight over the four couple of years to read, and I hope everyone else can read it and enjoy as much as I have. 

*I received a copy of The Fall of Babel courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Indiebound 

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