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Senlin Ascends

de Josiah Bancroft

Séries: The Books of Babel (1)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,1474816,417 (4)35
Fantasy. Fiction. Historical Fiction. HTML:The first book in the word-of-mouth phenomenon debut fantasy series about one man's dangerous journey through a labyrinthine world.
"One of my favorite books of all time" ?? Mark Lawrence

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.
This quiet man of letters must become a man of acti
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Mostrando 1-5 de 48 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
There are some books that are just not made for the big screen - elements won't translate on celluloid and cinematography can do little to change that. This is not that book. This one has the makings of a SF/Steampunk visual feast of vibrant colors and people and a glorious assault on the senses. This would be the quintessential Steampunk Odyssey and I'd probably be first in line to get my ticket. Hey, Dennis Villanueva if you're looking for your next big visual after Dune, come hang out in the folds of this series.

"The Earth doesn't shake the tower, the tower shakes the earth."
- Everyman's Guide to the Tower of Babel, IV. XII

Thomas Senlin never stood a chance. Poor Bugger.

Senlin is a man blindsided by cold hard reality. Lulled into a sense of security and social standing in his sleepy portside town of Isguah, the number one tourist destination in this universe was supposed to be as easy as his life had been thus far. A headmaster of great standing becomes a man lost and in denial within a day of wandering near the Tower...not even in it. He is an innocent, naïve and foolish lost soul in the Tower of Babel - the perfect prey to be swallowed whole. And yet, there is something about him that gives the reader hope despite his outright denial of the barbarity and injustices of the Tower. Senlin is a thinker, an analytical one at that. Even without realizing it at first - he asks, why? He is not yet on the verge of the answer, nor is he anywhere near the beginning of his true ascent which I can only guess takes place in further books. But we bare witness to a man's realization of his place in the world and how vast and dark and debauched his "northern light" in the Tower of Babel.

Josiah Bancroft has this ability to hoodwink the reader into a false sense of calm, control, security and hope after plunging the main character into some precarious situations. So lulled into falsehood that you begin to pity Senlin's naivety as he believes:

1. The Tower is good - it can't possibly be barbaric
2. The Baths are the ultimate in civility, decorum, respect and hospitability.
3. Marya is okay. She will find me (Senlin) or she will wait.
4. Everything will be alright.


Bancroft you sly devil. A great introduction to an ingenious premise well executed and full of nail-biting sequences that have you almost ready to shut the book in hopes of saving Senlin. ( )
  RoadtripReader | Aug 24, 2023 |
What can I say about this deservedly hyped novel that just recently got picked up by a traditional publishing house?

Well, that until you read something yourself, you won't know if the hype is real or just rubbish. In Senlin's case, the book is an engrossing read that can be at times both wonderful, deslusional and even at times terrifying.

This sordid vacation trip that went haywire all began because Thomas Senlin didn't feel up to the challenge of shopping for lady's underwear for the awaited hotel romping in The Baths. There you go, the guy is too prudish to make sense and too engrossed in what he believes other people see of him as the great community bookworm. Instead, his eyes really start to open when the reaches the Parlor and realizes they dumped him into the socially awkward butler role. He always had a different view of himself and after realizing ushers with just one quick glance had instantly typecast him into an undesirable supporting role that is incapable of doing anything, he starts to realize the Tower is beginning to change him. He needs to develop street smarts quickly in order to survive this Tower filled with treacherous crooks and gangsters.

I don't wish to spoil the individual "perks" of the 4 first ringdoms. It's part of the fun of the book as we see Thomas desperately chasing after the desertic illusion of his wife that always seems to vanish in a cloud of white crumb.

However, as I read the book, it reminded me of an old dystopian SciFi book from the 1930's called "Brave New World". As tourists flock to the individual levels reveling at its treats while they gleefully part with their money for cheap entertainment, Senlin and the reader see each level for what they really are. I kept on recalling the comments from Brave New World about one place a harbor of lunacy, the other a guesthouse of insanity. From the merry go rounds of the basement to the make believe of the Parlor and Baths, we soon see the ringdoms for the slums or outright false illusions that they truly are. Thomas doesn't want to cause a revolt against the system of paid and unpaid employment of this hellhole, he just wants to rescue Marya before she starts to believe that he abandoned her.

A second thought that kept on coming into my mind as I read this book was a pleasant and yet terrifying experience of my childhood. I grew up at a time where a local (and very large) park had a small amusement park and featured all sorts of odd rides. From a huge metallic tobogan slide without rails so that you could easily fall over 50 feet to your death (or in the least end up with some nice blisters on your hands), odd games with asbestus coverings to jump through that were tearing apart, and finally, the infamous tunnel of time. I loved going inside of the tunnel of time over and over again. Basically they shove you inside of a maze with plywood walls, carpeted floors where you cannot see anything. You are surrounded in a terrifying claustophobic space of complete darkness. No trapdoors for the staff to rescue you if you freak out and get a panic attack either. Kids these days are too pampered in my opinion, they don't know what they are missing. Anyhow, you had to crawl left, right, left, up, down etc etc etc. It was a 3D maze where time falls to a standstill and you have to use your wits to get out. The closest thing today that I have experienced a similar (but less cool experience) was when I visited the secret basement beneath Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto Japan. The monks built a smaller maze where you walk through it. Oh, and there is also something somewhat similar in Xenses Park in Playa del Carmen Mexico called the Xensatorium (the final part of that maze features really creepy recorded music inside of a dark & damp cave).

Anyhow, this book just kept on reminding me about those pleasant memories that would have frightened more than one person out of their minds.

Now, is the book perfect? No it isn't. I kept on getting confused regarding the usage of electricity. The book highlights it's a rare commodity but you don't get to truly appreciate the scope of its existence and Thomas's arousal of the technology. 90% of the time you don't know if they use candles or lightbulbs. I read the old kindle edition so it was of little surprise that there are several scenes where the text claims that Adam still has two eyes. A minor blip that was likely fixed in the professionally edited trad published paperback.

While I really enjoyed this sordid vacation where everything possible went wrong that highlights the evil of mankind, it didn't fully make me hungry to read nonstop like other books have. Perhaps it isn't any fault of this book per se. I tend to like Young Adult novels more and while Senlin Ascends has 3 older teenage characters, they are vastly mature for their years and we don't see the story from their POV.

The book was a vastly fun rollercoaster read and I'll try to find the way to save 90 MXN to buy a digital copy of the second novel to read it sometime. ( )
  chirikosan | Jul 24, 2023 |
strong start and end ( )
  Vitaly1 | May 28, 2023 |
s-senlin-senpai.....

( )
  pagemother | Apr 5, 2023 |
Wowza, this is such an excellent book I started recommending it to folks before I'd even finished it. I imagine that if the Doctors companion wandered off and didn't find the Doctor this is the type of experience they might have. It is written in such a compelling manner that at times I could imagine that another reader might find the story slow but I was entirely delighted. It felt like a Neil Gaiman story without the Neil Gaiman. ( )
  HCSimmons | Mar 11, 2023 |
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The Tower of Babel is sometimes called the Sink of Humanity. Its immensity, the variety of its ringdoms, its mysterious and luxurious heights are irresistable to all comers. We are drawn to it like water to a drain.
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For Sharon, who never gets lost in the crowd
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It was a four-day journey by train from the coast to the desert where the Tower of Babel rose like a tusk from the jaw of the Earth.
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Fantasy. Fiction. Historical Fiction. HTML:The first book in the word-of-mouth phenomenon debut fantasy series about one man's dangerous journey through a labyrinthine world.
"One of my favorite books of all time" ?? Mark Lawrence

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.
This quiet man of letters must become a man of acti

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813.6Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century

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