A review of Josiah Bancroft‘s Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel 2)
I know, I know, I‘m one book behind on this series, but this is actually quite a feat, since usually, I only read the first book in a series, ever. Not so with the Books of Babel, the first of which, Senlin Ascends, is one of the most engaging adventure stories I‘ve ever read. The main reason for that was certainly the journey of its protagonist from naive school-teacher to mastermind on a mission; it is actually a kind of „Walter White becomes Heisenberg“ arc, only that Senlin manages to remain a more or less decent human being (something he worries about a lot). Add to this the series of beautifully bizarre places Senlin visits, their even more bizarre social rules and norms and the tentative exploration of matters of exploitation, class struggle and the subtle workings of power, and you get a very pleasant surprise for an occasionally jaded fantasy reader like me.