Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft (Mini Review)

Wow. The Tower of Babel! An original setting full of vice and all things “human.” Full of bright and shady characters, Senlin Ascends is the unforgettable search for a man’s lost wife. I loved it.

The basic premise: Thomas Senlin and his new wife Marya travel on their honeymoon to the fabled Tower of Babel, a steam-punky spire that rises out of the desert. No one is sure how high it reaches, but they know that each level provides a different themed experience. After arriving by train, the couple enter the marketplace at the base of the edifice and when Thomas’s back is turned Marya is spirited away. Thomas is left worried and frantically tries to find his lost wife with only a faulty guidebook to help. He starts to ascend the tower looking for any clues to his wife’s location.

The world that Bancroft creates is full of innovation and heightened excellence on one hand, but at the same time mired in vice and classism. It is one we might not envision too clearly at first, but it is well hinted at, skewed, and so slightly twisted that it is perfectly believable. This is the great strength of the book for me. I bought in on every page. I’m a doubter, my BS meter is finely tuned. Senlin never twitched the needle. A great accomplishment.

This is another book and author that I have seen all over my Twitter feed. I’m so happy I took everyone’s advice and read this one.

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