William
William

William

William is from Sussex, UK.

He has a passion for literature and enjoys reading all sorts of books. His hobbies are numerous and consist of medieval/viking reenactment, writing, karate and of course reading.

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1) by Josiah Bancroft - Book Review 30, Jul

“I’m suspicious of people who are certain”

 

When starting Senlin Ascends, I had no idea what to expect, and had not checked out what the story was about at all. I read it purely off of hearing consistently great things about it, and the fact that it was on my Audible library. I don’t usually do this, as I have a great list to read, and want to cherry pick the best suited to me. But I’m glad a gave that formula an exception.

 

Senlin Ascends was great. A mixture of fun and serious content, that handled the tone brilliantly. Despite the contrasting parts of the atmosphere, Josiah Bancroft was very good at subtly going from one to another in a “real” manner, which surprisingly didn’t jar, as it has with many other authors.

 

“We shouldn't have to go around congratulating each other for behaving with basic human dignity.” 

 

Thomas Senlin is a headmaster who has been fascinated with the Tower of Babel, and is finally going to see it in the flesh with his newly married wife. He is morally upstanding, conforms to social standards, and is what most would label as quite a dull person. This is why I found Bancroft’s character so brilliant. He turned Senlin’s essentially ordinary and largely bland personality into a driving force of the story, as the sole PoV, that made it so much better.

 

The plot was constantly evolving and always pulled me along to listen to each and every word, subtly dropping clever hints that I noticed but could not successfully resolve, and many that I imagine I missed out on as well. It would be interesting to read this again at some point in the future to appreciate everything that Bancroft incorporated to form such a vibrant and full story. 

 

The Tower of Babel is one of the most unique settings I have read about, with places ranging from slums to the leisure places of the upper-class and ruling parties. I look forward to more of this world being explored further on in the series.

 

“It is easier to accept who you’ve become than to recollect who you were.”

 

Senlin Ascends is a book that I would recommend to practically all fantasy readers, despite it perhaps not adhering to their usual type of read. 

 

 

4.75/5

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt - Book Review 24, Jul

“I am happy to welcome you to a town peopled in morons exclusively. Furthermore, I hope that your transformation to moron is not an unpleasant experience.”

 

I read Sisters Brothers after months of my brother, Edward, a fellow reviewer of BookNest, constantly telling me to pick it up. But I am not the biggest fan of Westerns so delayed it for quite a while. But Sisters Brothers was not what I was expecting. It was a Western, but a unique one that laid bare the anarchy that America really was during the 19th century, with every day a struggle for survival. It is one of tragedy, of comedy, and everything between, with a wonderful blend of tone and emotion.

 

Sisters Brothers is essentially a Western. But not the typical Western. It is one full of complex character relationships, inner conflict, and one that presents the grim reality of America in the 19th century. Not the romanticised version we so often are presented with.

 

“The creak of bed springs suffering under the weight of a restless man is as lonely a sound as I know.”

 

Sisters Brothers is a story driven by the relationship between two brothers, the Sisters brothers, who have been given a contract to hunt someone down. Eli is becoming tired of this job, but Charlie is not, and despite the decision of leaving has wondered into Eli’s mind many times, he cannot being himself to leave his brother.

 

I found that the relationships between the characters, especially the brothers, was so multi-dimensional and refreshing to read. It was crafted quickly, but subtly, sharing both their virtues and fallibilities. Despite some… shady things they do, I just could not help but like them both, and root for them during their constant tribulations. 

 

“I lay in the dark thinking about the difficulties of family, how crazy and crooked the stories of a bloodline can be.”

 

Patrick deWitt’s prose is that of the first person, smooth, very easy to read, and one that allows the reader to quickly gain a grasp of the world and characters without overloading with info. A style of writing that I certainly wish was more common, and one that I look forward to reading again.

 

While there certainly is a plot that pushed this story forward, the main point of the story is to mirror reality, in that many events occur that are not directly linked to our end goal. And many of the main conflicts arise from things other than the contract the Sisters Brothers are on. Again, a very well crafted aspect of the story.

 

“We can all of us be hurt, and no one is exclusively safe from worry and sadness.”

 

Overall, there is basically no negative I can say about this story. While it may not be my favourite book ever, as Westerns and that culture is not my greatest passion, it is certainly up there, and that is a feat indeed. Patrick deWitt has created a story that I believe has something for everyone, and is a book that everyone should find the time to read. It is not a long book, but one that is thought provoking and rather impressively forms a huge depth to every aspect of the story, without ever becoming boring, by perfectly balancing each element of the story.

 

 

5/5 STARS

Odin's Wolves (Raven #3) by Giles Kristian - Book Review 26, Jun

Odin’s Wolves marks the conclusion to the Raven series that I have so loved and enjoyed. And wow, was this an amazing ending!

 

“Glory is the prize that can never be burned, stolen by anyone or lost”

 

Odin’s Wolves somehow upstaged Blood Eye and Sons of Thunder in terms of tension, emotion, fear and purely epic action sequences!

 

Giles Kristian’s prose was the same as ever. Efficient, fluid, enchanting. His writing style just so perfectly summarises Raven’s personality, and depicts it in such a wonderful manner.

 

Odin’s Wolves managed to further the characterisation of this awesome band of warriors once again. From Sven the Red, to Jarl Sigurd and of course, the young Raven, the one whose story I have followed. Through the highs and lows. Trials and tribulations. His character had developed so much and has now been cemented as one of the best written characters I’ve had the pleasure to read.

 

Kristian’s skill at writing action sequences is unquestionable, as always. From duels to the large scale conflicts, and I promise you, there are some CRAZY battles. All are written differently with their own unique and new perspective, completely immersing me into the conflict every single time. I just cannot get enough of this!

 

An element that made Odin’s Wolves and the Raven series on the whole incredible is Kristian’s obvious supreme knowledge in the historical subject. With subtle mentions of gods and traditions, it is impossible not to become a part of this story.

 

“The blade gets dull, if we don't use it” 

 

 

I know I have not done justice in this review. But I hope I have managed to convey some of my love for this series. If Norse history intrigues you or fascinates you, please do read this! Just an amazing ending, marking the series as being consistently brilliant.

 

 

5/5 STARS