Monday, 26 June 2017

Senlin Ascends: a wonderful journey of wits, wisdom, intelligence and wonder

'Newcomers may expect the ringdoms of the Tower to be like the layers of a cake where each layer is much like the last. But this is not the case. Not at all. Each ringdom is unique and bewildering. The ringdoms of the Tower share only two things in common: the shape of their outermost walls, which are roughly circular, and the price of beer, which is outrageous. The rest is novel.'
- Everyman's Guide to the Tower of Babel, I.X

[Another one from Daniel, mine is here if you somehow missed it!]

Embarking on a long-journey is fascinating. A compendium of new sights, people, food and climate becomes the reality of envisagement. A recent spontaneous journey lead myself and Tuuli though Aberdeen and Glasgow down to Belgium. Throughout the journey I gazed out of the window, allured by the many passing towns of Belgium meanwhile Tuuli obsessed over a specific book; the book of which I am reviewing today.

Much like our trip to Brussels, Senlin Ascends accompanies Senlin and his wife, Marya on an adventure to the tower of Babel. The tower is located in the fictional land of Ur and is a dream location for Senlin and is therefore a perfect place for their honeymoon. The tower is a pinnacle of society, housing technology beyond both the ordinary and academic mind and a heaven for greater existence. Senlin's innervation quickly deteriorates once he steps off the train, shadowed in the opulence that is the tower. Navigating through the bustling streets, bombarded by merchants, tower-dwellers and fellow tourists Senlin is abruptly separated from Marya. The only hope is a previous agreement they made, which was to meet at the top of the tower if they got separated; this begins his grand ascension of the tower.

This pulchritudinous book is imaged in our regular reading spot. It is quite an irregularly sized book but the design of the cover reflects the mystery shroud in the books content (I will divulge more into this later). The next book in the trilogy, Arm of the Sphinx, also has an mystical design which looks very nice.

The detail in this book is immense, every item is delicately crafted to bring the tower to life. I have an vibrant image in my head of the tower and of the people. They are not entirely comparable to anything that is real but hints of realism is placed eloquently in parts of the book which allows everything to seem plausible. I enjoyed going to new places in this book and meeting new characters as the descriptions where very well thought out.

Up to yet, every character, including the bad ones are complex and fine-tuned and play along constructively with the book. Each individual you meet is involved with the plot and, while existing as catalysts they make you scavenge you mind to try and figure what their end game is. Everything is not as it seems.

We get a first hand sight into he tower from Senlins viewpoint and we develop with him as he unravels (or tries) the secrets of the tower. Many of the other characters seem to know the secrets of the tower (seem...ha) and their development is greatly satisfying to watch; it was very pleasurable to join individuals finding their own paths in the tower.

Senlins nickname in the book is ostrich? (Tell me if this is correct?) He is developed as an individual who isn't the most handsome or strongest and only has intelligent. People from his town do not think he deserves his wife. We are told this story but we see how much care he does have for Marya and how he develops to care for her even more which she is missing (which could be indefinitely). The two of them do not seem to match but they work perfectly well together anyway. I usually hate love aspects of books and movies but this actually interested me. (Regrettably I do liken myself to Senlins sometimes)

I never felt bored reading this and there was something new on every page which made me want to go back to it. The words flow without interruption and even though some of the grammar is complex it was very easy to read. The pacing was excellent and evidently the author is exceptionally skilled by adding hints of deception, delight and darkness into the same pages.

Continuing from darkness, the tower is quickly painted and thickened in a coat of darkness and seriousness but light is seen in every chapter. Dark and light do not always mix but Senlin is always optimistic and wants to see the best in people, the book goes much deeper than you could possibly expect.

The wonder of the tower and its workings reminds me of a slightly darker industrial revolution age. Things do not seem fair and everything is mechanical and clunky but it works.

My only criticism is a character we meet during the latter half of the book. This individual seems to possess powers that are not explained and therefore seem unrealistic and do not fit with the style of the book. This is very minor as it goes into no significant detail about this individual, I am entirely certain we will learn more about him in the next book.

I really enjoyed this and would highly recommend you to read it. Using Tuuli's ever reliable system, I will give this 4.5 out of 5. I can't wait to read the next one in July!!!

(I have tried very hard not to spoil any characters, there is a lot more in this book, tons of little details which are just so satisfying and which also are used to set out the book. I'm not going to spoil any here, you should definitely read it)

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