The hod king is another remarkable entry in ‘The Books of Babel’ quadrilogy.
To those of you who are unfamiliar with this series, the ‘Books of Babel’ tells the story of Thomas Senlin, a headmaster from England, who loses his newly-wed wife in the Tower of Babel. This tower is no ordinary tower. It is so massive and tall that there are numerous kingdoms – called ringdoms – that span its length and height. On this quest to find his wife, Thomas discovers new depths and heights in his character, meets all kinds of people, personages and monsters, makes new friends and allies and a lot more enemies.
The Hod King continues his story. Thomas has discovered where his wife is and whom she is now married to and wants to ask her if she’s happy where she is or if she would rather return to him. The Sphinx – the mysterious master/caretaker of the tower has tasked Senlin with bringing back information and has explicitly forbidden him from getting in touch with his wife or her new husband.
I loved the previous installments in this series for their exceptional world building, vivid characters and excellent writing. Josiah Bancroft has this magical ability to draw the reader into a world which is fantastic, colorful and characters that are actually worth caring about, that it takes a tremendous amount of effort to come back to real life. In addition, the books are of a good, slightly more than usual length that ensures that the reader neither feels shortchanged or bored by their length.
The Hod King has all the virtues of the series mentioned earlier – world building, characters and writing. In addition, it pushes the plot considerably forward. There are some characters who return, interesting new ones and there are more insights into the workings of the Tower.
Beyond the fundamental quest i.e. Senlin & his wife, the main question asked in the book is ‘Who is John Galt?’ Sorry. Who is the Hod king? The plight of the hods,their impact and influence on the Tower’s societies and their rebellion is given a lot more focus. The ringdom of Pelphia is a key stage for the story along with the Old Vein – the “back stages” of the tower where the Hods live and work – as is the the ship ‘State of the Art’.
There are few rough patches in the book. Some of the sections involving Edith dragged a bit when compared to the other sections of the book with Senlin. And the book has a few key unresolved parts which means more waiting till the next book comes out.
In conclusion, I had a blast reading the book. The Hod king or any of the other books in this series is like a sumptuous chocolate cake. You have to savor every bite since the flavor is so rich and you just dont want it to end. I highly recommend this series if you have not read it. And if you are looking forwardto The Hod king, what are you waiting for? Drop whatever else you are doing, get the book, find a nice cozy spot and dive into the world of Thomas Senlin
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