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Senlin Ascends

Auteur(s): Josiah Bancroft
Narrateur(s): John Banks
Durée: 14 h et 15 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (29 évaluations)

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Description

The first book in the stunning and strange debut fantasy series that's receiving major praise from some of fantasy's biggest authors, such as Mark Lawrence and Django Wexler.

The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of airships and steam engines, of unusual animals and mysterious machines.

Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.

Senlin is determined to find Marya, but to do so he'll have to navigate madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassins, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just endure.

This quiet man of letters must become a man of action.

The Books of Babel
Senlin Ascends
Arm of the Sphinx

©2017 Josiah Bancroft (P)2018 Hachette Audio

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Moyenne des évaluations de clients

Au global

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    20
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Histoire

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    18
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Trier :
  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars

At first I wasn't sure I'd like it...

At first I wasn't sure I'd like it, but a few hours in I became enthralled. I would highly recommend this book!

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars

not the most uplifting story

good plot, but sort of depressing, highlighting selfishness and backstabbing. very good world and character building.

Trier :
  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Kraus
  • Kingston, PA, United States
  • 2018-01-24

Two Worthwhile Books in One

This turns out to be, in effect, two books: one is interesting without quite being that much fun, and the other is a lot of fun while being less interesting. Either way, this weird novel seems to me worth a good bit of the hype it seems suddenly to be getting.

This starts out as a 21st Century Kafka-esque fantasy. An unprepared scholarly newlywed loses his wife on his honeymoon in a fantastically imagined construct. The tower of Babel is so vast that no one seems to know its boundaries let along its details. He’s overwhelmed by his every encounter, and we get a variety of implied questions: what does it mean to be an individual in a world where life is so cheap? How can we establish friendships when all life is a contested negotiation? And What does it mean to have an identity in a place where we’re all defined transactionally?

As I read the first half of this, I felt as if I were reading a fantasy that reflected the world of the internet. I don’t mean that the tower represents the internet; rather, I feel as if this is the kind of twisting and endless world that the internet might be if it were made physical. No one knows who built the tower, yet it goes on forever. It gives us the capacity to perform as others, and it gives us opportunity to interact on intimate terms with strangers, but it seems never to change anything. It’s a book that makes us ask questions about our changed world.

Bancroft does a great job of setting all that up, but things move pretty slowly to start. The teeming market scenes are striking, but there are a lot them. And the extended sequence where Senlin falls into a living-theater experience, where he has to perform an ad-libbed role alongside others doing the same, is largely brilliant. It just doesn’t seem to end with the clarity I expected; I can’t tell whether it’s all a performance within a performance or whether it’s a genuine accident within the well-oiled mechanism of the theater.

But then [SPOILER] this becomes a very different novel. The clearest sign of that change comes in Bancroft’s switch from his default epigraphs to start each chapter – instead of quotes from a goofy and ignorant guidebook, they come from Senlin’s future autobiography. That change reflects a reversal of the narrative position we began with: what was a confused and ill-suited protagonist becomes very quickly a canny leader. He goes, in other words, from Joseph K in The Trial to Spartacus in the Kirk Douglas film.

With that change, the slow-developed philosophical challenge of the beginning fades away. We learn, for instance, [DOUBLE SPOILER] that everything Senlin experienced on the lower levels was part of a test to determine whether he’d be a good employee on the fourth level. Rather than giving the bewildering and beguiling experience of the internet, of happenstance informing so much of the avatar-defining choices we make, we get a more conventional fantasy. There are good guys and bad guys. Senlin’s wife didn’t just happen to take a step away from him; she’s now the object of desire by a powerful figure of the tower. The young man who helped and then betrayed him didn’t happen along; he was a plant, part of the test.

I’m sorry to see that fallen ambition because I do believe the original effect of the novel (which may have been Bancroft’s original intent) had the chance to be deeply memorable…especially if it could be tightened and shortened.

At the same time, I confess that this becomes, by the end, a rollicking adventure. [MORE SPOILER] By the very end, Senlin has declared all-out war on the tower. He’s stolen an airship, acquired a crew of dangerous and effective fighters, and set out to take his wife back by force.

I can’t help feeling that Bancroft changed horses halfway through here, and I think this would be a stronger book and a stronger series if he’d gone back and made things more consistent. Still, there’s a lot to like about each half. I’m curious about where this is going next, and – especially now that this seems to have found its adventurous tone – I may just buy in for volume two.

21 personnes sur 25 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Emily
  • 2019-01-16

Takes a while to get going

Once it does it's an outstanding book. Lots of thread tying at the end, robust character development, fascinating setting. I picked this up on a whim because it was half off and it's been a true delight.

3 personnes sur 3 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • 2018-01-27

Amazing original story

This is such a refreshing listen. I love how original and well written it is.

3 personnes sur 3 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • joan
  • Atlanta, ga,United States
  • 2018-02-14

magical brutal and well narrated

I found the tower and its inhabitants a metaphor for life. the second half is more exciting than the first, and all of it challenged my expectations and world view. I can't wait to read the second book. the narrator did an amazing job - can't believe I haven't run across him yet - and I hope to hear from him again!

9 personnes sur 11 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • KD
  • Somewhere
  • 2019-03-03

Amazing first book

I’m excited to read the rest of the trilogy and already own all three . Great series good job mr Bancroft

2 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin E
  • Arizona
  • 2019-02-20

Bizzare and absolutely excellent

Bizarre and absolutely excellent. Came in not knowing what to expect. Left the first book extremely pleased with the characters and plot. Can't wait for book 2.

2 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda Brown
  • 2019-01-18

A New Fan of Bancroft

Joesph Bancroft did a fantastic job crafting an immersive world with relatable characters. The plot was fresh and unexpected. I was left craving more of the story, I added the second book to my queue before finishing Senlin Ascends!

2 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-01-16

A story I always wanted someone to write.

This is one of the few book series that can aggressively get my attention and keep it. It is also a fine example of the quality that returns to storytelling when the author is free to tell the story the way they want. Bancroft has a talent for combining both traditional story structure and modern character development in a way that feels like a refreshing punch in the face. The Babel series pulls you in before the first chapter and assaults you with the hard and awful truth about humanity, the cruelty we are capable of, and the soul-crushing societies that it builds. While the story holds up a heavy mirror to the human race, it also does an excellent job of reminding the reader that while someone can do terrible things, they might also be someone who got lost in the madness of trying to survive, and they just might be someone in need of forgiveness and a hand up. The only reason not to read Senlin Ascends is if you're like most of the inhabitants of the Tower of Babel who are too busy trying to make it to the next level on the back of someone else and don't like having their conscience pricked.

2 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • chail
  • 2019-01-04

Liked it

Surprisingly good book, a bit slow to start but got better as it went along. A very fantastical and thought out world with characters that grow

2 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente

  • Au global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen
  • 2018-12-10

Slightly underwhelmed

I had heard great things about this first in a new series, and one thing most certainly is true--it's original and it's different. I couldn't tell if I was reading historical fiction, steampunk, sci-fi or fantasy (and still can't) but it's some amalgamation of all those genres. I'll probably continue reading as I believe the end of this book marks a broadening of scope for the series which I was really hoping would happen in this first book, however it just didn't get there, and barely set the stage for what's to come. One thing that bothered me about this book was that I couldn't find myself really caring about any of the characters. If my wife went missing for 3 months, I'd probably have reacted a lot differently than Senlin, who spends time in the baths and in different levels of the tower, casually searching for his wife. Perhaps the point is that he grows into a braver person through these experiences, but something just felt a little lackluster to me. Here's to hoping we get some solid expansion in the next iterations.

5 personnes sur 6 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente