“We shouldn't have to go around congratulating each other for behaving with basic human dignity.”
This is the most uniquely structured fantasy I've ever had the pleasure of reading. But what blew me away, and I mean BLEW ME AWAY was the writing. Holy moly guacamole Bancroft can write! Wow. I want to frame random sentences from this book just because of how beautifully sound and graceful they are. Pure literary ecstasy.
“Senlin loved nothing more in the world than a warm hearth to set his feet upon and a good book to pour his whole mind into. While an evening storm rattled the shutters and a glass of port wine warmed in his hand, Senlin would read into the wee hours of the night. He especially delighted in the old tales, the epics in which heroes set out on some impossible and noble errand, confronting the dangers in their path with fatalistic bravery. Men often died along the way, killed in brutal and unnatural ways; they were gored by war machines, trampled by steeds, and dismembered by their heartless enemies. Their deaths were boastful and lyrical and always, always more romantic than real. Death was not an end. It was an ellipsis. There was no romance in the scene before him. There were no ellipses here. The bodies lay upon the ground like broken exclamation points.”
Because of the beautiful writing all the ugly things that this book brings to life seem so sudden and brutal, but also hazy - a chilling combination. Also, the humor was quite good. Senlin Ascends as a debut is phenomenal. Senlin Ascends as a fantasy is brilliant. Cannot wait to see where Tom takes me next, as there have been some unexpected turns.
Only rounding down because I'm not a big fan of books keeping all of its action-y bits till the very end - it overwhelms me.
p.s. And there better be an explanation on Edith in the next book, because WUT? How? Wut?
“I’m going to feel very weak and you’re going to feel very dumb. But that’s how it always is in the beginning. Learning starts with failure.”