Book Review: The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft

In the future, The Tower of Babel series will stand out as a series of books that was truly something else.

Honestly – it’s some of the best books I’ve read in forever. I probably say that a lot, but this time I mean it. This is the third book in the series and the front cover has a quote by Pierce Brown (about book 1) that reads: “It’s rare to find a modern book that feels like a timeless classic,” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. This is incredible.

In this third book, Thomas Senlin is still looking for his wife that he lost in book 1 (my review here) when they arrived at the Tower of Babel for their long-awaited honeymoon. He has spent much of book 2 (review here) finding his way through the tower and getting to grips with his new reality, making friends and enemies along the way that will either help him – or attempt to stop in – on his quest to be reunited with his wife. Now, Thomas Senlin is no longer just a man who came to visit the tower and got lost – he’s one of them, and now he knows to play by the Tower’s rules.

The cords are tightening in the third book, and all the stakes are raised. Are those we think were friends still friends? And are all of Senlin’s enemies as evil as we thought? And where exactly has his wife been all this time? As we get closer to the end of our and Thomas’ journey, the true nature of the tower starts revealing itself. Identities are revealed, conspiracies are unraveled, and the world begins transforming.

Honestly, the plot of these books is truly gripping and captivating, and the world it’s set in is just incredible. Part sci-fi, part fantasy, part steampunk, it has it all. The Tower is an incredible and immense backdrop, ripe with exciting possibilities and opportunities for fantastic characters, thrilling conspiracies, and least of all – amazing writing.

I can’t underline it enough – Josiah Bancroft has an amazing way with words – a control over language that will knock the breath out of you. As a writer myself, it makes just a tad jealous. I mentioned in my previous reviews that it can get a little bit tiring at time – because he will just churn out one amazing turn of phrase after another – but by now I’m wholly entranced by- and expecting it, and it’s just incredible. I’ve never been more in awe. Also – and this has been going on since book 1 but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it previously – every chapter is prefaced with a little quote from a fictional piece of writing which come from Bancroft’s own world, and even those are so well-crafted it’s ridiculous.

It’s an incredible thing to come across a story and a series of books that just change what you thought about writing. To find something that towers (pun intended) so high in both quality and originality over almost everything else I’ve read is truly a gift. I used to read a lot when I was younger, and then not so much when I was in my late teens, and then more again now. I had kind of expected that the writing I would feel strongest about was the stuff I grew up with, things I had deep bonds with because they were the first things I read. But I’m very happy to have found these books and will happily let them take the throne as probably my all-time favorite reads. Ever.

The next book – the fourth and last in the series – is due out in November this year, and I haven’t been more excited about anything in a very long time. And I think that as soon as I’m done with that one – I’ll start the series all over again.

I highly recommend this series to absolutely everyone – if not for the amazing world-building, then for the exciting characters and thrilling plot. If not for that, then for the incredible writing. You won’t be disappointed.

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