Saturday, December 10, 2016

Arm of the Sphinx

Forced by necessity into a life of piracy, Senlin and his crew struggle to survive aboard their stolen airship. Senlin’s search for his lost wife continues, even as her ghost hounds his every step. But the Tower of Babel proves to be as difficult to reenter as it was to escape.

While searching for an unguarded port, Senlin encounters the camp of Luc Marat, who seems equal parts bandit and humanitarian. One thing is for certain: his asylum for the downtrodden hods is not as peaceful as it appears.

In desperation, Senlin turns to the mysterious and dangerous Sphinx, with whom Edith shares a terrible bond. They discover the Sphinx’s help does not come cheaply. Senlin must choose between his friends, his freedom, and his wife.

'A crew could never be sure what sort of welcome the tower would offer them.'

I have decided that I do not have the talent to give this book the review it deserves, so I'll give it the best I can. 

I had no idea what to expect from Arm of the Sphinx. Senlin Ascends was so fantastic and ended on such a cliffhanger that Book 2 could have gone in any direction and I couldn't even imagine what Josiah had in store for these characters.

If you've read Book 1 and have yet to dive into Book 2, I will do my absolute best not to spoil anything. If you haven't read either book, you're probably best checking out my review of Senlin Ascends and going from there because there are quite a few changes in Arm of the Sphinx and discussing them here could potentially spoil Book 1.

If you've read both books, I love you and move right along from here.

With that in mind, here we go.

Everything has changed. Nothing is as it was and things will never, ever be the same again. The Tower continues to take everything from its inhabitants that which it demands and Thomas Senlin finds he can either become the thieving pirate he needs to be, or face the ruin of his crew and the ultimate failure at recovering Marya.

I mentioned in my review of Senlin Ascends that Senlin changes throughout the book and as he changes so does the depth and complexity of the story. He transforms from cringe-worthy naivety to a more a conscientious, worldly man, shedding his shy, childlike views and growing to adapt to his situation. The same can be said of the story itself, evolving from simplicity to a wonderful complexity.

With Arm of the Sphinx, it's all brand new. My first impression was-I don't recognize these people! Not only has Senlin taken command of his ship, he's taken control of his destiny. He continues to evolve and adapt and it's absolutely fantastic to witness. 

Beneath that shy exterior he began with, Thomas Senlin is hilariously cunning. He is the ultimate pirate, an even better Jack Sparrow as he knows how to get exactly what he needs and what he wants while continuing to be grossly underestimated despite his growing reputation. He is an absolute joy to read about and he isn't the only one going through these fascinating changes. The entire crew has to face their new life and their new roles in the tower and what's more is they now have to learn to trust and rely on each other, something none of them had ever done before.

But how far will they trust their captain and his continuing need to find someone they all believe to be lost forever? His obsession may just lead to his ruin.

Marya takes a backstage in this book, at least the real Marya does, as for the other... You're in for a treat. She's deviously haunting Senlin and her presence is a bit more than he'll admit he can handle.

There are so may answers in Arm of the Sphinx and yet so many more questions arise. The Tower is not what it seems, it's definitely not what I had guessed, and I have no idea what will happen from here. 

Arm of the Sphinx definitely tops Senlin Ascends, it's a fantastic sequel and I'm wringing my hands trying to find some way to distract myself until The Hod King arrives sometime next year. We haven't even seen a fraction of what the Tower conceals within it's walls and I'm freaking dying with anticipation.

This series is an absolute must read, Bancroft has absolutely blown me away with his work and he's only just begun.

If you're interested in checking out my review of The Books of Babel book 1 - Senlin Ascends, you can read that Here

About the Author
Josiah is a freelance writer, poet, and musician. His work has appeared in dozens of journals and magazines, including Slice Magazine, BOMB Magazine’s: Word Choice, Rattle, the Cimarron Review, the Cincinnati Review, and Gulf Coast. In 2010, Josiah's book of poems was a finalist for AWP’s Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. The poet Alberto Rios had this to say about his collection of poems, The Death of Giants:
"These are poems of constantly surprising adventures for the reader. The title poem sets the tone, marvelous in its pragmatism and equanimity, and the poems benefit from this start. Things happen, and things get done because of that, but what is so easily said is the precise source of wonder in these pieces, in that even the most complex and strange occurrences are simply dealt with."
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1 comment:

  1. Just finished the first one, so I read your review quite tentatively :D can't wait to get my hands on the next one!