GOODREADS BOOK BLURB:
Babel already feels like a classic (which is probably why it took me almost a week to read it), but it has to be one of my favourite dark academia reads so far.
It’s impossible not to get swept up in the daily academic life of this foursome. The idyllic setting, the privileged experience, the hopeful future if only they study and learn and succeed. The friendships formed when all you do is live and breathe academia and the connection that comes from sharing a purpose and a goal come to life. I loved these moments, revelled in them, and never wanted them to end. But everything ends, and when you’re a second-class citizen being groomed to serve the empire, things aren’t destined to end well.
In my very humble opinion, Babel has two significant problems. First, there’s a severe lack of nuance that is hard to ignore. White people are racist and people of colour are enlightened and accepting; that’s where the line is drawn with no deviation. Apparently, the colour of your skin determines the type of person you are in this world. Second, for a historical England powered by magical silver – how is it seemingly exactly the same as the historical England of our world? Shouldn’t there be steampunk-like advancements? Or some kind of speculative alternative history sci-fi components that make it a bit more futuristic? It’s magical silver!! Something doesn’t add up there.
I’ve seen some complaints about Kuang’s use of footnotes. Some have argued they overreach or act to bridge gaps left in the writing or to pander to the reader. Overall I thought they were well placed, adding context as needed and perspective in a few places where it didn’t make sense for the character to have the information, but it was nice to know as the reader. I didn’t find them overwhelming, and most of the time, was happy to see one coming.