Reviews

Babel, an Arcane History by R.F. Kuang

amybev18's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

lambfield892's review against another edition

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4.0

Well written, slow paced, thoughtful critique of language and empire.

The characters lacked character, ironically and felt more like mouthpieces and pawns in a chess game. An example of this would be Griffin, who came across like a personification of Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, more specifically the essay “On Violence”, which whilst Kuang did state that was one of her inspirations, expressing the impact of Fanon’s work via a character get incredibly lazy.

Kuang is so heavy handed with her management of theme that it really takes you out of the story. Instead of weaving in critique and exploring theme through the plot, characters and their interaction with the environment, she simply states opinion through the narrative itself.

The novel in general had a problem with telling instead showing and really reduced the impact significant moments had. That being said, the ending was perfect and fit the discussion of colonialism and violence well.

kindle_and_crossstitch's review against another edition

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If you want a patronising lecture on colonialism and racism this is your book. I’ll try again another day, I was looking for entertainment, but ended up bored. 

noms01's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional funny hopeful informative inspiring reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

kainthecharmer's review against another edition

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informative slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

2.0

jontad's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

otaryseal's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

ezkide's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

glennau's review against another edition

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5.0

This book destroyed me in the best way. This is the type of academic/magic setting I love. The insight from the students from colonized countries, now in Oxford gives an insight not always told, but so necessary to hear and understand. The subject matter is as relevant to colonialism today as it was in the set time period.
I would absolutely love to read another book set in this universe!

carg24's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0