December 2022 Book of the Month Review:

Title: Babel 

Author: R.F. Kuang

Rating: 3.8/5

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            There are probably going to be spoilers, there are going to be some brutally honest opinions on this one, and I am not going to apologize for that. So if you want to not know, cool, I’ll see you soon for another post. This is just something that I need to get out. 

            I finished the book two days ago and this book threatened to put me in a reading slump, which was super disappointing! With how this book was hyped up and the fact that everyone loved it I am trying to figure out why I just couldn’t get into it like everyone else seemed to. 

            I walked into it not knowing much besides the fact that everyone who I had seen online who read it was head over heels for it, it was over 500 pages. I slogged through it, I liked it, I did, but there were so many parts where I felt like I was reading a whole bunch of stories rather than one cohesive one. 

            All the twists and turns, it was a fascinating novel, it was very well written, and it was a good story underneath all of the prose. There was just so much prose and footnotes, I have never read a fiction book that has so many footnotes, it felt like I was reading a nonfiction because sometimes it was half the page that were footnotes. I didn’t read them, if I wanted to read footnotes, I would find something non-fiction.

            The story itself was fascinating and compelling, pretty much until patricide and then everything fell apart and like everyone died. I loved the story of coming up at Oxford, of learning to be as a person. I loved the translation institute, the use of silver and match-pairs to aid in technology with magic. I loved that element; it was so cool. There were so many parts where I thought of The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, which was book that I loved so much earlier in the year. 

            When everything started to fall off the rails, I got sad, I got unhappy with the fact that it felt like everyone became a martyr, that that was the only way out of the situation. I know that not everything can have a happily ever after, but I love a happily ever after and just to have so many of the main characters die, that was difficult to stomach. So many people died, I know that to spark a revolution blood must be spilled, but a lot of it felt almost needless. 

            Like imagine the fall out after the thing happened at the end of the book, that is what I am not going to spoil because it’s a big culminating event that left me questioning my own sanity.

            Letty’s betrayal threw me, her whole character though threw me, I never liked her and then she did what she did and I was pissed, for so many reasons. 

            I wanted to love this book; I really did. I wanted to see the hype and the mastery that everyone else saw because this was such an anticipated book. I loved the concept, but it was so dense and could have been slimmed down a little bit in density and page count. I love long-winded prose; I write a lot of long-winded prose there is no denying that. I know that I do because here I am writing this. It was just a little too much for me, felt too much like a non-fiction for me really to immerse myself in it. 

            Everything in this book felt like a means to an end, like everything was set in motion on the path to destruction really early on, that everyone was done for even before they started and I understand that might be one of the points, that there is no such thing as a happy ending, it’s blood and sacrifice and everyone suffers. 

            There were so many good things about this book, it was vivid and amazing, the story was compelling and the characters felt like real people. There was just a lot of things that chafed me funny. Not every book is for everybody, I have learned that several times this year with so many of the books that I loved that others didn’t and vice versa. 

            That is my last Book of the Month for 2022 though and there were for sure some real hits and misses this year, which is surprising, it really is to be honest. I feel like there were some that I loved so much and some that I just couldn’t wait to finish. 

            If you want to check out what else I have read for Book of the Month this year, you totally can, I have read 12 and this is finally December where never month I don’t have to link a billion posts again at least for a few months. Seriously though, if you want to check out what else I have read you totally can; January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November

            Alright, I think that I need to stop because I might like this book more the longer that I am away from it. So, until my next post I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy! 

            -MJ 

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