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4.0 

Babel

By R. F. Kuang
Babel by R. F. Kuang digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller from the author of The Poppy War  

“Absolutely phenomenal. One of the most brilliant, razor-sharp books I've had the pleasure of reading that isn't just an alternative fantastical history, but an interrogative one; one that grabs colonial history and the Industrial Revolution, turns it over, and shakes it out.” -- Shannon Chakraborty, bestselling author of The City of Brass

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History and a tonal retort to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell that grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of language and translation as the dominating tool of the British empire.

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel.

Babel is the world's center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British unparalleled in power, as its knowledge serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide…

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? 

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5739 Reviews

4.0
Thinking Face“This book signed me up to a university degree without my consent 😂 it was a total education. I learnt so much, but unsure if I wanted that from a book. I did enjoy it, but it was very dense and took me a long time to read due to its nature. I did shed a tear, and shouted at the book on a couple of occasions. It was definitely an experience I won’t forget and grateful that it now lives in my brain. ❤️”
Loudly Crying Face
Diverse charactersMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenAddictiveDark settingMagical settingComing of ageHeartbreakingThought-provoking
Thinking Face
Diverse charactersMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenAddictiveImmersive settingMagical settingThought-provokingMisogynyRacismViolence
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“This was an utterly fascinating read for a language lover as myself. Every mention of language, translation, etymology, and everything else was there to keep me continuing through the book. While I wouldn't say the book was ever boring at any point, I did notice that somewhere after the halfway point I really couldn't put it down. Besides language, I thought the focus on race and the white man were very well done, especially during that time period. I resonated extremely hard with Robin's moral dilemma of selfishly surviving. I really had no idea where the end of the story was going to go, but as it loomed nearer it felt like there was only one trajectory. The amount of tragedy and despair packed into the last quarter was not something I came prepared for, but at the same time I'm not sure what else I expected. All in all, an incredible story to read through.”
Believable charactersCharacters change and growDiverse charactersLikable charactersDescriptive writingTwistyRealistic settingDarkAbuseRacism
Beaming Face with Smiling Eyes
Diverse charactersLikable charactersBeautifully writtenSuspensefulDark settingImmersive settingMagical settingHeartbreakingThought-provokingRacism

About R. F. Kuang

Rebecca F. Kuang is the #1 New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Poppy War trilogy, Babel: An Arcane History, and Yellowface. Her work has won the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, and British Book Awards. A Marshall Scholar, she has an MPhil in Chinese Studies from Cambridge and an MSc in Contemporary Chinese Studies from Oxford. She is now pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale, where she studies diaspora, contemporary Sinophone literature, and Asian American literature.

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