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Babel – R.F. Kuang

Title: Babel

Author: R.F. Kuang

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Plot: Robin Swift is a Chinese boy taken in by wealthy English Professor Lovell after his mom and grandparents die. Professor Lovell teaches Robin Greek, Latin, and helps him maintain his Mandarin Chinese all while grooming him for Oxford’s translation program. Once accepted into the program, Robin befriends his 3 classmates: Ramy, Victorie, and Letty. One night, Robin meets Griffin. Griffin tells Robin about the Hermes society. They take the silver bars which help power big cities around England and give them to people who actually need the bars. Robin is reluctant to help, but sees the need. His job is to help the Hermes society sneak in and grab what they need to help those in need. But is it worth it? Can Robin trust Griffin and the Hermes society? Can they really make a difference?

Rating: 4.0 a great combo of history and fantasy

Opinion: This was a great book. It was slow to start but still interesting to keep going. Some of it was world building which is fine. It was nice to see a different side of 1800’s England. I enjoyed the idea behind the magic of the books. It’s simple and practical and has many different uses. The magic also doesn’t take away from the story. The linguist in me loved learning about the roots of words and where they come from originally. The book does go into some details about translation and how languages don’t always match up 100% with word meanings. The characters are also well written. I can see where all the characters are coming from. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It’s great for anyone who loves historical fiction books from another perspective.


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