Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this up from a recommendation by an author I follow. This was a great decision.
The gem of this great effort by Josiah Bancroft is that you have no idea what to expect. I will not spoil the narrative of the yarn with spoilers, all I can say is prepare for an imaginative roller-coaster. Or should I say steam-roller?
Senlin Ascends starts slow, continues on with a simple task, drops a quoll in a pit of vipers, picks up the pace with alarming alacrity and then leaves you wondering…wait? What?
Considering I had no idea what to expect, I’m still trying to figure out the look and feel of the Tower of Babel. I obviously went with the traditional idea at first, then went steam punk, then… well, not sure really. I mean there is a contraption that pays you with beer for pedaling.
Add this to the characters you come across, I find it hard to compare like some have with anything out there. Great read!
PS. You will crave the next book so have it waiting…
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Never before have I read a book like My Angel The Devil by Dan Agbeje. It’s fiction, but one gets the distinct feeling that the atrocities that occur in this novel are more than likely realistic in those areas where fanatical religious groups like Boko Haram and Isis have acted on what they see as their divine mission to rid the world of infidels. Set in Nigeria,
My Angel The Devil starts out gently with two young people, Fatima and Ike, in love and wanting to marry. Their families approve and wedding plans are underway when Fatima is snatched, along with other young girls, by a powerful and fanatical group of extremists, whose leader, Alihu, sees Fatima as his alone. What follows for Fatima is a nightmare. Her life, Ike’s and that of her family and, ultimately, the lives of many of the people in her town are turned upside down. The resulting violence with horrific deaths to young and old is shocking and unforgettable.
My Angel The Devil is not a book for the faint of heart or those who could never conceive of evil akin to what Dan Agbeje presents. That evil is not just in the heartless and graphic slaughter that occurs throughout the story. Agbeje's depiction of the sociopathic sexual abuse of both males and females turns stomachs. Is it a bit too impossible to believe? No. Is it difficult to read? At times, yes…but only if you choose to believe that no human being could treat others this way.
It’d be easy to conclude from this review that there are no positives to the story of Fatima and Ike. That would be inaccurate. The tenderness between the young lovers, the deep caring shown by characters like Ajiya and the “Old Man,” and the triumph of good over evil in the end make up for the horrors experienced by so many in this unforgettable novel. My Angel The Devil is definitely worth your reading time.
Dan Agbeje was born in Brisbane and followed his parents to Nigeria, where he spent most of his younger days. His first book, My Angel the Devil was published in 2017.