Review: The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft (The Books of Babel #3)


Reviewing sequels isn’t easy. Especially not when they have been as anticipated as this one. Will it live up to the hype? Will it suffer from middle book syndrome? In the end, The Hod King left me mostly satisfied, eager for the sequel, but not without complaints.

You act as if she’s a fancy, an errand. She is not!  She is a woman whose life I ruined! Ruined with my pride, my inability, my selfishness. I will find her. I will offer my help if she needs it, my heart if she wants it,  my head, even if she would see it on a stake!

The search for Marya continues. On Sphinx’s orders, Senlin (with explicit orders to avoid trying to contact her) infiltrates the ringdom of Pelphia to investigate the possibility of a hod uprising, while Voleta’s task is to contact Marya instead of him. Naturally, nothing goes as planned.

The writing style remains as good as ever, as do the characters. I particularly liked Voleta and Byron really grew on me as well. It takes place almost entirely in Pelphia and while I did miss exploring more of the tower (it’s so vibrant), getting a more in-depth view of one of the ringdoms was pretty cool.

My main issue is with the structure. The book is split into three parts, each written from the POV of another character – Senlin, Voleta, and Edith. And since all the parts start at a similar same time, there’s a lot of repetitiveness and it takes some time to get to the point where the previous part left off. It’s somewhat similar to the split in The Two Towers and it simply didn’t work for me. At all.

Still, I would generally rather round it up to 4 than down to 3, mostly because of the ending. It’s a tad cliffhangerish in some aspects, but tense enough to keep me turning pages, and enough things do get tied up. Can’t wait for the sequel.

Enjoyment: 3.5/5
Execution: 3.5/5

Recommended to: those who have enjoyed the previous books
Not recommended to: those who hate Two Towers-style POV splits or cliffhangerish endings

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