I received The Witch of Babylon from Bronwyn at Penguin Canada, and was very excited to get started reading it. I was most curious to read about the history of Mesopotamia and the related areas that were described in the book description.
True to its word, it was chock full of interesting tidbits that I had no idea about. What also impressed me were the ties that these cultures had or are asserted by the author in this novel. References to books in the Bible and Greek mythological people are only two elements that made the history more understandable to me, through the associations and quotes provided.
I have to admit, a few times throughout, I was a bit confused by what was going on. I will share this with the author as partly my own fault, having taken lots of cold meds while reading. But, I was little confounded by John's motivation in leading Rap into that trap....I may have missed something there; I'm really not sure. Also, the code that John was working so hard to solve was lost on me throughout, as so many variations were mentioned; I never really understood how he worked it out in the end. Again, I blame this mostly on the head cold.
It was the chase for the code clues that kept me engrossed initially, particularly with pictoral aids along the way (call me crazy, but I do enjoy pictures, even in very grown up books!) This seemed an almost interactive feature, for the reader to participate as the story moves along. I sat for a while trying to figure out the 'magic box' from Albrecht Dürer's Melencolia I (I found 29 of the 86 ways to get 34!). Alas, too much of the information was stuck in John's head or sourced from the other characters for me to feel like I was partially responsible for unravelling the mystery.
All in all, this was a truly exciting book with so many of the elements I like. I look forward to reading more of this trilogy, but also really want to read The Witch of Babylon again (sans head cold) and really absorb the history, mythology, and wonder that is illustrated here. I think this is a starting point for further learning (for me) into ancient and present Middle East culture.