Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)” as Want to Read:
Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Senlin Ascends

(The Books of Babel #1)

by
4.19  ·  Rating details ·  12,000 ratings  ·  1,877 reviews
The first book in the stunning and strange debut fantasy series that's receiving major praise from some of fantasy's biggest authors such as Mark Lawrence and Django Wexler.

The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake.
...more
Paperback, 361 pages
Published February 27th 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (first published February 18th 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Senlin Ascends, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Josiah Bancroft I'm so sorry, but I don't have any plans to produce smaller versions of the books at the present. Now that I know there's a demand, I'll start looking…moreI'm so sorry, but I don't have any plans to produce smaller versions of the books at the present. Now that I know there's a demand, I'll start looking into the possibility. Thank you for your interest in my work.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,000 ratings  ·  1,877 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)
Emily May
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emily May by: Mark Lawrence
Shelves: fantasy, 2016
We MUST talk about this hidden indie treasure.

Over the years, I have read a lot of books. I've picked my way through the so-called "Classics", got lost in Fantasy and Science-Fiction, been taken to other times by Historical Fiction, stayed up late to find out the answers in the latest Psychological Thriller, fallen in love with Romance, and rode the wave of every YA trend. And yet, I have never read a book like this one.

Requests for indie/self-pub reviews come to me all the time. I usually take
...more
Mark Lawrence
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. That was unexpected!

Senlin Ascends is one of the best reads I've had in ages. I decided to read it because one of the bloggers judging in my self-published fantasy contest had a very difficult time choosing between this title and another for the best of his bunch of 30 novels. In the end he went for the other book, which left me thinking that it was harsh luck to miss out by such a fine margin to a very different kind of story.

Anyway, I was dragged in and didn't escape until I'd finished
...more
Melanie
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Melanie by: Mark Lawrence

Buddy Read with Petrik

This highly praised indie book series has recently been picked up by Orbit! After that news, and seeing the first two beautifully sitting on my shelf for far too long, I decided I wanted to experience this self published series before the year was over, but now I just want all the books immediately, because Senlin Ascends is a literary masterpiece.

“The Tower of Babel is most famous for the silk fineries and marvelous airships it produces, but visitors will discover
...more
James Tivendale
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, freecopy
Josiah Bancroft's debut novel is a huge deal in the world of fantasy fiction right now. I truly regret being late to the party but can safely say the hype is well deserved. Seeing only unanimously positive reviews from my blogging peers, I had to check out this 2016 #SPFBO's entrant as soon as I could.

Thomas Senlin planned a seemingly perfect honeymoon at the magnificent, and world renowned Tower of Babel. Each level of the tower is a Ringdom- cities with different characteristics and unique
...more
Petrik
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy Steampunk fans
4.5/5 Stars

Buddy read with my lovely friend: Melanie

Senlin Ascends is a definite proof that an indie work can be on par or superior compared to most published books in the market today.

I’m just going to say it right off the bat, the matter of fact is, not a lot of readers will spend their time reading indie works. It’s almost always a risky bet to dive into an indie book, most people don’t want to give it a try most of the time for a good reason, whether from their bad covers, cliché stories,
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I'm not sure if this was the hype of the book, my mood, or the book itself. I'm going to to with my mood as I found a lot of the book very good. I did take a little bit to get into it but that was because of reading other books I do believe.

So here I am in the most unpopular opinion world. I do have some friends that gave it 2 and 3 stars but for the most part it's 4 and 5. I feel left out. I am going to revisit this book a little later to make sure it wasn't my mood because like I said before,
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
”The handkerchief is the universal utensil of the seasoned traveler. It can be a sanitizing device, a seat cover, a dust mask, a garrote, a bandage, a gag, or a white flag. One may feel well-prepared with nothing but a pocket square.”
--Everyman’s Guide to the Tower of Babel--


Tom Senlin has dreamed about travelling to see the Tower of Babel, a marvel of the universe, for a long, long time. He is a headmaster and teacher, and so he is not a rich man and must rely upon the age old habit of saving
...more
jessica
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
oh, dont mind me. i will just be over here, picking my jaw up from off the floor.

whoa, this book is W I L D. if i am ever stranded on a deserted island, i want senlin with me. he went from reserved headmaster to a total savage in no time. talk about a glow up! i really cant wait to read the second book to see what he does next.

also, you know the question, 'if you could live in any fictional world, which one would it be?' its definitely this one. move over hogwarts, because the tower of babel is
...more
carol.
This was one of the most lovely books I almost didn't finish. To certain library books I must ask certain questions: are they worth overdue fines? Perhaps more importantly, are they worth negative karma when late? To both of these questions, Senlin Ascends is an empathetic 'no.' And yet, on the strength of dear Milda's love for the tale and her encouragement, I find myself disregarding my earlier decision to return it.

"You have no idea what the Tower will turn you into!" Tarrou laughed and
...more
Lady Luna. ✨
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-books, fantasy
4.5/5

“I am the riddle in the mouth of the Sphinx. I am the slaver that chews the living chain. I am the farmer of dead seeds, the filler of holes. Who am I?”


Buddy read with this whacky squad - Dewi, Chumlee, Mantis Shrimp and Choko.

Let me just start by saying there's a lot of HYPE around how good this book is and I must say I fell victim to the HYPE and loved every second of it. Don't hate me because I'm hypey.
description
This book was whacky, fun, amazing and absolutely wonderful . I am actually
...more
Chelsea Humphrey
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Melanie
Take all of my money, Mr. Bancroft, because I need the rest of this series NOW.
Samir
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hype is a bad thing. It raises expectations and sets the bar high so there is only one possible outcome; it gives the book a polarizing effect.

I wanted to find out is the hype around this book justified and when I was done reading it there was only one answer: I don't know.

Don't get me wrong, I liked the book (hence the four stars) but I don't think of it as one the best I've read or that was amazing as most of the reviews show. But it is certainly different. In a good way.

The story begins with
...more
Esme
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ah yes, the book that began my love of indie writing – I read this book a long time ago before I really had any kind of reviewing style. It was a short paragraph about me ranting “THIS BOOK IS AMAZING, BUY IT”. So, I’m redoing the review to give it the fleshed out review it deserves!

Plot:
Senlin and his new wife are going on a honeymoon, he takes her to the Tower of Babel which is a very popular tourist spot. The pedestrian traffic around the Tower is immense, and so is the Tower itself. It would
...more
Petros Triantafyllou
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I first laid eyes on this book, I felt that it isn't my sort of thing. I knew that I wouldn't like it.
When I witnessed all the recent hype about it, I thought that it would be short lived. I knew that I wouldn't like it.
When I was given the first book, I felt compelled to read it, but still, I was sure that I wouldn't like it.
I liked it...

Senlin and Marya are newlyweds on their honeymoon. What better destination could they chose than the Tower of Babel; an immense building of unknown high,
...more
Paul O'Neill
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You need to read this! Don't read the blurb, dive in blind (which is the best way to read any book).

This is one surprisingly awesome adventure through an entirely original world. It is hard to compare it. I'd describe it as a fantasy, high speed thriller. Also made me think of charlie and the chocolate factory for some reason.

I will definitely pick up book two soon and this author deserves all the props for writing one of the best books I've read this year.
Charlotte May
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic-fantasy
"We have society, but we are alone. We have light, but we have no sun. The Tower sucks our lives and gives us only a little diversion and a little death."

Loved this!

A truly fantastic and original fantasy! Thomas Senlin is newly married and heading on his honeymoon to the Tower of Babel, a tower with more levels than anyone really can be sure of. The tower is famous in its mystery, and everyone wants to go there.

However, shortly after arriving, Senlin and his wife become separated. They were
...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Well Well Well This Didn't Go Quite As Planned Surprise Surprise Buddy Read (WWWTDGQAPSSBR) with My Dearest of Wives, The Ex Noob, The New Noob and The Girl with the Mostest Awesomest Name Ever



DNF at 69%. 256 pages that felt like 10,589. Go me.

Actual rating: 2.5 stars. Yeah, I'm generous like that.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I DNFed read this one wrong.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that this overhyped book is one glorious masterpiece of originality and creativity (view spoiler)
...more
Bradley
There's a lot to love in this book. I was quite on the edge giving this a chance when I first picked it up, but the whole damn idea of having a full adventure in the mythical Tower of Babylon just struck all my fancies at once. I remember Ted Chiang's short story about the Tower of Babylon so fondly... I just had to imagine it taken as a full novel.

So how did this pan out? Wonderfully! Maybe not the same level as Chiang, but when dealing with a tower that not even airships can reach the top
...more
Philip
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4ish stars.

There comes a point after reading a certain number of "magic school" or "sword and sorcery" novels, when it can be hard to believe that there are any stories left that haven't already been told three or four times. Luckily there are still books like this one that are just familiar enough to be recognizable, but are otherwise in a league of their own. It's sort of like a steampunk adventure version of Breaking Bad meets The Hobbit? Try telling me you've already read that one.

It's
...more
Choko
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, steam-punk
*** 4.35 ***

A buddy read with my friends @ BB&B! Because we love great writing!!!


What a great find! When I decided to join on the buddy read for this book, I had only seen the beautiful cover - I miss this type of art on the currently publishing trends .. I had no idea what the book is about and from the name surmised that it must be about the strife of humanity to reach g-d like power. So, being a reader who is up for anything, I thought it looked interesting and after all, what could it
...more
Milda Page Runner

Whoa! Senlin Ascends or does he? Is he just shedding the shell and Breaking Bad? What a journey and what a transformation.

Gorgeous writing, original world, that is as beautiful as it is cruel, creative and intricate mechanisms. Plot that is both comic and tragic and philosophical filled with unique imagination and breath-taking adventure. Loved it!

This is not a light read. There are certainly some dark and painful moments along the way. But it’s never hopeless and has sparks of humour in
...more
Kitvaria Sarene
This is one of the books that make me wish for more than 5 stars to rate it.
For me, rating it is as hard as it was with Name of the wind - not because it is in anyway similar to that - but in not being able to actually say just WHAT I enjoyed so much.

Trying to summarise this book is impossible to me, as it would sound boring and long winded... But it wasn't! I devoured it and it was so hard to put it down at bedtime or the end of lunchbreak, I might have been a tiny bid tired at work each day
...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans, adventure fans
This is a shortened review. If you're interested in this book, read this on my blog. And I mean YOU. Because I had wayyyyy too much to say about this book for Goodreads. You will be missing a good chunk.

Things this book has:

Fast paced action
Character development
Adventure, plots and deaths
The unmasking of dark human nature
Wonderful, colorful yet very realistic characters

At first, it was hard reading this book, because it is just.. ruthless. It's kind of hard to get through that. But then, it
...more
megs_bookrack
I just bought the first three books in this series!

Have I read even one?
No.

Do I know if I will love it?
No.

Then why buy them all immediately, you ask?



Fairly confident with this purchase though...
Orient
Well, I can proudly say:



I have one really great person to thank to. Evelina, you are great, thank you for the rec to read this book. I started my journey with Senlin in a massive BR with great people, like our emotional founder Lee, my awesome BR friends Caro, Milda, Sarah, Sam, Efka, Choko and other great people. And as always ended up the last one to finish, but with great support from my amazing gif Sensei and awesome BR partner Craig. Thanks you

"Senlin Ascends" is an extraordinary
...more
Ivan
I'm definitely on board the hype train for this series.

Senlin Ascends is an indie adventure set in very unusual setting. I like weird settings and I have read decent amount of adventures set in all kind of imaginative worlds so why is first Book of Babel as good or better as best of them?Why is this such an easy 5 star when this "just" an adventure book? Well in short it does everything it set to do incredibly well.

Bancroft's writing is top notch and every dialog, monolog and description is joy
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I can't believe it! I have finally won a Goodreads giveaway!!
Celeste
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, literary
4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

“What if?” questions make for the most interesting stories. What if you could attend a school that could teach you the mysterious art of magic? What if dragons were real? What if we’re not alone in the universe? What if swords could talk, and their sass could not be contained? Or, in the case of this book, what if God never destroyed the Tower of Babel and it became the center of civilization?

Bancroft did a wonderful job weaving his tale of Thomas Senlin, a school
...more
Hamad
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

a BR with Helena!!!!!!!!!!

“It is easier to accept who you’ve become than to recollect who you were.”

I have had this book on my TBR list before it was even published by Orbit books. This is an indie author book which shows that these authors deserve more chances and all the love in the world! There are many hidden gems out there by self-published authors!

The first thing that struck me was the writing style which is
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bloody Rose (The Band, #2)
  • Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)
  • Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1)
  • A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness, #1)
  • Foundryside (Founders, #1)
  • The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1)
  • Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)
  • One Word Kill (Impossible Times, #1)
  • The Grey Bastards (The Lot Lands, #1)
  • The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy, #1)
  • Priest of Bones (War for the Rose Throne, #1)
  • Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City
  • Aching God (Iconoclasts, #1)
  • Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand #1)
  • Master Assassins (The Fire Sacraments, #1)
  • The Burning White (Lightbringer #5)
  • Wrath of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #2)
See similar books…
1,896 followers
Before settling down to write fantasy novels, Josiah Bancroft was a poet, college instructor, and aspiring comic book artist. When he is not writing, he enjoys recording the Crit Faced podcast with his authorial friends, drawing the world of the Tower, and cooking dinner without a recipe. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Sharon, their daughter Maddie, and their two rabbits, Mabel and ...more

Other books in the series

The Books of Babel (4 books)
  • Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel, #2)
  • The Hod King (The Books of Babel, #3)
  • Untitled (The Books of Babel, #4)
“Senlin did not believe in that sort of love: sudden and selfish and insatiable. Love, as the poets so often painted it, was just bald lust wearing a pompous wig. He believed true love was more like an education: it was deep and subtle and never complete.” 56 likes
“Even beauty diminishes with study. It is better to glance than gawk.” 29 likes
More quotes…