The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
These books have become a delightful diversion for me. Most importantly, they're FUN.
Most of my interest stemmed first from the whole Victorian Tower of Babel vibe with steampunk cyborgs, ancient genetic tampering, airships, and Senlin's total fish-out-of-water story. In the second, we enjoy the fruits of this schoolmaster after he has become a notorious pirate captain and we learn a lot about the history of the Tower. The Sphinx is something else.
But it's the third book that really pushed the core tale forward. The Hods, the slaves that keep the world running, have always been a tragic underbelly, but until now we never got deep into the reality of it. Who is the Hod King? (No spoilers. But I likey.) :)
What I think I like best about this is not Senlin's continuing story, although his particular tragedy is redefining him in a much more interesting way. His finding his lost love is a perfect segue to the horror to come. Nope, I like our acrobat and Ethel best. :) New PoVs! Equal time, even! I really enjoyed the new airship, the battles, and the twisting of all our expectations. Any previous issues I might have had with women's roles and story tropes are overturned here. :) Senlin is paying, perhaps overpaying, for his assumptions. :)
Such fun! I'm so glad this is out there. Most of the old fantasy tropes get introduced and twisted nicely in this series. I heartily approve. :)
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