Author: Michael Swanwick
Release Date: 1/8/2008
Recommended Audience: Adult
The Good: Excellent (if weird) mythology and culture, strong characters, great setting
The Bad: Feels like it’s going nowhere at times, jumps around too much, strange culture and mythology is hard to follow and seems like gibberish at times
I love sci-fi and fantasy books and when it veers away from video games I tend to be extremely picky. I love the weird ones and The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick is probably one of the weirdest books I have ever read.
The story revolves around a boy named Will le Fey who lives in a quiet little village with his aunt. He observes a battle of a dragon (dragons in this story are mechanical and are piloted by people) and one crashes into his village. The dragon crawls to the town square and declares himself ruler and makes all the townsfolk do his bidding. While this fiasco goes on for several chapters you follow Will’s life as he becomes a ruler of an underground gang, and becomes a trickster in the great city of Babel.
The book has strange mythology and culture but ties current culture into as well. You’ll see words like BlackBerry, Kawaski, Vespa, and real life names pop up here and there. It feels a bit out of place and not at the same time. The book is full of witty humor, and strange sexual tension with the main character. The book has sexy vixens as well, so it appeals to everyone. The book is just so strange yet so invigorating that you can’t put the thing down.
There are very confusing plot holes that really don’t ever get answered, and some times you can get lost in all the made up gibberish that Michael makes up. The world is so magical yet so real it’s hard to tell which it really is. There are strange creatures, magic, and just weird ways of him twisting real world ways into his own fantasy. The book is written very well but jumps around a bit too much, and some times feels like it’s going nowhere. If you’re a huge sci-fi/fantasy fan then pick up The Dragons of Babel.