Listen. I had all the best intentions of reading poetry this month but when Babel landed on my doorstep thanks to the amazing @nerdtasticnoms those plans were laid to waste.
Obviously I have no regrets because The Poppy Wars was a warm up to this masterpiece. You knew RF Kuang was onto something there, but here, her thesis feels more fleshed out. I love how she writes her novels with no easy answers. I loved the etymological tidbits in this as well and the exploration of where words come from. Some people may find it a bit much but it has me thinking about language and colonization. Can a translation ever be true to its source material? The magical system in this book as a metaphor for the way power works within colonial systems is outstanding.
There is so much more packed into this chonker, from colorism to sexism and white woman tears. It’s A LOT, but I never felt like it was overstuffed. Kuang is a pro, and says just enough without beating you over the head with it. She clearly knows her stuff and trusts her readers to read between the lines.
This will be one of my favorite books this year. No question.