All reviews here are purely personal opinions and do not intend to degrade or glorify the work of others. Everyone has their own reading tastes. Thank you.

source: Goodreads

Title: Babel

Author: R.F. Kuang

Publication date: 1 September 2022

Pages: 542 pages

ISBN: 9780008501815

Language: English


Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

Oxford, 1836.

The city of dreaming spires.

It is the centre of all knowledge and progress in the world.

And at its centre is Babel, the Royal Institute of Translation. The tower from which all the power of the Empire flows.

Orphaned in Canton and brought to England by a mysterious guardian, Babel seemed like paradise to Robin Swift.

Until it became a prison…

But can a student stand against an empire?



Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for granted my wish! Here I leave my honest review.

After finishing this book, I want to scream, FINALLY! Yes, this is a long journey with Babel because sadly I can’t love this book as much as I want to. I might say this book is not for me, I think this is my first time reading dark academia (?) so I’m not sure whether dark academia in general or just this book that didn’t “click” with me. I need more that one month to finish this book and it also give me a little reading slump! I don’t have any spirit to read book and I have trouble with my reading schedule 😭

I know this book because one of my friends in goodreads review this book and give almost perfect star for the book. From there I know that I want to read this too, and the author is R.F.Kuang! I know her and how amazing her work was, so I’m more than excited. When NetGalley granted my wish it feels like a fate that I need to read this book 😆 (this is my first time that NetGalley ever granted my wishes!)

The book has told us a story about Robin Swift, a boy from Canton, bought to Oxford to become a student on Babel. Babel is translation department from Oxford. Not only translation but in Babel silver work was created. Silver work is like a life for London, everything can be done easily with the help of this silver but only Babel graduated can make this silver magic system operated.

So, the book is so slow! I’m okay with the journey of Robin from little until he became a student in Babel, I’m also okay to follow his journey on his collage day. But what I’m not okay is I didn’t know where does this story take? I knew it would be related to the Hermes Society, a society that want to oppose Babel. But we need a long time to really see the conflict. Maybe this is R.F. Kuang ways to tell us more about the world, the magic system, and the character. Well, there are many characters here. But, I have a contradicts about this.

First, I’m not sure about the world. Is it our real world but in the past? But we have magic there or is this just alternative London with a real people? I want to tell you that R.F. Kuang leave us so many explanations in this book by foot note, about the real occasion, the real people whose mention in the book, even a deep explanation about what character said. I love this from the book because I can understand more about everything being told in this book. But too complete make me wonder is this fiction or non-fiction book?

Second, the magic system. It sounds so simple with just silver and the word / language. But I couldn’t grasp how the magic really work. With just a piece of silver and word craft on it? How come? Well, because I didn’t know in what world they are, a real or alternative, my mind is confused and rejects the system. Big confusion!

And then the character, I love Robin. How pure and good he is as a person (but at the last minute I don’t really like him). Not only focus on him, but we will also follow his friendship, it is nice to see, and we can see how four of them (including Robin) care for each other. But we will also see a twist here and there about these characters and I’m still liking it, it gave a certain “colour” for the storyline.

The conflict is good but not how it is executed. I’m not satisfied with how it carried out during the end of the book. I imagined something big will happen at the end. well kind of happen but not like that, and the process to that “big thing” is not how I imagine. I like the ending, but it feels like end with cliff-hanger. I didn’t know what the impact with this big thing and it is feel useless. If there’s a sequel of this book, I’m not sure I want to read that.

 That's just what translation is, I think. That's all speaking is. Listening to the other and trying to see past your own biases to glimpse what they're trying to say. Showing yourself to the world, and hoping someone else understands.  

I give this book rating 3/5 ⭐. Certainly not for me but maybe this book is for you! There are many other amazing review from people who love this book.

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  1. Awalnya aku ingin baca buku ini juga, Kak, tapi setelah aku baca blurbnya, I know ini buku bukan untukku jadi aku cukup dengan membaca reviewnya aja 😂. Looks like buku ini cukup panjang untuk dibaca ya 🤣 aku belum pernah baca dark academia juga dan kayaknya ga sanggup sih 😂 takut kena slump juga kalau maksain baca 😂

    1. Karena beberapa selera bacaan kita sama Li, kayaknya ini emang kurang cocok deh hahaha panjang dan berat, penjelesannya itu loh yang buanyak banget bikin berat bacanya. Dan yaps aku mengalami semi reading slump pas baca ini. 1 bulan lebih buat nyelesain buku ini 😆

  2. Wih gercep banget udah baca buku ini. Jadi pikir2 lagi mau baca karena baca reviewnya mba. Padahal di base tuh mayan ngehype yah