Swanwick, Michael. The Dragons of Babel. New York: Tor, 2008. Summary
: Will le Fey is an orphan living an ordinary life in a rural faerie town when one day a dragon crash-lands and crashes the party. Will becomes the dragon's hated representative, and after he manages to destroy the dragon, his town exiles him. He eventually ends up a war refugee in the city of Babylon, where a confidence trickster named Nat schemes to put him on the vacant throne... Comments
: I read The Iron Dragon's Daughter
in middle school, shortly before high school came along to suck up my every waking hour for the next four years, and retained vague memories of its unusual mixture of magic, heavy industry, and frank descriptions of sex. I reread it again last year and found it still plenty of fun to read, if not particularly profound. As it turns out, The Dragons of Babel
is much the same as its prequel (which you do not need to read first)--in most of the narrative structure particulars. A protagonist starts out at the bottom, meets a dragon, and ends up climbing the social ladder until a big finish in a high place convinces the protagonist that a more modest life might not be preferable after all. And in the process, you get a book full of culture- and world-building that is distinctive and instantly recognizable as Swanwick's. He also provided some long-awaited explanation as to what the deal with the high-elves' power is, which was much-appreciated. Ultimately, though, despite the politicking of the final third of the novel, this is a fundamentally escapist read with plenty of rich, decadent signal and little in the way of message. Rating
- A fantastic yarn that aims to entertain...and for all intents and purposes entertains very well.