- File Size: 908 KB
- Print Length: 304 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1539816699
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: November 25, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01N69BTZ8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,223,235 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$11.50|
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The Babylon Eye (Linked Worlds Book 1) Kindle Edition
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The Babylon Eye (what a great name!) is a huge, constructed portal between the worlds of “the reals” (humans), and of “the strangers” who come in many shapes and forms from everywhere that is not “real.” The presence of gardags in the Babylon Eye is highly illegal. Elke has to work undercover and search for the dog in her off-hours. She has to be careful because she recognizes early on that there are competing interests in the Eye, everyone has their own agenda, everything is highly politicized, and Elke could easily become expendable. She has to figure out who is trustworthy and who is not.
This book is much more than your typical sci-fi book. Du Toit is a master writer who effectively creates a whole new world for us in the Babylon Eye. Her descriptions of this world are complex and rich. At the same time, she takes us into the Babylon Eye world in a way that we never get lost or confused. Her descriptions are very cinematic so we can “see” in her words this very unusual place. Her language is at times very lyrical. For example, Elke goes to a market and encounters some “stranger” perfumes, of which Du Toit writes, “perfumes subtle and rich, spicy fragrances painfully intense like memories of lost childhood or dreams forgotten as soon as the sleeper awakes.” This is lovely writing – to create in words a sense of a fragrance that is both deeply familiar and deeply alien.
Du Toit brings it all. Her story has mystery, suspense, action, science fiction ideas and concepts, and at the heart, hers is a story about love. This is not the typical romance. It’s about love between a human and a non-human. I just wish I could give The Babylon Eye ten stars.
When Ursula Le Guin died earlier this year, I despaired, wondering if there were any sci-fi writers on the horizon to carry on her legacy. Ursula, fear not. Masha is here.
Masha du Toit is one of my favorite authors. I started to write "current authors" but decided that she is one of my all-time favorites. Like the greats, her stories offer both entertainment and social commentary. Plus, there are dogs in all of them -- so far.
This is the story of Elke, a woman who is in prison, but is offered a deal that could result in her freedom. She is an expert dog trainer, though the dogs she works with are not normal dogs. They somewhere between cyborg and dog. As you may have guessed, Elke's world is not the one we all live in.
In the time/place of the story, there are "reals" and "strangers" and there are multiple worlds, with gates between them. The gates function as small, closed communities with people from both worlds living and working together. Elke is tasked with finding a gardag who is lost and whose handler/trainer has disappeared in one of the gate communities -- The Babylon Eye. The gardags are built by a particular cooperation and are not supposed to be in the Eye, so the whole thing has to be done covertly.
One aspect of the story that I really enjoyed was the slow, quiet ratcheting up of tension. There are times that the reader knows things that Elke doesn't know, and that adds to the build-up of the drama. The world-building is beautifully done, as well. You understand all sorts of things about the setting without them being explicitly explained.
The only thing I didn't like about the story was that it ended. I wanted to know more about pretty much all of the characters. Happily, it ends somewhat openly -- there is room for a sequel, should Ms. du Toit choose to write one.
If you like stories with strong, female main characters, alternate reality (possibly dystopian?) stories, or stories in which dogs play a central role, you will probably enjoy this one.