- File Size: 908 KB
- Print Length: 302 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: #1,478,219 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Babylon Eye (Linked Worlds Book 1) Kindle Edition
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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.
It is the story of a lost dog with technological enhancements, and a cop who is looking for it.
It is also the story of a place; The Babylon Eye. This place is so important because it acts as a main character in itself. We contemplate its wonders as tourists, and the secrets that it hides are showed in subtle ways. The Babylon Eye is between the Earth and the Strange worlds. It acts as a portal but it is also some kind of a luxurious cruise that floats inside the Void; an empty space between worlds. During the story, we travel from the guts of the Eye, with detailed explanations of the vermin that infest this place, to luxurious restaurants with extraordinary views of Strange worlds under the sea.
And this is just the scenery. The characters are unforgettable.
Meisje, one of the main characters, is a female dog and she is cute. Did I say she is lost? Well, she is, in this huge complex that is the Eye. She is hungry and weak. No matter how much we want to save Meisje, it seems inevitable the dog will die in the end. Honestly, I couldn't cope with the idea of this happening. It is illegal to have that kind of dog in the Eye, and rival tech companies want to find it to steal her technology. It is safer to kill her, but still…
Elke Veraart is the police officer that is sent to rescue the dog. Or kill her if she cannot take it out safely. The police woman just got out of jail, she is a little depressed, but very good at her job. She is a great character. A lesbian woman with horns on her head. But she has a big heart. She is inclined to help others but she has little concern for her own life. She follows the tradition of classic detectives who have to do their job against authoritarian rules, trapped in the middle of a battle of interests that cannot end up well in any form. The formula is not new, but it works surprisingly well in this novel.
The Eye is inhabited with all kinds of creatures. Apart from humans, the alien species form an imaginative carnival of different kinds of creatures that are quite human-like, but not. The common language at the Eye arose from a mixture of alien and human languages. The description of the language through Elke’s eyes makes it alive.
I really loved this book; in case you haven’t noticed! I felt like I had been magically carried away to a strange place in the middle of the Void. I didn’t want to come back. In fact, I am going to read it again, analyse the structure, and learn the vocabulary until I can understand what makes it so good!
I hope there is a second part. Please Masha!
While I wouldn't call it a fast-paced read, the story never drags and there's always a new element to the story coming--sometimes from where you'd least expect.
As with Wolf Logic (Crooked World Book 2), this book includes an alternate POV that fascinated me.
The book is a complete story on it's own, but I can't wait to see what the next part(s) holds.
I loved Elke and Meisje as characters, and some of the secondary characters were amazing too. I'm looking at you, Alexander the Great.
If you like a good science fiction, with interesting aliens and diverse cultures, this one is a must. It's well-written and formatted, and I couldn't put it down once I started reading. Can't wait for more in this world!