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Babylon Steel Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Babylon Steel is an interesting novel. There are three distinct acts, but also an additional, `historical' thread of chapters that alternate with the main story set in the `present'. It's a little difficult to go into too much detail, but the search for the missing girl is only part of the overall story, as Babylon and her companions (also her employees) find themselves mixed up in some local politics, and Babylon's own past catches up with her.
The setting is an interesting one. In Sebold's reality, there are multiple "planes", connected by various portals (some stable, some not), and Babylon's home is on a plane situated on an intersection between a number of them. As a result, the place is populated by a large number of intelligent and morphologically different species. I'm not sure if this would technically make the novel Sci-Fi or still fantasy... I suppose both? The technology levels remain low - for example, people still fight with swords and not guns.
Usually, I find the alternating-time-periods structural device frustrating, but the way Sebold has written the novel, I found myself getting invested in both threads equally.Read more ›
When her life goes horribly wrong, she escapes and makes her way to the small (and possibly magically created) plane of Scalentine where people of all sorts, human and otherwise make their homes and live off the portal trade under the shadowy protection of the "Diplomatic Section" and the more day to day reality of the local militia. Babylon finds the place congenial and generally friendly to the "Love" side of her skillset and eventually works her way up to owning her own, completely legal, brothel, The Red Lantern, where if they can figure out how to have sex with you, and you aren't a complete jerk, you can find a safe good time.
There are only a couple of flies in the ointment of Bablylon's contented life. The local cult "Vessels of Purity" have started a campaign against whoring, and have made the Red Lantern one of their targets. Since the place is completely legal, they can only picket and make life difficult, but it's enough to affect business. Then there's a missing girl the Diplomatic Section wants Babylon to find, the coming crazyiness of a two moon syzygy, and, oh, distinct signs that Babylon's past may be about to catch up with her...
I should say up-front that Babylon is a whore, and a proud one. The book doesn't shy away from that at all, but at the same time, it is not erotica. If you are looking for the tale of a chaste blushing heroine, this is not it.Read more ›
It's not a simple sword-and-bodice story about a brothel-keeper with a heart-of-gold. There are a couple of levels to this story. In addition to the present-day situation of ex-warrior Babylon Steel and the problems in her life in Scalentine, there is a slowly revealed story of an abandoned child named Ebi who exists on one of the other planes of existence in this story's universe, a subplot that slowly ties into what is happening in present-day Scalentine.
For urban fantasy fans, there are were-creatures, the Fae, aliens of every description, a mysterious diplomatic corps, and a very creepy religious order. But they all were treated rather matter-of-factly, as part and parcel of Scalentine's everyday world, with no one group superior to the other. I liked that. The book was also well-paced with enough going on in the twin storylines to keep things interesting and moving along.
I'll be keeping an eye out for Gaie Sebold's next book.
Right off the bat, I'd like to say this book is a super nova of pure entertainment. Don't come in expecting to discover a lost work of Shakespeare.
Babylon Steel tells two stories, one of a brothel owner, the other of an orphan girl who eventually becomes the avatar of a goddess. I'm not going to come right out and say it but you can see where the tales will intersect. The story is largely a mystery. Without giving too much of the plot away, I like what Sebold has done with certain fantasy cliches like prophecies, chosen ones, and gods in this book.
Babylon is a fairly well-rounded character. She's tough but feminine. The fact that she's a prostitute that runs a brothel seems almost secondary. Actually, I didn't quite buy her as a prostitute until she had sex with the lizard man who had two penises. The supporting cast is fairly well done, from her staff at the Red Lantern to her uneasy relationship with Chief Bitternut, the head of the city watch. Scalentine, the setting, is one of the more interesting fantasy cities I've read about in recent years. It's located at the conjunction of multiple planar portals. It's no Bas Lag but few fantasy cities are.
Both the city and the writing style remind me of Simon Green's Nightside series quite a bit, only with less tedium and more smut. I'd say the writing is better than Green's.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A gripping story. There were bits in the middle where the flashback chapters were more interesting than the realtime ones, but on the whole, it was never un-enjoyable. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Quite frankly, Gaie Sebold's Babylon Steel is bloody brilliant. When I tell you it's one of the best books I've read in a long time, don't take that to mean I've not read anything... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Chloe Yates
It came highly recommended by people whose tastes are usually trustworthy. Because of that, I may give it another try. If I get further, I may even rescind this review. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Eleanor M. Coy
Read from January 30 to February 03, 2015
Babylon Steel is a unique fantasy book that offers a story filled with strange beings, alternate planes and an interesting main... Read more
nice adventure romp with a sexy foundation. Multiple universes, species, and mores from the viewpoint of a brothel owner who just happens to be a former avatar of a god.Published on June 15, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Everyone knows that Star Wars isn't really science fiction, it's just fantasy with space ships. Which doesn't make it any less amazing (when it's amazing), mind. Read morePublished on August 11, 2013 by Karl Ruben Weseth
The book was okay. There were no great moments, just average. Probably will not read again, but you are welcome to it.Published on July 4, 2013 by Marvel
I like any book that has a strong, no-no sense heroine, and that is certainly who Babylon is. This is the story of her beginnings (how she became who she is) neatly tied up with... Read morePublished on April 27, 2013 by Rooney Kelley
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