Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution

by R. F. Kuang

I snapped up this book the moment I saw it, because I already loved R. F. Kuang’s The Poppy War. Babel is a hard book to describe but an easy book to recommend. But I’ll try to describe it anyway.

Babel is about communication, colonialism, cultural appropriation, and capitalism. It touches on so many of the conversations we have been struggling to have about those things—especially over the last few years. It is also about magic. The magic of silver working is literally lost in translation. It is a feast for word nerds (like yours truly). And it is a compelling story of unlikely friendships and reluctant heroes.

I loved it, and it’s going straight onto my book recommendations.

Sorceror to the Crown

by Zen Cho

English magic is fading and it’s at least partly because of the patriarchy. If you liked Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, you’ll probably like this book even better. It’s set in the same era, but written more friendly to modern readers so it is more of a page-turner. Also the central heroine is a compelling character (if sometimes annoyingly dense, as most heroes apparently must be).