Review: The Memory of Babel

“Once upon a tomorrow, before too long, there will be a world that will finally live in peace,”

~ Christelle Dabos 

The Memory of Babel by Christelle Dabos
447 pages
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Published by Europa Editions, 2020
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Re-readability: I don’t know if I’ll be returning to this one. 
Reviewed by Indiana 

In the third installment of The Mirror Visitor series, Ophelia is once again thrown into a new adventure and a new society. On the lookout for her husband Thorn, who she hasn’t seen in more than two years, she journeys to Babel, an ark ruled by the Lords of LUX, a seedy and unyielding group that controls everything from the clothes that people wear to the words they’re allowed to say. 

Assuming a new identity, Ophelia uses her ability to “read” objects to train to get closer to the Secretarium, a swirling magical place inside the Memorial which she suspects holds “the ultimate truth.” During this tedious training, she comes across rebels fighting against LUX, and tension builds as a few people around her either die or are traumatized by something called “the Other.” 

Throughout this main narrative are chapters featuring Victoria, Berenilde’s young daughter who has a strange ability to leave her body and go on journeys. Her chapters keep readers informed of what’s going on with the rest of Ophelia’s band of friends. 

Although she assumes a new identity, Ophelia’s character is explored and developed quite a bit throughout; she seems to toughen up and become more sexually aware. It’s refreshing and makes one want to root for her all the more. 

The training section, which was admittedly most of the book, felt manufactured. It took the “magic school” or the “dark academia” trope and ran with it, reminding me of every other book I’ve read that uses those tropes. Also, in the end, it seemed pointless that she even went through the training (for reasons that will become apparent in the last 75 or so pages). 

The Memory of Babel was a frustrating follow up to The Missing of Clairdelune, which I absolutely loved. Maybe I need to give it a second read, and I still plan to read the rest of the series, but I was disappointed by this one. 

Has anyone else read it? What did you think?  

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