Senlin Ascends is a multi-faceted tale. Set in a steampunk world, it tells the story of Thomas Senlin, who takes his newly-wed bride to the fabled tower of babel for their honeymoon. It isn't what he expected. Senlin becomes a mouse in the maze of the tower and his wife is the cheese. As he makes his way, he pits his book smarts against the harsh reality of the tower and is repeatedly forced to admit defeat. Not to be deterred, he takes stock, makes plans and achieves his goals, only to realize that he has to go just that much farther. Is he a mouse in a maze or a hamster on a wheel? Is he overcoming obstacles or turning cogs in a machine?
I see a lot of potential for this series so I'll give the book four stars. If the series peters out into a repetitive string of challenges overcome, I'll probably downgrade to a three. If it delivers on bringing all the themes together, I might upgrade to a five.