Author: Seth Dickinson
Category: Political Fantasy
Publication: September 25th, 2015
A geopolitical “fantasy” novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, brought a political scene that was good at times but slowed and was dull with others. The overall story and tale wasn’t bad, but it felt like at points it did not deliver the goods.
Baru Cormorant is a young girl growing up in her home land. A government body, the Masquerade, shows up and takes control. They do it economically, socially, and stealthy. The make her island coin money worthless through trade, while also whispering and changing her peoples ideas of how society is suppose to be. If you are gay, or in a polygamous relationship, (at that time a common practice at her home) then you are considered “unclean”. She grows up vowing to take her homeland back and to get revenge for the disappearance of one of her fathers.
The author did really well about speaking out against another group of people shoving their ideas down your throat, no matter how you feel. This is a hot topic going on in our world and it is great to be open minded and to show the how much effect that this type of society can have on us. The only problem is that it feels like it was just a hook to get you started on this book. After the first few chapters, the prejudice is not relevant in the story any more. It would have had a bigger impact if these issues would have been a problem thorough the whole book.
Baru is a cold and collected character who think very strategically. She is an accountant that uses her wits to out smart and attempt to take over the empire. Maybe then author is saving that for later books, but it was a little weird that she was gung-ho about taking down the empire but shortens her focus to a smaller area out of nowhere.
Every other character was bland and forgettable. It isn’t that the author didn’t try, but there was no connection with any of them. That being said, this is disappointing because there are a lot of them! Like, more than we can remember.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant is interesting but will leave you wanting so much more.
There is not a lot for me to say for this one. I had about 1 hour left of the audio book and I could not get my self to finish it. This was such a slow book that when it did get interesting, I just did not care. I can see how some may like it, but this was for sure not for me.
Full disclosure: I did not finish this book. I got most of the way through it but just could not find it in me to finish it all the way through.
I can’t even figure out exactly why I didn’t like it. The only thing I can pinpoint was that it was very slow.
I also felt like Baru’s character changed partway through for the convenience of the story.
At the start, she is this intelligent, politically savvy 8 year old that really impressed me. She showed her determination for tearing down the Masquerade that took over her homeland. Except…she kinda gives up really early and just decides to throw behind a rebellion that she had previously wrecked an entire economy to end just so that she could climb the ladder to get to a place where she could tear down the Masquerade from the inside.
Sound confusing? That’s because it really didn’t make sense. At least not in a way that keeps with Baru’s character. She was presented as incredibly fierce and determined and then gave up the actual first time that something did not go her way.
The only other reason that I can think of that I did not like this book is that I don’t feel like this author put that much into creating a connection with the reader. I kinda feel (and I hope that I don’t get lynched for this) that the author had the LGBT aspect deeply ingrained this story and then expected that to be all that was necessary for connecting with these characters (if you don’t mind spoilers, please see the podcast on this. We actually go into this a lot more during our discussion).
For example, I felt like there was very little chemistry between Baru and Tain Hu. I liked Tain Hu but I didn’t feel the tension between her and Baru that I think that I was supposed to.
The only actual character that I felt any sort of connection with was Muire Lo. And I want to say that was because he was outside of that sexual tension bubble but honestly….there were tons of characters outside that bubble and I felt nothing for them. Baru was reminded at times that her problem was that she saw other people as pieces to be moved around and forgot about the human element (I’m paraphrasing. Please correct me if I got this wrong) but I think that the author forgot about that too.