The Traitor Baru Cormorant

, #1

399 pages

English language

Published Sept. 14, 2015

ISBN:
978-0-7653-8072-2
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4 stars (65 reviews)

The Traitor Baru Cormorant ( BAH-roo) is a 2015 hard fantasy novel by Seth Dickinson, and his debut novel. It was published as The Traitor in the United Kingdom. It is based on a short story Dickinson wrote in 2011 for Beneath Ceaseless Skies called "The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Her Field-General, and Their Wounds". The novel follows Baru, a brilliant young woman who, educated in the schools of the imperial power that subjugated her homeland, sets out to gain power to subvert the empire from within. A sequel, The Monster Baru Cormorant, was released on 30 October 2018. A third novel, The Tyrant Baru Cormorant, was released on August 11, 2020.

3 editions

reviewed The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (The Masquerade, #1)

Excellent book, didn't make me cry

4 stars

Tumblr had me believing it would be a lot more heartbreaking than it was. I loved the book, devoured it in under 4 days (not easy with a baby around), but I didn't get heavily attached to anyone enough to make me cry if they died.

But I gotta appreciate a slow-burn romance and political intrigue, they're tough to do well. It was good. Looking forward to reading the next one.

Evil fantasy empire yet again fails to be worse than the real British Empire was

3 stars

"Among the Europeans opinion was divided. The older men said I was right, the younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing a coolie, because an elephant was worth more than any damn Coringhee coolie. And afterwards I was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant. I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool."

  • Shooting An Elephant, George Orwell

I get a lot of reading done when I'm visiting family. It's not that I don't want to spend time with them exactly, sometimes I get a little tired though. So I pick a book to take with me and read during the downtime, and that was "The Traitor Baru Cormorant". Unfortunately, it was …

Review of 'The Traitor Baru Cormorant' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Hard fantasy que n√£o envolve drag√Ķes, elfos, magias e provavelmente nada do que voc√™ esperava de t√≠pico do g√™nero. A protagonista Baru Cormorant bola estrat√©gias pol√≠ticas para chegar ao seu objetivo utilizando a moeda e economia, coisas que ela entende muito bem por ter crescido se destacando em matem√°tica e eventualmente virando contadora de Ardwynn. Aqui tamb√©m tem muito assassinato e, pro final, batalhas sangrentas, mas o que mais me chamou aten√ß√£o foia profiss√£o da protagonista mesmo.

Se for pra resumir muito basicamente o livro, ele trata muito de coloniza√ß√£o e o apagamento da cultura local para estabelecer a cultura e ideologias de quem est√° colonizando. Vemos isso logo no primeiro cap√≠tulo onde Taranoke, a ilha onde Baru nasceu, √© tomada aos poucos pela Rep√ļblica Imperial de Falcrest.

A protagonista decide que vai se infiltrar nos Masquerade para destruí-los de dentro para fora e libertar Taranoke... porém no desenrolar da …

Review of 'The Traitor Baru Cormorant' on 'LibraryThing'

5 stars

Hard fantasy que n√ɬ£o envolve drag√ɬĶes, elfos, magias e provavelmente nada do que voc√ɬ™ esperava de t√ɬ≠pico do g√ɬ™nero. A protagonista Baru Cormorant bola estrat√ɬ©gias pol√ɬ≠ticas para chegar ao seu objetivo utilizando a moeda e economia, coisas que ela entende muito bem por ter crescido se destacando em matem√ɬ°tica e eventualmente virando contadora de Ardwynn. Aqui tamb√ɬ©m tem muito assassinato e, pro final, batalhas sangrentas, mas o que mais me chamou aten√ɬß√ɬ£o foia profiss√ɬ£o da protagonista mesmo.returnreturnSe for pra resumir muito basicamente o livro, ele trata muito de coloniza√ɬß√ɬ£o e o apagamento da cultura local para estabelecer a cultura e ideologias de quem est√ɬ° colonizando. Vemos isso logo no primeiro cap√ɬ≠tulo onde Taranoke, a ilha onde Baru nasceu, √ɬ© tomada aos poucos pela Rep√ɬļblica Imperial de Falcrest.returnreturnA protagonista decide que vai se infiltrar nos Masquerade para destru√ɬ≠-los de dentro para fora e libertar Taranoke... por√ɬ©m no desenrolar da hist√ɬ≥ria aprendemos ‚Ķ

Review of 'The Traitor Baru Cormorant' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I liked the writing style, but the story was extremely hard to follow in audiobook form. So many names only referenced once or twice, so many locations changing names and hands. I'm going to give this another shot at some point in the future and update my rating accordingly, but for now I'll leave it solidly at 3 stars. When I re-read, I'm going to read it in print rather than listen to the audiobook, and maybe I'll be able to track things better.

Review of 'The Traitor Baru Cormorant' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I am officially in a rut. My last month of reading has resulted in not completing any series to the end. After failing to complete The Broken Empire and The Dragon Songs Saga I had hoped to complete both instalments for The Masquerade but I'm stopping here.

I truly enjoyed the Dagger and Coin series and felt that Baru was similar to Cithrin bel Sarcour as they used money to create power and force change. Baru was a more ruthless master of coin but I enjoyed the similarities and excited to continue reading the series.

And just like the last few books I come in to the home stretch of the book and realize I am not as interested as I expected. Then doubt enters my mind if I want to keep reading the book and by the time I reach the end, no matter how enjoyable the ending, I …

Review of 'The Traitor Baru Cormorant' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

4.5 / 5, rounded up

So good! Amazing that it's a first book from Dickinson - very excited to see what he'll produce in the future. It's not 100% perfect: some of the plot developments are a little too convenient, and I think the book could have been fleshed out a little to make it more believable. At just under 400 pages, it could have used maybe 100-150 pages in the early parts to set the stage more. I've seen conversation arguing that the later parts read as too top-down, but I enjoyed the feeling that I was reading almost a blow by blow for a strategy game since that's essentially what Baru is doing.

The setting was fresh, and I particularly enjoyed the Asian influences. It reminded me a lot of James Clavell's Shogun.

Even suspecting the ending I couldn't stop for the last 50 pages or so. What …

Review of 'The Traitor Baru Cormorant' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Wow. This book is a tragedy. You know it's a tragedy going in -- I mean, the title says she's a traitor, it's not going to be a happy outcome. But still, even though you know it's coming, it manages to kick you in the stomach and then rip your heart out.

The biggest complaint I've heard about this book is that the character is supposed to be intelligent, but her intelligence is never shown. I would argue that since the book is told from her point of view, we're being told that she's smart because she's been led to believe that. She's not as intelligent as she thinks she is. Her successes and her failures come from her willingness to do whatever is necessary to get more power.

The story explores themes of race, gender, and sexual identity. For socially conservative readers some of the viewpoints might be annoying, …

Review of 'The Traitor Baru Cormorant' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

It's hard to discuss why I ended up disliking this novel without giving away at least some level of spoilers, so consider yourself warned:

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!

I was ready to give this one a much higher rating right up until the ending.

The master manipulator is a trope of fiction that needs to die. People aren't capable of running complex plans with multiple levels of deception at a level where everything ends up working out just the way they planned. Yes, there are people like Richelieu in real history, but their most complex plans are incredibly simple in comparison to those we find in fiction. Yes, there have been many double-agents throughout history, but they don't pull off the kind of bullshit we see in this novel.

I'm pissed because this book looked like it realized this. Both the protagonist and her antagonists, despite being very competent people, seem …

Review of 'The Traitor Baru Cormorant' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

TL;DR A genre-defying, epic story of a genius accountant who proves that money is a true power. A story full of blood, treason and insidious manipulation, of a culture that has refined brain-washing to an art they apply to whole countries. I have a love/hate relationship with this story of anti-heroes. Read it for yourself and decide if it also reminds you just a little of Game of Thrones.

I guess most of the rest of this could be considered spoiling the book.
So here follow the minor spoilers.


The best thing about this book is the title. It's a huge spoiler and it should be a reminder. But then this epic tale makes you forget this warning, as it tells the story of a young woman ripped from her own culture and thrown into the machinations of an empire that conquers with trade instead of soldiers.

"It's all for …

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