Title: The Traitor Baru Cormorant (some editions published as The Traitor in the UK)
Author: Seth Dickinson
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: 15 September 2015
Length: Novel (400 pages)
Format I read: ebook
Note: I requested and received this book for free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
The short version: Clever, cunning, and dark as hell. Do not fuck with Baru Cormorant.
The long version:
This book hurt me in two ways. The first was a familiar pain so let’s just get it out there: queer characters die tragically. FFS, again?
The other pain, well, some people pay for that kind of thing.
How do you fight the system? That’s really the question this book asks. How do you fight a culture that broke you into pieces and reshaped you in their mould? Is it possible? What do we lose when we hide a part of ourselves? What do we gain with power? So many questions and, really, so few answers. Like the best stories The Traitor tells a story but doesn’t tie it up too neatly. It leaves you thinking, puzzling over its horrible philosophy lesson.
Baru Cormorant is the perfect hero. Or antihero. It’s hard to tell. I sympathise, I ache for her pain, I want to scream at the trap she’s been put in by an empire of heartless masks but, DAMN ME, is she a dark-hearted sociopath.
Why? I was screaming that at her in my head as I read. Why the fuck are you doing this? But you can’t reason with revenge. Everything must bow down before revenge – not love, not loyalty, not family, or self can be allowed to take precendence.
There is nothing here but pain. And you will suffer it beautifully in this book. The slow twist of the plot will wrack you, , the sweet sting of the emotion will flay you, and the betrayals will hurt you. And yet you will turn the page for more.
You kinky motherfucker.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant – 4 stars