Reviews

The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson

saraspang's review

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adventurous challenging dark mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

sofiruth's review

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4.0

i am sick

oliviakathryn12's review

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5.0

Maybe one of the smartest books I've ever read.
Spoiler The author tells us from the beginning exactly what Baru is - it's even in the title - and yet I spent the whole book going "why is it called Baru Cormorant and not Baru Fisher?" and "there's no way she'll betray the Dukes" and "it's wild how quickly she forgot about Taranoke".
The economics of it all was really fun and interesting, and I can't wait to see what Baru gets up to in Falcrest.

woahno's review against another edition

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3.0

I found out about this book years ago from r/Fantasy and I continued to see it be discussed and recommended since then. So once again, thank you internet community for bringing me to new books.

I consumed this story in two ways, through the audio book and a nice hardcover version. I wish I could find more time to sit and read, or to learn to read faster, or both actually; but alas I have failed to do so. I prefer sitting down and reading a hardcover to any other format. However, audio books allow me to get chores and some more mindless work done at the same time so I find more hours in any given day to listen to a book over reading one. And it is in this way that I arrived at my opinions below.

What I liked.
I positively love that this book talked so much about loans, taxes, trading, and just economics overall. I was even more thrilled to see how well Seth Dickinson worked in his plot and characters with all of that data. There are not many books in SFF that I have read that get into the details like this one did and I found it to be a major draw for me.

I also liked Baru a lot. I was cheering for her to succeed the entire time but there were many times when I did not agree with his choices. She was one of those gray characters that I see keep more and more of but with her own brand of agency.

What I did not like.
I'm not sure if it was the prose, or the intricate politicking, or something unrelated but I didn't ever become fully immersed in the story. This was not one of those books that I was lost in. I think that because of this I saw the ending more clearly. I'm not sure. On one hand, I think the shocked reactions are in part because those readers were just so enthralled and invested in the characters that they were probably hoping the choices made were different. But on the other hand, how freaking cool is it that an author can earn such a shock from some readers and other readers are like, "Well yeah, of course that happened. Look at all this set up for it. And the character is totally the type to do that." Now that's what I called an earned twist, even if it was one that didn't land as powerfully with me as it obviously has with other readers.

In the end, I liked this debut from Seth Dickinson enough that I will certainly be reading book two at some point. I just don't know when.

aarni's review

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1.0

DNF around the halfway mark.

I was just bored. Decent writing, decent worldbuilding, interesting premise, since I am always here for villainous, ambitious and queer women, but this one was largely just ... boring. After realizing I had just tried to forcibly drag myself through the pages, it was time to stop. Life is too short for books that don't engage me, excite me, whisk me away into other realities.

Also as someone who doesn't have a deep understanding of how economics work, how accounting works and who utterly and absolutely despises maths, this was a struggle.

kristamccracken's review

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5.0

This is a smart, well written take on colonialism in a fictional setting. Dickinson's use of economics and politics to breakdown how countries revolt and are taken over was well done. It also has great queer characters. Really looking forward to the next book in this series.

katzen's review

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adventurous emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

ay__arnold's review

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I really loved the first act of the book but felt like it slowed down tremendously towards the middle, i enjoy the (main) characters but im not particularly fond of extensive economics/strategy in books so it wasnt enough to get me through. I might revist one day because I didnt hate it, its just not the book i want to read rn

necronomiconreads's review

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adventurous challenging mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

3.25

aretaa's review

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4.0

It's a very good novel, but the often promised gut-wrenching (by other reviewers) didn't happen for me. :( It probably didn't help that I thought it was obvious where the plot was heading after Baru talks to a certain someone. So no five stars from me.