The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Remember the Red Wedding scene in GoT?
That sense of horror and disgust and shock and the feeling that everything was NOT going to be all right ever again?
That's how I feel now, having read Monster Baru Cormorant.
Sure, sure, I kinda felt that way at the end of Traitor Baru Cormorant, too, but this is the real deal. The Game is set up and all the pieces are on the board. No side trusts her and yet, no one KNOWS, and yet she still manages to keep everyone doubting. Is Baru with them? Against? Is she fighting and scheming against the Masquerade? For it?
Even she doesn't know. She's betrayed so many people, thinks of herself as a monster, and yet she is still having an issue between wearing a mask for doing the right thing or just doing the right thing because it's right, with no calculation.
It's obviously a journey novel, but she knows all the islands in this fantasy realm. She's the one gaining ever more power. But pushing aside the deeply dark bits, it's more about identity. Being a lesbian, being feared, finding real connections with others, and making absolutely impossible decisions... regularly.
The novel juggles all of it brilliantly, and more. The islands and cultures are amazing. The depth of worldbuilding is as good or better than almost any Fantasy novel I've read. And the author doesn't stint when it comes to economics, politics, science, medicine, and even the mythological ramifications of a world rich with uranium (and how it poisons the people here).
Every character is smart. Almost everyone wears a mask between official beliefs and keeping an open mind, between faith and mistrust. But best of all, the journey Hits Hard. *shiver*
Well worth the wait.
View all my reviews