The Traitor Baru Cormorant
by Seth Dickinson
A common theme for me is to start a book like this, get enthralled by the world building and characters and then start a slow, steady descent into disinterest. Towards the end I found it hard to care about the endless stream of creative names for people and places – nevermind tell them apart.
As a fantasy book with a modicum of magic, it’s certainly unique. It’s (intentionally) impossible to match the regions and races of people in the book to real-world counterparts.
If you like the machinations and plotting in A Song of Ice and Fire and fancy 300 pages of Council of Elrond-esque meetings between backstabbing nobles then you’ll probably love this. It has a lot of interesting things to say about colonialism with a big splash of economic theory to boot. I appreciated the flawed, titular anti-hero. But it doesn’t compel me to pick up the sequels any time soon.