Believe me, I’m sad at myself for giving this book 2 stars rating but I must be honest, this book was a massive struggle for me to finish.
“This is the truth. You will know because it hurts.”
And you were right, the truth is that I’m disappointed and it really hurt. To be fair, I despised accounting with a fiery passion and my expectation for this book may be too high. I bought this book in January, I’ve been waiting for the release of The Monster Baru Cormorant before I started this one; that’s ten months of anticipation. What’s crazier is that this book really should’ve worked for me, a lot of things I heard about this book sounds like something I usually enjoy, but like always, only after you really start reading the book then you realize that the experience is not as good as what you think it’s going to be. So what exactly went wrong here? The way it was written. Please remember that this is just my opinion, if you loved the book, that’s good for you.
The prose to me felt like reading a history textbook and I had severe problems immersing myself with Dickinson’s way of writing. It felt like everything happened too fast, relied a lot on coincidence, and most of all, the majority of the characters were so easily forgettable. Four or five characters like Baru, Tain Hu, and Muire Lo aside, the other characters almost sounded the same because they were written without having their personalities explored; give me two days and I’ll forget the side characters completely, I already did. This was absolutely not a character-driven book, not by far. So many characters and names mentioned and yet there was not enough substance or anything impactful and unique to make me care or remember them. Even the main character, Baru was like a walking emotionless android accountant to me and the story was also immensely predictable.
This was honestly a 1 star read for me until the ending happened. The final section of the book was greatly written and engaging but it didn’t leave me reeling or soul-crushed as it did towards many other readers. Heck, I’ll even go ahead and say that the first 30 pages of Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames made me feel more than the entirety of this book. The only praises I can give toward this book is that Seth Dickinson is a smart author that managed to implement accounting as the main ‘destruction’ skill for a unique fantasy experience. Other than that, nothing in the book worked for me, which is odd because it should’ve worked but it simply didn’t due to how disconnected I am with the way it was written.
It pains me to say this but The Traitor Baru Cormorant could actually be the most disappointing book I’ve read this year. I usually give a series two books before giving up but in this particular case my problem lies with the prose itself and because of that, I won’t be continuing to the next books.