Review copy provided by Tor.
Every once in awhile there is an epic fantasy that makes me say, “Oh yes, right, that’s why I read epic fantasy!” Even better when it’s a debut author, so I can say that and anticipate more of that person later. The Traitor Baru Cormorant is one of those books. It’s not perfect, of course, but this is not the universe for perfect. (Ours, I mean. Baru’s either.) What it does quite effectively, though, is show a young woman in the process of using the tools of empire to subvert the empire in question–and Dickinson has correctly identified bureaucracy and monetary policy as major tools of empire.
This, folks, is a fantasy of logistics. All the things that we talk about wishing there was more of–accounting, supplies, all of that–in exciting form. Any time someone tries to tell you that bashing people with swords is the main fantasy theme because supplying armies is boring should be turned around so they are pointing at The Traitor Baru Cormorant and then given a gentle shove.
(Also there is bashing people with swords. Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge…true love not in the direction one might expect….)
There is twistiness. There is plottiness. There is double-crossing, there is a sense of priorities not going where they necessarily would for the modern reader. More. More.
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