I'm currently behind on reviews, so don't be surprised if the recent reviews are a bit sparse.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant

Cover of The Traitor Baru Cormorant.

I loved The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. I don’t even know where to start. Our protagonist is a young girl in a “primitive” country when the story starts. Her country is annexed by the big empire next door by economic and cultural means. The Masquerade promptly sets about destroying local culture (which involves polyamory and homosexuality, which doesn’t go well with the Masquerade’s straight repressive culture and eugenic views). The protagonist is educated in the school, recognized as a genius, and on fast track to rise high in the professed meritocracy. Her talents are mostly in economy and related areas, and the book follows her first posting, complete with intrigue (well, mostly that), love (both homo- and heteroromantic), hate, betrayal, loyalty, some fighting, all that. The book moves very fast, which was a delight to me. Every sentence counts, and years can pass in one page, while still hinting at the important things left out. The ending is a very brutal payoff, and I was happy that I had the second book at hand.