OMG, YES, you are really seeing what you’re seeing! DeeZee is doing book reviews!
The Traitor Baru Cormorant / Seth Dickinson
Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up and see red sails on the horizon.
The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They will conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, join the Masquerade, and claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.
To test her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.
This is a geopolitical Fantasy and something a bit different. Baru’s home is conquered when she is very little. New rules & regulations are imposed on her people with no regards to their former beliefs & culture. Baru is different than other kids. She asks questions. She is curious & clever. She is obsessed with power and where it comes from.
She makes a plan. She will do the long-con. Play the game of the Masquerade. Learn and climb the ranks. Gain power. And then destroy them.
This is a GREAT premise and I enjoyed reading about Baru, especially when she was still a kid growing up. Baru has 2 fathers & one mother. Her people don’t judge whom you are with. Men, women, who cares.
The new empire does though. Very strictly. They condemn homosexuality and call it unhygienic. Baru herself is a lesbian but has to hide the fact. Especially later on in the book it’s becoming harder & harder for her and the tension is unreal. You just pray for her to stay safe.
Baru’s hatred for the Empire grows stronger & stronger, especially after one of her fathers is killed.
The Empire notices how promising Baru is as a student but does not fully trust her. They send her to one of the most dangerous parts of the world, a country called Aurdwynn. The Empire’s efforts to conquer it have been futile so for.
For Baru, a hard time starts. As the new accountant she is alone & doesn’t know whom to trust. Even though Baru doesn’t show a lot of emotions, you can’t help but feel for her, and I was constantly scared for her. I also didn’t figure out whom she could trust so that was exciting to read about!
There’s tons of characters but I honestly have to say that most of them I already forgot again. Apart from the duchess Tain Hu who is a more fleshed out character.
Baru does make a lot of mistakes and I feel she was too much of a pawn in this game.
I was expecting a bit more and felt like it wasn’t well thought through at some points. It felt a bit pretentious. You were expecting big swerves but they kinda never happened? I don’t know, I felt led down by the ending & solution to the whole conflict. I also thought that the whole system in Aurdwynn was a bit confusing. Like who has power over this part and who doesn’t like this duke again because why? I lost track of the people and whom they hate sometimes^^
It’s a great setting & world and the start was really great, but I think it lost a lot of traction throughout & got confusing. The ending wasn’t satisfying.
If I had written this review straight after, I would have given it a higher rating. I was thinking more positive about it. But now after some time has passed I don’t feel like that anymore. Isn’t it funny?
I still would like to continue though. But unfortunately I can”t find the book in the kindle store.
1Q84. Part 1 / Haruki Murakami
This is the real world
There is no doubt about that.
But in this world there are two moons in the sky.
In this world, the fates of two people, tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both.
Something extraordinary is starting.
My first Murakami! And not my last. I did not know anything about this book when I bought it. Only that it was magical realism. It was recommended to me and I thought why not. I started it without knowing anything and it was awesome! So different to everything I’ve ever read! Obviously, it takes place in 1984. In Japan. And it follows 2 storylines. First, we have Aomame. Aomame is basically an assassin^^ She is such an interesting character. Basically, everyone in this book is. Everyone is kinda quirky & special. I needed some time to warm up to Aomame, but we gradually get to know more about her, her work, her past & I really enjoyed reading about her!
She realizes things are kinda off and starts some research. She finds out that the world she is in is not ‘her’ 1984 anymore and tries to find out what happened.
Tengo is different – I liked him immediately! He is a teacher and writer/editor. Together with his agent he decides (reluctantly) to rewrite a novella that was written by a 16year old girl for a competition. They both agree on the fact that the story is amazing & will definitely be a huge success but needs some work.
So Tengo meets up with the young author Fuka-Eri to discuss her work and that’s where the story shows that it’s also a Fantasy work! I don’t want to give anything away, but firstly, I LOVED Fuka-Eri and her interactions with Tengo. She is dyslexic and doesn’t talk a lot. And when she does it doesn’t always make sense. Fuka-Eri’s life & past are a mystery but she keeps mentioning ‘the little people’. Tengo realizes that there’s more to the story and they all might be in danger.
I was impressed but just how well the storylines start coming together. Not only Tengo’s and Aomame’s, but also the mysterious religious group living in the mountains.. It’s all so freaking well done! Even the ‘little people’ fit in? They creep me out though!
This was so much fun to read! Not a lot has been revealed, but the stage has been set and writing this, I want to start straight with book 2. Maybe I will soon.
Only because I needed a little to warm up to Aomame. And there’s too much sex with middle-aged, balding dudes.