The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #1) by Seth Dickinson

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“I will remake the world so that no woman will ever have to do this again.”

I’ve been sitting here, looking at a blank word document, for almost twenty minutes. I don’t even know how to possibly start a review for this book. I can honestly say that I have never read anything, in my entire life, like The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. This book was so very quiet, but it spoke so very loudly to me. But this is easily one of the best books I’ve read in my entire life.

Baru Cormorant learns from a very young age that her home will never be safe. For the first seven years of her life, she loved her home with her mother and two fathers. But that all changed the day Masquerade soldiers conquered Taranoke. This book heavily talks about colonization and how the colonizers will take everything, while expecting you to be grateful for them “liberating” the natives.

“Freedom granted by your rulers is just a chain with a little slack.”

This book also heavily talks about gender roles and sexuality. Baru is a lesbian, and it is truly her greatest fear in this world, since one of her fathers got taken away for being “unhygienic”. This is a dark book, and these are constant themes that completely are the reason Baru does the things that she does. But this was a very hard read at times, so please use caution.

Content and trigger warnings for homophobia (always in a negative light, but still very abundant throughout the story), racism, colonialism, sexism, misogynistic comments, talk of genital mutilation. torture, murder, death, animal deaths, graphic violence, loss of a loved one, inhumane conditioning treatments, off-screen rape and forced reproduction, and constant war themes. Also, a queer character does die in this book, and it hurts, a lot, so use extra caution.

But Baru plays the part that the colonizers want her to; she leaves her home, she becomes a student, she becomes a powerful accountant, she becomes what the throne wants her to be, and she never loses sight of her goals. Because Baru knows this is the only way she can truly free people from the oppressors who think they carry out their evil actions in the name of good. This is a book about a girl trying to break a seemingly unbreakable system, using the methods that her oppressors taught her, and it’s so smart, and so painful, and such a gift to the literary world.

I’ve never read a book that’s so multi-faceted before. Every page has a new angle that makes you completely reexamine the entire story. This story is so political, while also realistically depicting what war is like from the winning and losing sides, while completely putting the chaos and heartbreak at the forefront of the story. You won’t know who to trust, which is hilarious because Baru truly is a reliable narrator, but the set up just makes you not want to believe what you’re reading.

But ultimately, this is a book about power and all the terrible things people are willing to do to gain it. There are so many ways to find power and to be able to harness it for yourself. And during this entire book, we get to see Baru do everything in her power to try to carve out a substantial amount of power so that she will be able to change the world.

“This is the truth. You will know because it hurts.”

And you know from the very start, that Baru will ultimately be the villain of this story. Yet, I’ve never read a better depiction of betrayal in any form of literature before. Seth Dickinson has created something so unique, so special, and this story truly feels like a once in a lifetime series. I feel like this isn’t a book that everyone will love, but the people who do love it will love it with their entire heart and soul.

Overall, I loved this book more than any review that I could possibly write (and do this story any semblance of justice). And I am so happy that this is the book that I chose for my birthday buddy reads this year. I mean, I could have probably picked something that didn’t completely rip my heart out upon the last day of reading, but I don’t think I could have picked a more impactful book. I know this last chapter will haunt me for so long to come. I cannot wait to read The Monster Baru Cormorant this October.

And if you did buddy read this with me, thank you so much. Forever thankful for this community and for everyone who takes the time to read my reviews. I’m forever blessed to be a part of this book community, and to have friends that make it feel like it’s my birthday all year round. I love you all! You all bless me every single day. I’ll cherish this story forever and always. (And Tain Hu, Aurdwynn’s rebel duchess of Vultjag, is my only fictional crush, now and forever.) 💗

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The Book Cake Tag | 2018

I was tagged by the amazing Nia @ Shades of Paper! And I tried to find the original tag, and I think it’s from the amazing Jen @ Jen Campbell! And I figured it would be the perfect time to do this tag, because my birthday is next Monday, the 27th!

I mean, is it really a birthday cake tag without a picture of me with a cake?

Self-raising flour: a book that started slow then picked up

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. Dark fairy tale, Russian folklore, winter setting, village surrounded by woods, fae like creatures, lyrical writing, and hella feminist. Sometimes I think this book was written completely for me.

Butter: a book with a really rich, intense plot

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid has the best plot, ever. It is so rich, and so intense, that you won’t be able to put it down. This is the most addicting book ever, and even though I was crying so hard, and borderline hyperventilating, I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

Eggs: a book you had reservations about but actually really enjoyed

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman was a book I was so scared to read, because it is so beloved and has so much hype surrounding it! But dear reader, it is worth every single ounce of that love and that hype. Perfection.

Sugar: a sweet book

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. I am not sure I’ve ever been so happy, and had such a lame grin on my face, while reading any other book. This was heartwarming, beautiful, and a treat to read.

Icing: a book that included all the things you enjoy in a book

Circe by Madeline Miller is the book of my heart. This book is about healing and doing what it takes to come into your own. This book is about love; the love between lovers, the love of a mother, and the love you must find in yourself. This book proves why family of choice will always be greater than family of origin. This book is about magic, and how we can find it in ourselves if we look hard enough. This is a book about becoming the witch you’ve always buried deep inside you.

Sprinkles: a book or series that you return to for a pick-me-up when you’re feeling down

Harry Potter. Always and forever. It will always feel like coming home.

Cherry on top: your favourite book of the year

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton is still, easily, my favorite book of 2018. I still can’t believe such a perfect book exists, and a standalone no less! I can’t wait for September 18th to roll around, just so you can all fall so very in love with this  spooky book, with a dark fairy-tale vibe, that heavily talks about society’s gender expectations, while being a love letter to gender fluidity, and with the most heartwarming polyamorous relationship!

Okay, my loves! I hope you enjoyed this tag! I honestly am the type of person that’s like “August is my entire birthday!” So, here we are! Also, I only picked books that are absolute masterpieces, because my birthday celebration deserves nothing less than only five star reads! But I hope you are all having an amazing August, and thank you for making every day feel like my birthday in the book community!  ❤️

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My Birthday Buddy Read: The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Hey, friends! A month from today is my birthday, which means August is my birthday month! I originally wanted to do this special thing where I had all my Goodreads friends pick books they’d think I’d love, and then I’d spend the month reading them and crediting the people that gave me the recommendations! But life is just too chaotic at the moment for me. And honestly? I have way too many ARCS that I need to prioritize! (Which I completely know is the best problem to have, and I am so very privileged!) But I still wanted to do something with the community to celebrate my birthday, and I think the best way is to host a massive buddy read! Also, be on the lookout for me reading your recommendations month long (hopefully) in December! 💖

But the book I picked to buddy read is The Traitor Baru Cormorant (Baru Cormorant #1) by Seth Dickinson!

“The Traitor Baru Cormorant is an epic geopolitical fantasy about one woman’s mission to tear down an empire by learning how to rule it.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant is one of two books that I get recommended to me constantly! (Full disclosure, the other book is The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni #1) by Helene Wecker!) But I get this book recommended to me at least once a month, I swear! It’s also perfect timing because the sequel, The Monster Baru Cormorant, comes out October 30th, 2018!

And so many of my friends have loved this one, and if you’re on the fence you should check out some of their amazing reviews:
Mogsy @ Biblo Sanctum
Mary @
➽ Elizabeth @ Books and Pieces 

And the reading breakdown is going to be: 
August 21st – Up to page 57 (Chapters 1 – 3)
August 22nd – Up to page 125 (Chapters 4 – 9)
August 23rd – Up to page 182 (Chapters 10 – 14)
August 24th – Up to page 242 (Chapter 15 – 19)
August 25th – Up to page 294 (Chapters 20 – 23)
August 26th – Up to page 344 (Chapters 24 – 27)
August 27th – Finish! (August 27th is my actual birthday, so hopefully we can all celebrate by finishing and loving this book together!) Also, feel free to read less or more, I will just be honored to be reading with you, regardless of your desired speed!

I’m not sure how big of a group will want to birthday buddy read with me, especially because I know many of my friends have read this one! But I figured I can set up some kind of group chat, whether it is Twitter DMS or hashtag (like my friend Julie does), a Goodreads group, or a Discord channel! I guess I’ll see how the response is, and then plan accordingly! (And obviously let you guys know as soon as possible!)

Also, I don’t want anyone to feel pressured to participate in this! This is just a book I very much think I will love, and nothing would make me happier than buddy reading it with the community! But let me know if you’re interested, regardless if this is your first time reading this story, or even a reread! I would be honored to buddy read this with you, especially for my birthday! I hope you also all know how honored I am to be a part of this community that loves books and reading so unapologetically! You all bless my life every single day, and always make every day feel like it’s my birthday! 🍰💕

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💗 And because I know people will ask here is my Amazon Wishlist! But please don’t feel any pressure what-so-ever to buy me anything! I’d much rather buddy read with you all!