THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT – a review/response

There’s been a lot of talk about this book recently: both praise and critique. I was deeply affected by reading it. Affected enough to write 2500 words of review. The following is full of every possible spoiler. It is also about the seductive machinery of empire.



first lines meme.

This one’s often fun. Especially when you feel like you will never be writing anything but this novel, forever and ever and ever amen. The first lines meme! In which I post the first sentence of everything I’ve got in progress right now, in hopes of being able to cross some of them off in the near future.

Yesterday in a fit of impatience I rewrote the first 1k of “Ruin Marble” between midnight and 2 AM, so I guess that’s actually in progress now as opposed to completely stalled while I decided what it was about. It’s a sort of writing productivity, even if it’s not The Novel.

WHY o WHY are novels a hundred thousand words in length, WHY o WHY am I not a fast writer, etc. The constant refrain. But hey, have some first lines.

The Hydraulic Emperor”:

The Hydraulic Emperor is nine minutes and twenty-seven seconds long, filmed on an eighteen-quadcopter neocamera rig back when neocameras were the only way to make immersive film.

“Ruin Marble”:

Spring was late.

THE PERILS OF MAHIT (working title; the novel.):

Mahit came down to the City in a seed-skiff, a bubble of a ship hardly big enough for her body and her luggage both.

“Untitled Clone Hive-Mind Story”:

Tsa-Five’s prison was old-fashioned: a cage of metal bars, twelve of her steps long and twelve of her steps wide.

“The Raven King’s Mail-Order Bride”:

The jackdaws are shrieking outside my window, as if I’d summoned them by researching their medieval ancestors.

“Untitled Perfume Wizard Story”:

Ava, who was only Ava by the narrowest of margins and the dregs of jasmine and leather clinging to the pulse-points of her wrists, ordered a second Hungarian coffee.