Review of Seth Dickinson’s novel The Monster Baru Cormorant

Power was not the province of those who made choices. Power was the ability to set the context in which choices were made.

I enjoyed the first book, but I enjoyed this one more; the characters seem less interchangeable. Plus, we start getting intriguing hints of sci-fi or fantasy elements.

I like how Baru’s philosophy—which views most individuals as powerless cogs in the machine of society—is contrasted with others, particularly Tain Shir’s radically individualist outlook. I’m curious how the conflict between those two deranged characters will play out; I don’t even know what a satisfying resolution would look like.

For anyone who likes to collect morbid figures of speech to randomly sprinkle into conversations, this book has a great one: “hollow as a new year’s hope”.