Book Review: The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (The Masquerade #2) | Wyrd & Wonder 2020



Genre : Fantasy

Publisher : Tor Books

Length : 464 pages

Format : eARC

Rating : 2.5 stars

Publication Date : October 30th 2018

ISBN : 0765380749




Publisher’s description

Baru Cormormant’s world was shattered by the Empire of Masks. To exact her revenge, she has clawed her way up razor-edged rungs of betrayal, sacrifice, and compromise, becoming the very thing she seeks to destroy.

Now she strides in the Masquerade’s halls of power. To save the world, she must tear it asunder…and with it, all that remains of her soul.


Book Review

Baru has done it: she is now Agonist, one of the cryptarch who secretly rule the Masquerade. Baru should feel victorious but the events of The Traitor left her in shambles. She is now deeply scarred by what she did, how she betrayed Aurdwynn, the people who worked for her and her lover, Tain Hu. However, she now has the opportunity to ignite a war that could destroy the Masquerade from the inside. If only, she survives the journey.

I don’t know where to start with this book. The Traitor Baru Cormorant is one of my favorite books of all time. To me, it’s perfect, it has everything I want in a book, a fascinating main character, gorgeous writing, political machinations and a lot of unexpected twists. In a way, The Monster has all the same elements, however, the execution was very different from the first book.

This book felt… off. I had several issues that prevented me from enjoying The Monster. The most obvious problem was Baru. I loved her in the first book: yes, she was flawed, selfish and pretentious yet, I could understand where she was coming from. I could understand her actions and motives: she wanted to save Taranoke, her home island from the Masquerade.

However, in this book, the protagonist who was once a brilliant strategist and a clever accountant has become a self-centered drunkard obsessed with herself, blind to the others and to her own goal. I can understand how the event of the first book would be traumatizing, she’s young, extremely powerful and she betrayed all the ones she loved in the most horrible way possible. That’s not always a great mix. However, I cannot understand the complete personality change.

I can like a book without enjoying reading about the main character if the plot is interesting. But, here again, my expectations weren’t met. Where The Traitor has a perfect pacing – I wouldn’t add or take off any word- The Monster is completely different. I found the first half of the book a slog to get through. The second half of the book was much better but still, a 400+ pages book shouldn’t feel like a 600 pages one.

Reading The Monster Baru Cormorant was frustrating because I could tell it could be an amazing read, it had so much potential to be as good, if not better, than the first book, and it wasn’t. Some parts were very good: the ending was explosive and very “Red wedding” like, the new cultures introduced like the Mbo were fascinating and I loved the new POV character, Tau-Indi. She was a breath of fresh air compared to how unsufferable Baru was the entire time.

I don’t know if I’ll continue on with the series or not. I feel like I should because I have only one book left to read and the ending of The Monster was shocking enough to intrigue me. I think Seth Dickinson did a great job at expanding the world and the scope of the story and I’m curious to see where he is going to lead us. I also want to see how Baru is going to turn out (and if the title of the last book, The Tyrant Baru Cormorant, is a good indication, it’s going to be interesting) and if she’s going to succeed or not. The only thing that is scaring me is the fact that the next installment is going to be more 600+ pages. If it’s as good as The Traitor, it’s going to be wonderful, if it’s like The Monster, I don’t know if I’ll get through it or not…

If you read this book, I would be curious to know if you liked it or not. Did you enjoy it less or more than the Traitor? 🙂

2.5 stars.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. My thanks to Tor Books for the egalley.


Credits: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

18 thoughts on “Book Review: The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (The Masquerade #2) | Wyrd & Wonder 2020

    1. I think the first book stands well on its own so, if you’re still interested by The Traitor, you should give it a try. When I first read it, I thought it was a standalone because, while I wanted more of Baru, I could have done without a sequel (and now that I’ve read the sequel, I think it should have stayed a standalone haha).


  1. While I enjoyed The Traitor Baru Cormorant, for some reason I’m unable to explain I did not feel the desire to read this second book – and by now I’ve learned to listen to what I call my “book vibes”: your review just confirmed me that my… bookish sixth sense might have been right…
    Thank you so much for sharing this!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was never tempted by the series, I must admit – Piotrek’s review was very convincing and I learned to trust his assessments (well, most of them, anyway! ;)). Sorry this didn’t work out for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really loved the book when I first read it back in 2015 and I loved it even more when I reread it last year. However, the sequel really soured my feelings about this series. I’m really hesitant to pick up the third book. I guess I will wait for some feedback before picking it up (or not!).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can relate to that – I just finished The Machineries of the Empire and while I absolutely loved the first book, I had some reservations about the second, and the third left me completely dismayed; nearly all the strengths of The Ninefox Gambit were gone and instead I got a hasty and ungrounded sketch of what could have been a decent book. Long story short, I can’t help you with Baru Cormorant, but I do feel your pain!

        Liked by 1 person

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