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The Monster Baru Cormorant

(The Masquerade #2)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  4,842 ratings  ·  658 reviews
A breathtaking geopolitical fantasy as fraught as Game of Thrones, The Monster Baru Cormorant is the long-anticipated sequel to Seth Dickinson gut-wrenching debut, The Traitor Baru Cormorant.

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 ver
Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Mayim de Vries
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Make enough death, and like any other currency it loses its value.”

The promiscuous book-lover that I am, I fall in love with new series quickly and you can find my passionate and awed reviews that sing this love without abandon. However, once the initial infatuation fades away, it takes a lot to keep my love going, lest I move on to some new book-love of my life. If you remember my review for Traitor Baru, you know that I was truly smitten. Sadly, it was a one-book stand. Nothing that could deve
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Remember the Red Wedding scene in GoT?

That sense of horror and disgust and shock and the feeling that everything was NOT going to be all right ever again?

That's how I feel now, having read Monster Baru Cormorant.

Sure, sure, I kinda felt that way at the end of Traitor Baru Cormorant, too, but this is the real deal. The Game is set up and all the pieces are on the board. No side trusts her and yet, no one KNOWS, and yet she still manages to keep everyone doubting. Is Baru with them? Against? Is sh
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a review of book #2 in the Masquerade Series, so there's spoilers for the first book. If you’re thinking of getting into the series, check out my review of book #1, The Traitor Baru Cormorant ! I received an ARC of this book from the publishing company Tor in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Monster Baru Cormorant was one of my most anticipated sequels and *happy sigh* it was fucking brilliant.

The sequel picks up exactly where the first boo
Mogsy (MMOGC)
2 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Some stories just don’t need sequels. Imagine watching Humphrey Bogart bid his heartbreakingly romantic farewell to Ingrid Bergman on the tarmac at the end of Casablanca, only to follow him to a bar afterwards to hear him whine pathetically for hours on end about second-guessing his sacrifice and beating himself up over making the worst mistake of his life. Well, that would rob all the magic out of a classic ending, wouldn
Greg R
Nov 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
The Traitor Baru Cormorant was one of my favorite books. I was really looking forward to its sequel - which would, doubtless, be thick with geopolitical intrigue and betrayal, perhaps a dash of economics, all in the twin names of vengeance and ambition. She would enact world-shaking plots and leave others floundering in her wake.

What I got is this piece of crap. Goodbye intrigue, hello adventure stories. Imagine you were reading A Song of Ice and Fire and Tyrion Lanister suddenly decided to drop
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Mar 05, 2018 marked it as to-read
I just noticed this terrifyingly beautiful cover 😭 can't wait for this! ...more
Charlotte Kersten
“She accepts the world as it is and the world accepts her thus. She is not mastered. What is done to her cannot confine what she will do.”

So What’s It About?

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
This book has certainly been one of my most hyped of 2018. Has it lived up to the hype? For me, absolutely. However, I can see some people being disappointed by it. Since this book won’t be out for a while, I don’t want to reveal too much. As such, the format of this review will be a little different than what I usually write.

Plot: Monster starts right where Traitor ends, and we get another glimpse of That Scene with more insight. From there on, Baru begins to learn her new powers as a cryptarch
Umairah (Sereadipity)
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Tor for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Monster (the sequel to The Traitor) was another sprawling geopolitical fantasy full of twists and scheming. It wasn't as mind-shatteringly brilliant for me as the first book but it was still very intriguing and well worth reading.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5

This book started exactly where the previous one ended. We met the main character Baru again
Thomas Stacey
I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in a book in my entire life. When compared to the masterpiece that was ‘Traitor’, this instalment falls woefully short.

Baru has become a open book, telling the world and his wife all her secret desires and plans, all while remaining a “deep cover” agent. And her voice has changed. Trust me, try reading the last 20 pages of ‘Traitor’ before this and I promise you you will find it jarring.

If you enjoyed all of the politics, scheming and betrayals of b
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
[SPOILERS if you haven't read the first book]

The start of Seth Dickinson’s sequel to The Traitor Baru Cormorant backtracks a little, relating moments just prior to Tain Hu’s execution, as Baru fastens her chains and whispers in her ear before leading her down to the bluff where the waves will crush her against stone. That the two lovers share an intimate moment in plain view of witnesses without breaking their cover serves as both a reminder of the shocking events that transpired at the end of T
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtiq, fantasy
Before you read this book you should read this: Seth Dickinson's notes on what you need to know from the first book before reading this one. The first book came out several years ago and was extremely dense. The second picks up straight afterwards and is at least as dense, and not only assumes you remember the first in high detail, but that you've identified the things that the author wants to carry forward in this novel as important.

Baru Cormorant has succeeded in her bid for power. She is now
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
The best world building I have ever read. A Masterpiece. Lets hope that the third book will come quicker than in three years.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Oct 01, 2018 marked it as to-read
I was just approved for this book on NetGalley, YAY! But I haven't read the first book yet, oops. It's been sitting on my bookshelf for about a year now. This sequel is being published at the end of October, so I guess I'd better get going on The Traitor Baru Cormorant... ...more
Para (wanderer)
Thanks to Tor and Netgalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes provided may change in the final vesion.

For me, this has been one of the most anticipated releases of 2018. I couldn’t wait to return to the world and see where the story takes Baru next, I pre-ordered in case I wouldn’t get the ARC, and when I did, I was almost wary of reading it, anticipating the emotional punch. The enthusiasm from bloggers who got it earlier was contagious. Sadly, while it was good, it
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I confess, I wasn't particularly clear on the geography of Baru's world or the political system in Aurdwynn in book 1, and it turns out I kind of needed to be for this book. The repercussions of Baru's stint on Aurdwynn are explored in this book, as well as the geopolitical situation of the lands under the Masquerade and others still independent.
I struggled with remembering who was who from book one, though I loved the music of all the names. That said, I still enjoyed this fairly long explorati
Jessy (OCD Anonymous)
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book sucked. Wow.

Or maybe I just read it in an uninspiring environment.

When you have nothing to do at your sterile, completely silent, slightly oppressive work place... Maybe picking up Baru Cormorant isn't the BEST idea you could have. But still.
I expected to be transported. Awed. Horrified. Reluctantly impressed.
Instead I was just bogged down by political manoeuvres that were so dense and so baselessly convoluted that I couldn't be brought to care about them. (view spoiler)
Feb 10, 2019 rated it did not like it

Well this was an EPIC disappointment! Tain Hu deserved so much better than this absolute snoozefest of a sequel. 👎😝
Kathy Shin
As the long-awaited sequel to Traitor Baru Cormorant, Monster was one of my two most anticipated releases of 2018 and I can safely say that it did not disappoint.

There are few things to keep in mind when diving into Monster.

One: this isn't a book that you can power through in one or two sittings. It's a dense, slow-paced story stuffed to the brim with intricate character work and social sciences.

Two: this is an entirely different beast to the first book. Traitor Baru Cormorant was very much an
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
“The Never-ending frustrating failures of Baru Cormorant” , that’s what this sequel should have been named but it wouldn’t have been as catchy. It took me a little over 3 weeks to complete this book, phew! I am emotionally exhausted and a tad relieved that that task is over with, trust me…the will power it took for me to pick it up after I had set it down for less frustrating and bleak material was huge.

I don’t know if it was the hype and the long wait for a follow-up or it was all of the, i
This is my 2,000th review! I should say, it’s my 2,000th review written, not posted, since I started reviewing books in 2008. This one’s been holding me up.

Baru Cormorant is one of those series where you really have to be in the right mood. And you have to make sure to take the time to let the story breathe. At least for me, this isn’t a book you can just read straight through in a matter of days, or even in a week. It’s too raw and stressful and there is so much detail. And the protagonist is s
Hiu Gregg
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Maybe like a 4.5 in the end? Some revelations were more confusing than anything else, which impacted how "satisfying" this was to read, but I guess that comes with a book that was split in two. Looking forward to book 3 to see where things go from here. Roll on, August! ...more
Jon Adams
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The only thing wrong with this book is that it's over. ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
10/31/18: IT HAS BEEN READ.

So, I binge-read this as soon as it came out. (As in, yesterday.)

My original rating still stands, though a more level ratinwig would probably be closer to a 4.5/5. There's just a little something that this book is missing that makes it as good as The Traitor Baru Cormorant, its predecessor. I think what Traitor had was a bit more naïveté and thrilling joy of the idea of turning the Masquerade inside out. Though Traitor tackled serious themes and ended on a very somber
"Surely she could justify any sacrifice. To stop now would be to betray those lives she’d already spent … and the more lives she spent, the more reason she had to sacrifice even more …”

I remember being really captivated by The Traitor Baru Cormorant back in 2015. I haven’t re-read it since. This second book, The Monster Baru Cormorant, makes me wonder if I wouldn't care for the first book as much if I re-read it, or if this volume simply constitutes a sophomoric slump.

Baru is broken for un
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 stars.

"She felt despair. How could she be anything except what he had designed? But other hands had touched her. And closer to her heart.”

I almost feel like I need to go back and lower my rating for the first book a tiny bit just to reflect how much better I liked this one, because HOO BOY, I wasn’t expecting this to be the case, but I enjoyed this one so much better.

That’s not to say it’s necessarily a better book and from a cursory look at the reviews it seems like most readers actually
I'm so conflicted. I'm a huge fan of this series and I still really enjoyed this sequel but it was so messy. Way too many POVs, super weird shifting between first person and third person POV SOMETIMES IN THE SAME SCENE, and random shifting between past and present tense. I need to know why Mr. Dickinson's editor didn't do anything because that was so jarring and annoying to read.

Despite that this book made me love Baru so much more and I think she's now one of my most favorite fantasy antiheroin
Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
The Traitor Baru Cormorant murdered me so uh. i guess i'll just let Seth Dickinson do it again with this one ...more
Stella ☆Paper Wings☆
3.5 stars

I'm just so confused. This is not a bad book by any means, but I'm just a little disappointed since The Traitor Baru Cormorant turned out to be my favorite read of 2021, and this just didn't really live up to that hype.

This is a really weird book, my friends. I had to read this book in 2 days (like, had to, it was going back to the library and I was leaving town, I had no choice), and that really became a struggle the more I read and the crazier the worldbuilding got. There isn't as m
Johan Haneveld
Mar 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
7+ A slight disappointment after the truly brilliant, well written, tightly plotted, gut wrenching, emotional roller coaster journey that was 'The Traitor Baru Cormorant'. It's the usual curse of a second album (or book in this case) having to live up to the promise of its predecessor and at the same time subverting expectations. After all, the creator cannot offer up the same dish twice, but his fans desire something that at least tastes familiar. In this case Dickinson does his best but ultima ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please combine 3 22 Jul 16, 2019 06:15AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Monster Baru Cormorant [November 2018] 8 51 Nov 11, 2018 01:39PM  

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Since his 2012 debut, Seth's fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Analog, and nearly every other major science fiction and fantasy market.

He's a lapsed student of social neuroscience, where he studied the role of racial bias in police shootings, and the writer of much of the lore and fictional flavor for Bungie Studios' smash hit Destiny. In his spare time he works on the collaborati

Other books in the series

The Masquerade (4 books)
  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #1)
  • The Tyrant Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #3)
  • Untitled (The Masquerade, #4)

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  Author C.L. Clark is no newcomer to the sci-fi and fantasy scene. Though she just published her first novel, The Unbroken, earlier this year,...
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“I will write your name in the ruin of them. I will paint you across history in the color of their blood.” 22 likes
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