NPR: To read The Traitor Baru Cormorant is to sink inexorably into a book that should not be anywhere near as absorbing as it is — to realize that the white-knuckled grip with which you hold it was provoked by several consecutive pages of loans, taxes and commodity trading. It seems impossible that the economics of a fantasy world should be so viscerally riveting, but they are, and it’s incredible: You think you’re on solid ground right up until you feel that ground closing around your throat.
This is not a happy book. It is not an uplifting book. But it is a crucial, necessary book — a book that looks unflinchingly into the self-replicating virus of empire, asks the hardest questions, and dares to answer them.