Synopsis from GoodreadsTomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.
The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They'll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She'll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she'll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.
In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery - and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.
But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.
3 Star ReviewI loved the way in which this book started as we get to read the invasion through the eyes of a child. You can tell that she is a determined and intelligent girl from the very start It was also great to she her -especially at the beginning- trying to balance the tradition's she has always accepted and the new culture which she is being taught.
Baru's determination continues though out the book and she has this great balance of bravery and moments of doubt and self-pity. There are so many people playing for power in this book at some stages it was hard to keep up with who was doing what and why. There were even parts of book where I wasn't sure what Baru herself was aiming for. All thought I enjoyed this book it didn't grab me, I just didn't connect with the character and the storyline.
This book is complex and full of rebellion plans, moves and counter moves, twists and turns. I love the quote on the front of this book; 'A mask can hide a thousand lies...' and I think this just sums up this book as Baru can't trust anybody if she wishes to succeed in her ultimate aim.
P.S. This book has a cool map with notes on each of the Dukes and Dutch's with I found slightly helpful but there were a few times where it took me quite a while to link the person to the place described on the map and Baru's home country wasn't included which was confusing for me at the start.