I read a really spectacular Advance Reader Copy yesterday of a book called The Traitor Baru Cormorant (out Sept 2015. I’ll talk more about it then). I was hooked from the first page and cried through the first 40 pages. It’s a tragedy in the traditional sense, like Madame Bovary or Macbeth (or Mass Effect 3!). You know everyone is fucking doomed. You know it from the first forty pages, and the inevitability of that, of knowing that to “win” in this book, for the protagonist, means the endurance of staggering, brutal losses, was actually terribly comforting for me.
I dreamed about it when I went to sleep—about being stuck in these horrible political nightmares, of trying to untangle plots through bank notes and accounting, and desiring the wrong people, for all the right reasons, in a society that kept close watch on me, like a secondary world fantasy Big Brother, marching me inevitably toward my doom. I dreamed of trying to fight a system within a system that was horribly corrupt, and trying to retain my own sanity, my own decency, my own sense of self, while knowing the only way to win was to give all that up.
Horrible choices. A terrible bind.
And I admit that sometimes this is what is feels like to be a career novelist.