With first person narration, The Traitor tells the story of rare-named Nophtha, a soul-eater and member of a despised religious sect who works for an oppressive Empire. Noptha gives us some relative background and then jumps to his following of the dangerously eccentric soul-burner, Wite, a hunted fugitive and murderer.
Cisco fully realizes Noptha through his stark, repetitive, and even dull narration that maintains a poetic rhythm. Nophtha dances a line from justifying his actions to near insults of the reader and their inability to understand. The narration slowly builds to the end, where it becomes almost a manifesto of Wite’s, as written by Nophtha.
Ok, so here’s the real deal – Cisco is impressive with what he does; this is damn good writing. BUT, I did not like this book at all. As skillfully as The Traitor is presented, I simply could not get into it – this book bored me to no end.
You see one of the big reasons that I read is for entertainment. This isn’t the only reason, nor does it preclude me from appreciating a book for aspects that aren’t entertaining. Nothing about The Traitor entertained me. With all the wonderful realization of Cisco’s prose, it was dense, dull, and utterly uninteresting to me. By the time I reached the end of the book, where the crescendo should have me eagerly anticipating the climax and the perfect last line of the book, I didn’t care at all. I was left with joy that I had finished – that I no longer had to read this book.
Cisco is a writer who admits to challenging his readers – you have to bring something (perhaps as much as he brought himself) with you when reading his work. Some people will respond to this style of writing, some will not. I don’t shy away from a challenge in my reading (it’s one of the reasons why I happily chose to read The Traitor in the first place), but in this instance I was rewarded with a book that I did not appreciate.
I expect that many of you will enjoy The Traitor, even though it did not work for me at all. If it were a longer book, I’m certain I would not have bothered to finish. I wanted to like this book, and it probably deserves a better explanation as to why I didn’t like it, but this will have to suffice – I just found the book dull and completely uninteresting. Approach this book with caution; it’s not an easy read. My choice to stick to my rating system often caused difficulty and this book is one where I wish I had at least a two-score system that could adequately reflect the skill and success that Cisco does achieve with The Traitor as well as my complete aversion to it. 5/10