The Republic of Thieves Read Along Part IV

LynchRepublicOfThievesSubterraneanFirst, let me just say that it was FREAKING HARD not to finish the book off. But I have waited, and probably won’t start the last section of the book until this evening. I deserve a little gold star in practicing self control. Scott Lynch does make it very hard though.

OK, so this week Little Red Reviewer is our host, so make sure you clap your eyeballs to her post sooner or later for insightful answers. Mine will be a bit raggedy as I worked all weekend and really should be sleeping, but I just can’t, not until I answer these questions.

We covered Chapters 8-10 this week.

MAJOR SPOILERS for the entire series, not just this book, lie below. So, if you haven’t read Book 1, but are reading this, then you’re daft. If you haven’t read Book 2, but are reading this, you still a bit daft. If you haven’t read Book 3, but are reading this, what? Why are you torturing yourself? Go read Book 3! If you are reading Book 3, but haven’t made it to the end of Chapter 10, I still highly recommend you go do so before even reading the discussion questions.

OK, that was my good deed, service announcement, and spoiler disclaimer all in one.

Let’s start with the Espara timeline.

1. We finally know why Sabetha dies her hair, and that’s so disturbing even the Thiefmaker under Shade’s Hill was disgusted by it. Too dark for this world? Or just right?

This series isn’t a blushing bride when it comes to violence, but by and large, Lynch has left out (steered clear of?) sexual violence in all 3 books. First, let me say that I really enjoy these books, not just for the cleverness and the humor, but because things have costs to the characters and often that cost is pain and violence. So I like the amount of violence in these novels, not because I enjoy written violence so much as the violence makes the characters and their actions and feelings real for me.

I don’t mind that sexual violence has been left out of these books, I had wondered at why even back in Book 2. Some authors steer clear of it because you lose part of your readership, or gain some that might not be about the characters but more about the violence. But Lynch doesn’t seem to be one to hold back. Perhaps because his main characters have been male, it is only now we are seeing this particular slice of nastiness through a female character’s voice. So, yes, I am glad he put it in and made the reactions of Locke, and Sabetha’s frustration over the situation, real.

LynchRepublicOfThievesAudio2. The “Asino” brothers are drunken idiots, but they’re not blind. What did you think of the little rendezvous they helped arrange for Sabetha and Locke?

Hooray for them! Why the hell did Calo and Galdo, and even Jean, wait so long to hep make it happen? Personally, if I had been Jean, I would have been sorely tempted to lock Sabetha and Locke in a small cozy place for 24 hours long ago, even when they were mostly fighting/ignoring each other.

But now I have to talk about Sabetha and Locke and their first snuggle together. Not as ‘everything’ as they expected, huh? But both were willing to give it a few more gos before giving up, so it’s too bad they didn’t get an immediate chance to do so.

3. Locke managed to get everyone out of the Boulidazi mess we discussed last week . . . what do you think of this latest  Boulidazi complication?

Well, it is no longer complicated for Boulidazi :).

And can I just say that it was Sabetha that came to Locke’s rescue with Boulidazi the first time, coming up with the ‘just rehearsing a scene’ bullshit and ramming it down Boulidazi’s throat, making him feel like an idiot and an lowly skulker at the same time? Well, once again, we see that Sabetha is the quickest on her feet, and the the one thinking in this case. She kept Locke from strangling him, and instead had the nerve to finish what the shears started. Then she jumped to the door, ripping her clothes off on the way, to fool Boulidazi’s man.

And once everyone’s had a bit of alcohol to steady themselves, Locke comes up with a plan. I am looking forward to seeing just how that plays out in the last reading section :).

And back to Karthain (I’m jumping around in time here, leaving the most important bits for last)

4.Time is flying, and the election is getting closer. Desperation calls for cheap tricks. I think my favorite so far is Sabetha’s special roof guards. What’s your favorite election dirty trick so far?

The little old ladies is great. I guess Locke and Jean could go to the extra work to provide lots of extra, unnecessary traffic to and from their head quarters, have crazy-ass shit delivered and removed, and buy some messenger pigeons with random zen sayings tied to their legs for random releases. But, that would be a lot of extra work and everyone is pretty busy as it is.

I liked that Locke tried to nab up several of the wealthier refugees for their political campaign. I especially liked that he didn’t allow the party to simply drop them when they found out they couldn’t be registered to vote for 3 years, pointing out that they could very well be supporters in the future, along with any other refugee family that they brought to the neighborhood.

5.There’s a mole in the Deep Roots. Was that person’s identity a surprise to you? And how did you like Locke’s method of identifying the person?

Well, that was broadcasted pretty darn early, like that first night Locke and Jean met Nikoros and he was flying a mile high on whatever dust he shoves up his nose. So, no, that wasn’t a surprise at all. Though I do wonder why Lynch made it obvious so early on? I hope the ending holds another surprise, not just for me, but for Jean and Locke on this one.

Locke’s method for detecting the mole was pretty simple and straight forward. So 1) I wonder why he didn’t do that sooner, just to test things out and do some preemptive rodent clearing of the ship; and 2) why Sabetha didn’t have a contingency built in to catch such a simple trick? Like she couldn’t instruct Nikoros to pass on Locke’s specific instructions concerning secrecy of a task? Anyway, I am waiting until the end of the book to have a final say on how clever or not this particular plot point is. Lynch has delightfully surprised again and again in this series, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens in the final few chapters.

LynchRepublicOfThievesGerman6.What’s so important about this Lovaris fellow? The election is right around the corner, so why introduce someone new so late in the game?

Well, for some reason Lovaris carries some weight in the voting – perhaps through a large number of followers or perhaps in votes that he has bought. So by ‘winning’ his vote, Locke may just be able to win the election for Patience. As to why he is introduced to late in the game, I am not sure. Perhaps Locke and Jean thought he would be easy to sway? Still, I think Sabetha would have gone to work early on such voters, planning ahead as she does.

7. It’s so nice that Locke and Sabetha can finally have some nice, normal dinner dates. He even cooks her dinner! But that sneaky Patience, always interrupting everything! Finally, she promises some answers. that’s nice. what, Locke is WHO? Locke is a WHAT? How much of it do you believe?

I’ll be upfront and say that depending on how this book ends, this particular point will make or break the book for me. If I take Patience’s tale at face value, I don’t like it for a number of reasons. It’s too neat and tidy, explaining too much. Also, certain parts of it are so far beyond anything that has been hinted in the story line up to this point, and things like that in any book always make me feel it is more for convenience of plot rather than being well planned out.

So, with all that in mind, again, this is Lynch and I don’t expect anything to remain neat and tidy for long, and he hasn’t done odd, totally out there bits that were simply there to move the plot forward before. I am very eager to finish this book and see what Lynch has in store for us on this. Do I believe all of Patience’s story? Hell no! I am much more inclined to be like Jean – even if part of it is true, Locke is still Locke and Sabetha is still Sabetha and basically the GBs should carry on as they did before.

Other Tidbits:

Sylvanus went from a ho-hum character for me to having my admiration for smacking Moncraine a good one when Moncraine suggest Jean’s lady merely spread her legs for Boulidazi and suck it up.

This reading section left us on the brink of the election and part of me was expecting more shenanigans, but I guess we had plenty of Locke-Sabetha shenanigans to keep the pages turning.

It’s good that Locke and Jean don’t let on to Nikoros that his spying has been found out. I look forward to seeing just how he gets used in the final few chapters.

We got to see Sabetha run away from Locke, again, when Patience interrupted them, but this time, I definitely feel that Sabetha was harsh. Locke could have really used some solidarity in that moment, and Sabetha did not stand with him.

Jean and his ‘training’ in Espara – it wasn’t just on acting and how to put costumes together, was it? 😉

My Fellow Bastards

Little Red Reviewer

Over the Effing Rainbow

Genkinahito’s Blog

Tethyan Books

Lynn’s Book Blog

All I am – A Redhead

Theft and Sorcery

Joma’s Fantasy Books

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Many a True Nerd

Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers

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34 thoughts on “The Republic of Thieves Read Along Part IV”

  1. Is it ironic that I’m becoming a bit more forgiving of Sabetha’s retreating here, after that bombshell?

    You make a good point about her, and I would have thought more of her if she’d stood by Locke as well, but… It’s Sabetha, and it might sound hard on her, but this is in character for her so far. She’s run from Locke for less, so I wasn’t surprised when she bolted after that “revelation” from Patience. On the other hand, she did go back after she read Locke’s letter, so maybe there could eventually be some hope for them? We’ll see…

    1. True. This is Sabetha’s character. While she doesn’t run from anything in the world, she does run from Locke and his professed love. So, yes, it is in character for her to leave Locke alone, forlorn, and torn apart by what Patience told them.

      1. I’m entertained that so many reader’s feelings about Sabetha change, and then change again while we’ve been reading.

        Sure, she likes Locke. She’s got the hots for him. but she’s not obsessed with him, the way he is with her. I sympathize with her running from him. She signed for a romantic relationship, not a revelation that the guy she likes might be someone else.

  2. I suppose there hasn’t really been much of any sexual violence in the series, up until this section. It still does seem to fit with the general darkness of the series, though.

    The Nikoros plotline does seem too obvious for Lynch’s usual plotting. Maybe there will be some kind of twist coming up.

    I’m definitely with you on the “Locke is Locke” boat, even if Patience’s story is true. Whether or not it is 100% true, though, I think he’s going to have lots more problems with Bondsmagi in the future.

    I’m not too angry at Sabetha for running off on Locke that time. Maybe it wasn’t the best reaction, but I think that she really just didn’t know how to handle the situation. In her defense, she did send him a nice, long, honest letter soon afterward, to let him know things between them were interrupted, not ended.

    My answers:

    1. “Locke is Locke” – yep, I think so too. He has none of the Bondsmage’s memories or powers, he started out as a child and grew into an entirely different life. He’s his own person. There’s a suggestion from Sabetha that some other sinister side of him might emerge, but that sounds like something the Bondsmages would cause, not something that would happen naturally.

    2. I am hoping for a twist in the Nikoros plotline as Lynch has not been so obvious in the past.

      And yes, Locke is Locke even if he does end up being, at least in part, a reincarnated bondsmage.

  3. 1. Good point – the series has avoided sexual violence, which is naturally a lot darker. I can see why it would come in now that we’re getting more narrative from a major female character, but there’s also plenty of homosexuality (mostly socially acceptable, it seems) so sexual violence should not be limited to women.

    3. Ooh yes, I also liked Sabetha’s forethought and ingenuity in this scene, especially when she whips off her top to fool the guard without worrying about modesty or something.

    5. Yeah, Nikoros was too easy to catch and it seemed stupid of Sabetha to act so obviously on all his tips. Mind you, when Nikoros was ‘recruited’ it was by a redhead, not someone referred to specifically as Sabetha, so there may still be some trickery here.

    – Go Sylvanus! That was a particularly vile comment from Moncraine.
    – Shame, Sabetha turning her back on Locke again. He had a good point, I thought, and she seemed too easily offended at a moment when Locke was taking in devastating news. At least she sent him a letter later.

    Here are my answers:

    1. That is a good point about the sexual violence being limited to females (so far) in this series – tho there was one comment by Locke. When Sabetha was talking abut Chains limiting them by giving them loyalty and a sense of family, Locke made that comment about (paraphrasing), ‘should it have been more like Shade’s Hill, some buggering here and there’. But it was a passing comment, and not like Sabetha’s concerns or Jenora’s event later.

  4. I confess I hadn’t really thought too much about Sabetha running out on Locke but you’re right – she does have a bit of a ‘running’ habit.
    Oh, and yes, two gold stars I think for your restraint!
    Moncraine was a bit of an arse wasn’t he – considering he socked Bouldazi for daring to try and rescue his business and pay his debts.
    I really don’t know what to make of this reveal. I think I’m in denial – it’s easier on my brain if I just think that Patience is being a bitch!
    Lynn 😀

    1. Moncraine is really, *really* impulsive. and an asshole. and I’m really happy Sylvanus got some important lines. He was all depressed that he was getting too old to play the good parts. But nope, he had an important part to play here!

      Can i be in denial and be morbidly curious, all at the same time?

    2. Yes, Moncraine was such an ass. Well, he has been an ass from the beginning, but he was an entertaining ass. Now he is just an ass.

      I know what you mean about being in denial. I can only guess that this is a little bit what Locke feels like.

  5. I rather like that Lynch hasn’t used a lot of sexual violence so far. In a way it’s almost the easy option in books (one that I’m even guilty of myself!) – stick in a rape and you have your character arc and tension all sorted out. Kudos as always for surprising us.

    Anyway, here it is appropriate though. For Sabetha to be this hung up about being a redhead had to be really, really bad, and I don’t think he could have come up with anything worse.

    1. Yeppers. Sabetha has had to worry about this issue (can I call it an ‘issue’ when it is that nasty?) since she was no longer protected. It must have weighed on her greatly. i bet she wanted to burn her hair off a time or too just to be free of that danger.

  6. I’m with you and Jean on this. I just don’t think it can all be true. Besides, Mr. Lynch so far has shown that the situations never, ever turn out as he might have hinted.
    I mean I actually thought Patience might be Locke’s mother for a minute there. 🙂 He definitely had me with that.

    P.S. Love the “It’s no longer complicated for Boulidazi”. 😀

    1. “It’s no longer complicated for Boulidazi”

      I love that too!! Uggh, if Patience had turned out to be Locke’s mother, that would have been wrong on so many levels.

    2. jean is the patient one, the insightful one. I hope Locke listens to him on this and doesn’t spiral into another depressed drinking bout. Jean can’t babysit him forever.

      Yeah, not complicated for Boulidazi at all.

  7. I love that Sabetha saved the day both times with Boulidazi, the second time though when she went to the door to speak to his body guard I kept thinking ‘hide your hand. hide your hand!’ because I’m sure it was mentioned just before that it was covered in blood. She really managed to keep it together.

    You’re right she does run a lot? But not sure I can blame her as Locke did have a go at her, but at the same time it’s something he (might) have to learn to deal with to understand (assuming its true) and so he’s the one that kinda will need ppl there for him and not visa versa. But the letter was nice and Sabetha realising she was being a little hasty.

    1. Ah, yes! What did they do with the blood? And when people die, the bladder and bowels relax so there is usually a bit of a mess to clean up. I think it would take a bit more than the costume pomanders and incense to cover that up!

  8. 1. That detail was disturbing and generally speaking as much as I like watching/reading violence I don’t want to see sexual violence unless it’s used for an important point such as plot and character. It was justified here and fit in the world at large. Are we going to see sexual violence practised on men?

    7. I felt that Patience’s reveal left the whole series wide-open. There’s no indication that Locke has any powers or connections from and to his former self but they can be built in later. It makes him more important to a lot of factions which will be interesting. I still like the fact that Locke is a normal guy trying to roll with the punches and not f*ck up too badly most of the time so I don’t want him becoming Gandalf or anything.

    1. ” It makes him more important to a lot of factions which will be interesting.”

      I know, right? he’s going to have a tough time being inconspicuous. and it’s not like you can ever hide from the Bondsmagi anyways.

    2. So far Lynch has been very equal in his writing – portraying men and women in all walks of life and as bad guys/good guys. So if he’s going to start including sexual violence towards women, I would expect that he include some reference to such violence towards men at some point in the series.

      Yep, so far Locke is just trying to deal with one fucked up situation after another, and as a normal (if genius) guy. I hope he doesn’t turn into a Gandalf either.

  9. If I wasn’t so behind this past weekend and needed to get the Monday post written I would have simply finished the book there and then – cripes, Mr Lynch!

    1. I agree that the inclusion of violence is not necessarily something I want to read, but it does add to the sense of danger threatening our characters: there are some very real and unpleasant consequences in this world.

    2. I actually appreciated that their first fumblings were just that: I would have been very disappointed if their very first attempts at sex were mind-blowing and perfect because it takes practice to get it right! 😀

    5. I have to agree that this seemed far too obvious to me – I am really wondering if they have placed him as a really obvious mole candidate so that they can exploit this route to Sabetha.

    I still have a sneaking suspicion that Sylvanus is actually Chains in disguise . . .

    1. it’s nice to read a teenage sex scene that reads like an honest teenage sex scene. lots of fumbling, no one is really sure what to do. Virgins don’t have awesome porno sex.

      Sylvanus might be chains? that would be hilarious!!

    2. Yes, i liked that that Locke and Sabetha didn’t have mind blowing sex right off the bat, both of them being inexperienced. And it does take practice. 🙂

      Haha! I like the idea that Sylvanus is really Chains in disguise.

  10. I was more surprised that Jean didn’t catch on to Nikoros’ duplicity, as Nikoros was trying to ease his conscience and being pretty darn obvious about ratting them out.

    I agree with your thoughts about Sabetha’s reaction to Patience’s revelation. I was scared when she was all like “There’s something you two should know” that they were relatives or something, and that Patience wasn’t just being a cock block out of malice. The reincarnated Bondsmage thing is definitely a surprise, but I think Sabetha’s response was way out of proportion, and she left Locke hanging when he could have used a friend.

    1. Me too! At first, I thought Patience was going to tell them they were long-lost relatives and that would going to make things all kind of weird and complicated. I was almost relieved when it was simply that Locke is some reincarnated uber powerful, yet crazy, mage.

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