First, 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.
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.
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.
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