Where I Got It: A review copy from the publisher via Netgalley (thanks!) & I bought the audiobook.
Who I Recommend This To: Epic fantasy fans who enjoy a good thief/scam element.
Narrator: Michael Page
Publisher: Del Rey (2013); Tantor Audio (2013)
Length: 650 pages; 23 hours 44 minutes
Series: Book 3 The Gentlemen Bastards
Book 3 in this excellent series starts off where shortly after we left Jean Tannen and Locke Lamora at the end of Book 2, Red Seas Under Red Skies. The ending to Book 2 left the readers wondering if Locke was really poisoned, and the beginning of Book 3 answers that question. Jean and Locke quickly find themselves entangled with Patience of the Karthain Bondsmagi. She drives a steep bargain, requiring that Jean and Locke rig the 5-year Karthaini election in her faction’s favor. So off to Karthain we travel with our two heroes. Meanwhile, this book, like the previous two, is coupled with flashbacks to the young Gentlemen Bastards. We finally get to meet young Sabetha, the love Locke has been pining for through the first two books. All the Gentlemen Bastards are hormonal teens and Chains needs a break. So he kicks them out for a summer, sending them to Espara to help a friend save his acting troupe from financial collapse. Yeah, that’s right, the Bastards on stage!
Scott Lynch gave us plenty more on Locke’s background with the flashback scenes and Jean got some extra ‘training’ in Espara that was fun to hear about. I have to say the biggest plus to this book was to finally meet Sabetha and I was very pleased with who she turned out to be. She completed the big picture of the Bastards. Between the two timelines (play in Espara & election in Karthain), there was plenty of pranks, egotistical attitudes, and even some deadly danger. The readers also get more info about the Bondsmagi and the Eldren, two elements I have been greatly curious about since Book 1, The Lies of Locke Lamora.
When I review a book, I compare the book to what else the author has written (and I have read) and other books in the same genre. Was this my favorite Lynch book? No. I felt the first two books in the series had a tighter plot, that every element of the story was relevant to the plot. Also, this book left me with many, many questions, and not just about the big arc of the series, but also about story arc contained within covers of Book 3. Finally, there was a big, BIG reveal that could alter how much I like or dislike the series from here on out. I will have to wait til Book 4 to see how things play out……But, with all that said, when I compare this book to other Epic Fantasy or Thievery books, it is still one of my favorites.
It was great to get to spend some more time with Calo, Galdo, and Chains via the flashbacks. I definitely have an expanded list of people/societies that Locke & Jean need to take down. Plus, there is some new mystery surrounding the Bondsmagi for Lynch to explore in future volumes.
The Narration: Michael Page rocks! I decided I needed to reread the first 2 books before diving into this one, and I did that through the audiobooks. Michael delivered for all three, providing great voices, and never hesitating (or breaking into giggles) over the outrageous swearing.
My blogger buddies and I did a read along of this book and you can catch in-depth discussion of the novel here:
What I Liked: Damn near everything; Jean, always the rock of wisdom, gets to kick Locke out of his pity party; Esparans make for complicated business buddies; Sabetha; the narration was excellent; the cover was gorgeous; more on the Eldren and Bondsmagi.
What I Disliked: Not as tight a plot as previous books; plenty of questions, perhaps too many, by the end of the book.
What Others Think: