The Republic of Thieves Read Along Part V

LynchRepublicOfThievesGermanSo we are finally here at the end of The Republic of Thieves. *sniffle* But I will definitely take my sweet time going around visiting everyone’s final blog post so I don’t have to say goodbye (if only temporarily until the next book comes out) all at once.

Our host this week is Tethyan Books, so make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone else thinks.

Major spoilers for the book, and the series, reside below!

In Espara…

1. The Republic of Thieves:  It’s the first and final performance!  What did you think of the play?  Were you entertained, or eager to get on with the rest of the story?  Also, how do you feel about how the play fits in the novel, in terms of the story and the characters who play the parts?

LynchRepublicOfThievesThe costumes for Locke and Sabetha in their lead roles explains this fancy cover. I really, really like this cover, but I couldn’t figure out how it related to the story until we got to this part of the book. As for the play itself, well, I was just kind of waiting for it to be over to see how the real, and more important, act and deception went. It was fun, but yeah, I wanted to know what would happen with Boulidazi’s corpse and the GBs and the acting troupe.

As to the play fitting into the novel, or being a reflection on the Karthain story line, well, I didn’t spend time analyzing that. I guess if Jean and Locke had some major falling out like Orin and Therin there would have been a parallel. Locke and Sabetha were an item in Espara and got to be an item again in Karthain, so e can call that a parallel. But, yeah, I didn’t put much thought into it.

2. The Other Performance:  Of course, the GB and company had another important performance to get through—the one that ensures none of them end up hanged!  What was your favorite part of this scheme?  Do you agree with their plan for dealing with Moncraine’s treachery?

My favorite part of the scheme was blaming Moncraine for it all, which in a way was a bit true. If Moncraine had not hit Boulidazi, then there might have been the chance that Boulidazi would not have been hanging out with the actors, even if he did patronize the acting company. If Moncraine had simply politely turned him down, then there might not have been any contact at all. Boulidazi would still be an ass, and one that deserves killing sooner or later, but it wouldn’t have been on the GBs watch.

Oh, I also liked them forcing what’s his name to dress as Boulidazi in a mask on stage, and then make a run for the cart, hiding under a tarp….next to the corpse, which had to smell a bit by then, was probably a bit oozy, and probably also had some early beetle or fly larva going on. Oh hell, I would want Jean to knock me unconscious before hiding with the corpse.

And yes, I totally agree with how they blamed Moncraine for everything. And that little extra bit of letting Chains know what an asshat Moncraine is – can we have a deleted scene on Chains reaction to that? I would love to know how Chains deals with Moncraine.

In Karthain…

3. The Election:  It seems Lovaris was indeed the final trick, and the election is over.  Are you satisfied with how things turned out? Do you wish that the election had focused more on the political problems of Karthain, or are you satisfied with the mudslinging and pranks that went on between Locke and Sabetha?

As I said last week, I was a little surprised at how quickly we got to Election Night. The pranks, etc. were fun to read about, but didn’t build suspense for me over the election. I didn’t feel anything was truly at stake because none of the issues were covered, we didn’t really meet any of the politicians in depth – so I couldn’t hate or love them.

Anyway, the Lovaris trick was fun and clever and I was satisfied with it. Not only does Sabetha win, Locke and Jean don’t lose, and it also kind of screws up the Karthaini politics.

LynchRepublicOfThievesAudio4. The War: Do you have any speculation on what specific issues might have escalated the two Bondsmagi factions rivalry into this kind of violence?  What do you think the surviving Bondsmagi will do next, with all their gathered money and knowledge?

The reasons behind the war between the Bondsmagi factions were a bit obscure to me. Once Patience did her little reveal, or complicated lie, to Locke, some of the other Bondsmagi made up their minds about what they were going to do. Though I am still a bit in the dark as to whether or not that had anything to do with the war between the factions. Perhaps if they believes Lamor was soon the be back in all his glory, then they would either side with him or against him….and I am not sure what side the old Lamor would have sided on, though he seemed bent on using his powers to the limit. Would he still do that knowing what it cost him the last time?

Anyway, I hope the few surviving Magi leave the known world and go be academical in a secluded spot for some generations. They won’t be for hire anymore, which indicates they either bought a small island nation and plan to use the indigenous people as slaves, or the bought a small empty island and plan to see to all their own needs and be academics. Either way, I expect that sooner or later Locke and Jean will track them down and make their lives miserable. :)

5. Patience: Given the final revelation that Patience does hate Locke for what he did to the Falconer, what do you make of her behavior towards Locke throughout the book?  Do you think her plan of vengeance is well suited to Locke?  What do you make of the Black Amaranth story now, as well as the prophecy she threw on top?

Patience laced her lying vengeance with truth, making it perfect for Locke. He will tear himself up trying to figure out how much of what she told him is true; he will stay up nights searching his (Magi?) soul for any speck of magical abilities. He will torture himself over Sabetha – wanting to track her down, having promised not to, and yet being a peeved with her over leaving due to some redhead painting Patience shoved under her nose.

In short, he will make Jean miserable.

I don’t know what to make of the prophecy. I listened to the audiobook and don’t recall it line by line. I would advise Locke to take it with a grain of salt.

6. The Epilogue: Speaking of vengeance, do you think the Falconer’s vengeance against his mother was merited or excessively cruel, given the circumstances?  On that note, how do you feel about the Falconer’s transformation and possible status as a continuing villain?

I will say that it was expected. If the Falconer could come up with the means, he would kill his mother. I was a little surprised it happened at the end of this book instead of the next. He regained his wits, his ability to crap by himself, and his Magi abilities all within the space of perhaps 30 minutes. He’s been out of it for 3 years, insane, weak in body, without his magical abilities. I’m just saying he made a remarkably swift recovery.

But now that he is back at full fighting strength, I look forward to him going toe to toe with Locke and Jean. He is a good villain to wreak havoc for Jean and Locke to undo, shut down, and stamp out of existence.

LynchRepublicOfThievesSubterranean7. Wrapping up:  Thus ends the third book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence.  How do you think it compares with the first two?  In the end, do you prefer the Espara storyline or the Karthain storyline, or did you like them both equally?

Books 1 & 2 were wrapped up better. I had lots of questions at this end of this book. I also felt that each of the subplots in the previous 2 books were more fleshed out. In this book, the whole political race felt a little incomplete. I don’t want to complain much. I mean it is still Lynch and a 4 out of 5 star Lynch book is like a 9 out 10 star book for nearly anyone else. For 90% of it, I was highly entertained.

I preferred the Karthain storyline. I never really go into the Espara play. I liked seeing all the GBs together, being young and stupid, but in the end, the tortured, tormented GBs of Karthain were more interesting.

M3 with some throwing axes cosplaying Jean Tannen.

M3 with some throwing axes cosplaying Jean Tannen.

Other Tidbits:

One of the ‘Asino’ brothers escorted Moncraine to the holding house with the money….and lost him. At first, I was like, “What the hell? How stupid!”. But then I remembered just how young all the GBs were then. How could they know?

Early on in the book, Sabetha says she must win for not only her sake, but for Locke’s and Jean’s sakes. Did I miss the conclusion to that? Does she ever explain that statement she made before putting them on a boat? Did anyone else want a second epilogue or even a third – one to wrap up the Espara timeline (Did the GBs make it home uneventfully? What did Chains think of Moncraine’s betrayal? How hard was it for Jean to leave Jenora?) and one to wrap up Karthain (Did Locke finally tell Jean about the creepy Mage in the vault that threatened Locke? Did they investigate the war that created so many refugees? And where do all those refugees go now with Karthain all fucked up? Did they not know, or hear about, the large fire balls that took out the Magi prior to Patience showing up in Locke’s bedroom?)

As a final bonus, My Main Man (M3) did a little cosplay as Jean Tannen for me. He’s a bit shy so you only get part of his face. Yes, I am a lucky woman. Oh, and you know how Jean got that extra training from Jenora in Espara. Yeah, I am a very lucky woman. ;)

My Fellow Bastards:

Tethyan Books

Violin in a Void
Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn’s Books
Genki na Hito
Little Red Reveiwer

Theft and Sorcery
Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers
Joma’s Fantasy Books
All I Am – A Redhead

M3 cosplaying Jean relaxing with a good book and questionable cats.

M3 cosplaying Jean relaxing with a good book and questionable cats.

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

Violin In A Void

Many a True Nerd

Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers

Books Without Any Pictures

The Republic of Thieves Read Along Part III

LynchRepublicOfThievesAudioLynn is our awesomesauce host this week. You can catch her over at Lynn’s Book Blog. Lots of really cool things happened this week….and some not so cool things happened to your heroes, Jean and Locke. We covered Chapter 6 through ‘Aurin & Amadine’. Next week’s reading starts with Chapter 8.

Spoilers lurk below willing to garrote, cudgel, stab, inebriate, and chew the unwary. You have been warned!

1) The election competition.  Sabetha isn’t wasting any time throwing pranks at Locke and Jean.  Mostly it seemed fairly harmless, or at least not overly serious, until they were kidnapped and put onto a ship and taken out to sea.  What did you make of Sabetha’s latest plan? And what did you think about the way she executed it?

Sabetha said to Locke more than once that she had to win for both their sakes. I have to wonder if Sabetha was coerced into taking this job, and it wasn’t merely in exchange for getting her away from some angry folks whose acquaintance she knew from one of her latest cons. I am guessing that she traded her skills to keep Locke alive, on the condition that her side win the election.

Also, when she was dressed as the little old lady pickpocket, the last thing she said to Locke and Jean as they walked away was that they didn’t have time. Which would be an odd thing to say to goad someone on. And Lynch doesn’t just throw random crap in. So, I have to wonder if that was Sabetha trying to warn the dense boys about something, probably to do with the Bondsmagi.

As to how Sabetha took Locke out….Well, I hope he will be a little more cautious about where he sticks his tongue from now on. :) On one had, I think it was a bit cruel of Sabetha to lead him on, a bit stupid of Locke to accept so eagerly, and pretty darn practical of Sabetha. Locke avoided any further bruising this way. Jean didn’t fair so well.

2) During the escape overboard and Jean’s rather subtle nose dive into the water – I was curious about the lights Locke saw deep in the water when he was performing his rescue – Locke thought they looked different once he was under the waves which I suppose they would but he also had the feeling that he was being watched?  Do you think this relates back to the Eldren or some other presence?

Well Locke was cursing those lights as Eldren mischief. So, yes, I am going with the Eldren. I wonder if the being watched feeling was at all familiar, like similar to the feeling of being watched in Book 2 when Drakasha took her ship through the spooky pass where sailors are tempted to step off into the mist and water and whatever is watching knows Locke’s real name. That would explain Locke’s creative cursing.

LynchRepublicOfThievesGerman3) Given that Locke hadn’t seen Sabetha for five years how did you think their first meeting together went (well, it wasn’t strictly speaking their first meeting of course – were you surprised that Jean and Locke hadn’t figured out that the woman pickpocket was Sabetha?) and also what did you make of Jean and Sabetha’s reaction to each other?

On one hand, they didn’t end up in an argument, with words or steel. On the other hand, she had them both chained to a nice comfy, very long, voyage. But as you read above, I think Sabetha has a multitude of reasons for getting Locke safely out of the way.

Jean and Locke aren’t at the top of their game and that showed in the pickpocket scene. Locke has been devilishly ill for many weeks if not months, so that is understandable. And they both took a beating, to ego and minds, in Book 2. Then Jean has spent a lot of time just keeping Locke alive, so he’s not on the top of his game. All understandable, but it also has me worried. In Books 1 and 2, they guys went into the game fresh, with knowledge, and a plan. Right now they aren’t flying with all propellers going, and by the seat of their unwaxed, hairy arses too.

As to how Jean and Sabetha greeted each other, totally understandable. Jean is one of those guys who wouldn’t presume and so Sabetha had to do the hug first. She may also have been checking for the Wicked Sisters so she could relay that info to her waiting men in some way.

4) So, the gang have arrived in Espara and already the plans have gone wrong through no fault of their own!  Jail for a year plus lose a hand for slapping a noble?? What do you think of the justice system in Espara and how does this bode for the gang?

Moncraine isn’t one for thinking of the long term, or even the next day. He is very much ruled by his (drunken) emotions. Hence, he’s in jail for slapping a noble. I loved how the Camorri crew gathered info and went to the Weeping Tower for a chat with Moncraine. And Sabetha was awesome! The way she laid it out for Moncraine was genius coated in brutal truth. Moncraine obviously knows something of Camorri and he doesn’t want several angry one waiting for him a year later to collect their due.

As for the Esparan justice system, it seems about average. The privileged have more privileges than the rest of society. I was a little surprised they make you wait a year to have your hand cut off. I mean, why would the government want to shell out the money to house and feed the sordid wretches anyway? Perhaps they are into psychological torture? Perhaps the 1 year is designed to ensure that whatever thriving business the idiot slapper had before he went in will not be waiting around for him when he gets out?

I want the Camorris to keep Moncraine on a tight leash when he goes out in public for any reason. He doesn’t need to slap another moneyed man or pinch the bottom of a duchess or scoff, sneeze, fart, guffaw at anyone of note.

LynchRepublicOfThievesSubterranean5) The acting company are finally coming together and we’re watching the gang as they try to read, act and grab the best parts – are you all ‘happy face’ with the whole theatre scenes or, sad face!  Also, I can’t help feeling like this whole storyline is a step out of character for the gang.  Any ideas of how it will play out??

I actually found this part either a bit dull or far too dramatic….which actually might be a true reflection of the training and preparing of a play. I am even listening to the audio, which has been quite awesome, but this bit was a little slow for me. Feel free to leave a dull or dramatic (but not mediocre!) hate comment for me if you feel differently. :)

Jean seems to be putting the most effort, but alas, he is the least suited. So, he gets to be bouncer and seamstress and accountant. All really boring tasks. I hope everyone else buys him drinks for taking on such menial work.

6) We are also being introduced to a number of new characters, particularly Moncraine and Boulidazi.  What are your first impressions of these two and the other new characters in the Company and any particular likes or dislikes so far?

I did like how Sabetha tells off what’s her name… nuts…. hmmm… Damn, I can’t remember. That ever so nice lady who demanded to have the part of Amadine and started that whole tussle between Jean and Bertrand. That was fun! And then they shared a cigar and Jean got asked out to a game. How sweet!

At first, Boulidazi comes off as a decent sort. He does a little double checking on the IDs Locke and Sabetha are using for this scam, but then doesn’t press beyond that. I thought his tasteful inquiry as to whether or not Sabetha was free to be wooed was polite (even if it drove Locke crazy!). He seems to have a genuine interest in the theater and in Moncraine’s company in particular.

Moncraine may know theater, but he doesn’t appear to know anything beyond that – like people, politics, good manners, why it’s impolite to fart upwind of people, etc.

7) The rooftop scene and the apology.  How did it all go so wrong?  And how will Locke get out of this latest fix with Boulidazi?

At first it was awkward, but that was expected. Then the apology seemed to truly bring down Sabetha’s walls and she seemed on the brink of saying her true, deepest feelings, when Locke had to keep talking. Sigh….

From what Sabetha said, it appears that people with red hair are prized in certain circles and that Sabetha was trusted with a poisoned knife at a very young age in order to dissuade such people who might wish to profit from kidnapping her and selling her into said circles. With that in mind, Sabetha has been dyeing her hair brown for 10 years. I think she might be a little fixated on her hair, which is understandable. So when Locke comments on the true red of it, she loses it a bit because she has actively chosen brown for herself all these years. As she says, that’s the real her.

Still, she was really harsh on Locke, even at the beginning when she went on about him offering her wine in the hopes of loosening her morals. Then after about her hair and that he was simply fixated on bedding a redhead. Sabetha is human too and it’s apparent she has some hangups.

As to Boulidazi, Locke may not be able to talk his way out of that one depending on how much he heard. If it was just a little, perhaps he can get away with saying they were rehearsing a particular scene. But if he heard the bulk, I fear he may turn out to be scum and demand certain favors from Sabetha in exchange for his silence and continued patronage to the acting troupe. Locke may have to put a stiletto in him if Sabetha doesn’t bury a fencing blade in him first.

Other Tidbits:

That escape almost didn’t happen. And I think they were being helped by a Bondsmage who can push wind around too, keeping that boat near the shore instead of 10 miles out. I wonder if Patience has a trained bird or some other animal that she uses to keep tabs on the boys?

Sabetha tells Jean and Locke she can still read most of their handsigns. I know they haven’t had a lot of time to work, but once they learned that Sabetha was the opposition, you’d think they would consider the handsigns.

When Locke mentions the death of Calo and Galdo, Sabetha seemed reserved in her answer. But if she suspected for several years, they were dead, she may have already done much of her mourning. Then Locke mentions Bug, and Sabetha makes a comment about how they took on a male apprentice instead of a female one. Very interesting.

Jean is going to have to visit Sabetha again to get his Wicked Sisters back, isn’t he? That might not be such a cheery meeting.

I loved how Sabetha and Locke both told Moncraine that his verbal abuse would not be tolerated. Sabetha only had to look at his all squinty eyed for him to get the idea of what dire consequences would come knocking on his door if he kept it up.

My Fellow Bastards:

Lynn’s Book Blog
Many a true nerd
Genkinahito’s Blog
Over the Effing Rainbow
Just Book Reading
Violin in a Void
Little Red Reviewer
All I am a Redhead
Joma Fantasy
Theft and Sorcery
Coffee, Cookies and Chilli Peppers
Booky Pony

The Republic of Thieves Read Along Part II

LynchRepublicOfThievesWelcome back everyone! Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow is our host this week, so make sure to swing by her place to see what everyone is up to.

This week we covered Chapter 3 through Interlude ‘Bastards Abroad’. Here is the SCHEDULE if you want to see what’s coming up.

Spoilers lurk below!

1) Blood And Breath And Water: Patience tells Locke that the ritual to save him is serious business. She wasn’t kidding… What did you make of this scene, and do you think any of it might (perhaps literally) come back to haunt Locke?

I know this ‘healing’ was rough for Locke, but it must have been awful for Jean as well. Even the healers were dropping from their efforts! The poison had weeks if not months to work on Locke, driving him weaker and weaker, and becoming more strongly embedded. So of course it is going to take quite a bit to neutralize it. Being familiar with Lynch’s writing, I didn’t expect him to skimp on this scene, and he didn’t.

Bug showing up in this way was a bit unexpected for me. Up to this point, we had not seen him in any of the flashbacks, but he was the last to join the merry group. But then he shows up in this messed up hallucinogenic dream sequence where he is the walking ghostly lost, in pain, in fear, perhaps even looking for some payback. Right now, I am inclined to say that this is either Locke’s overwrought sense of guilt messing with him, or one of the Bondsmagi involved in the healing.

2) Orphan’s Moon: Back to the childhood of the Gentlemen Bastards, and here we get another ritual, this one in service to the Nameless Thirteenth. It looks as though it might be Locke vs. Sabetha, round two – but this time Locke seems to be a little slow on that uptake… Who do you think deserves to be given the final oath? Locke or Sabetha?

I thought Sabetha’s stealing of the Watch’s bully clubs took both bravery and smarts. She came back in one piece, without two swollen eyes, so she had to be clever and sneaky about it. It’s obvious that Sabetha wants it, has put thought into it.

Locke’s little cake trick was cute, but I think it was old hat for him and Jean. There was nothing really new in the trick. And it is obvious that Locke hasn’t put any thought into joining the inner mysteries of the Crooked Warden.

So, who deserves it? Well, Sabetha. But deities and their priests don’t always pick new acolytes based on merit, but by who is best suited to it, or who may need that added protection in life more. So, Locke is the winner. I don’t think he will be all that happy about it once he sees Sabetha’s face and witnesses her reaction. After all, he put his hat int he ring on this to impress her, not because he wants it.

Based on things said in Books 1 and 2, and things said even in this section of the reading, I am fairly certain that Locke got the spot. I then have to wonder if that didn’t feed into the falling out later on between Sabetha and Locke. Shall be interesting to see.

3) Across The Amathel: This chapter takes a breather for quite a bit of Eldren history, while Locke starts recovering. What do you think of the history lesson, and Patience’s ominous speculation regarding the Eldren? Is this something you’d like to know more about?

Damn straight I want to know more! If the disappearance of the Eldren has the Bondsmagi scared pee-less, it being the one thing that holds them in check, then yes, I do want to know more.

I really liked this part because there has been even greater mystery (sorry Sabetha, but you do take second seat to some mysteries) over Books 1 & 2 about the Eldren and what they left behind. So it was great to have the mystery, that world-building, added to, and in such a creeptastic way!

LynchRepublicOfThievesGerman4) Striking Sparks: The gang’s off to Espara, after a bad summer and a pretty thorough dressing-down from Chains, and we finally get to the source of the book’s title – they’re bound for the stage! What are your thoughts on this latest ‘challenge’ and the reasons for it?

It’s a coming of age trial for the lot of them and I love the idea of it. Chains, being the practical man he is, knows he won’t be around forever. So, he needs 2 things – peace & quiet and to know with certainty that these prodigies of his can function as a team out in the world without him. He is wise to achieve both by sending them on this mission to entertain the masses via the stage.

I do have to say that Locke is going to have to get a bit more circumspect about his wet dreams while sharing close quarters with Sabetha….or start snuggling with Jean so Jean can slap him awake before he embarrasses himself greatly.

5) The Five-Year Game: Starting Position: The election gets underway with a party (as you do) and before it’s even over, the Deep Roots party has problems – and not just thanks to Sabetha. What do you make of Nikoros and his unfortunate habit?

Nikoros is a weak point. Anyone working for the opposite team can either offer him a little too much of this favorite powder and hope that he drops critical information while enjoying it or tweak his special powder to make him sick, unconscious, or dead. Locke and Jean are going to have to neutralize this weak point quickly.

I loved that such a simple thing as the liquor permit paperwork being out of date (obviously messed with) can screw up the opening salvo of the Deep Roots campaign. If that is all it takes to shake up their efforts, then Locke and Jean have a lot of work on their hands.

6) Bastards Abroad: The gang arrives in Espara, and already they’ve got problems (nicely mirroring the Five Year Game!)… This aside, we’ve also seen some more of what seems to be eating at Sabetha. Do you sympathize with her, or is Locke right to be frustrated with her?

So far, Locke has spent a lot of time thinking about himself in this relationship. Yes, it is all about how he can catch her eye, how he can earn her praise, how he can engage her in conversation. I totally sympathize with Sabetha in that Locke is treating her like an object or minor goddess instead of contemplating what could be going on in Sabetha’s head. I loved it when she pointed out this simple fact by asking Locke if he had even considered if she liked men instead women. Ha!

If these two are to have a real relationship, they need to talk about this stuff. It was very gracious of Sabetha to explain, in part, the awkwardness on her side – she use to be in charge of the little gang, then went away for training, and came home to some new snot-nosed twerp of a kid calling the shots and all the boys are OK with this. She wasn’t the brains of the group any more. She wasn’t the boss of the little group anymore. And instead of being a jerk about it, she simply coolly kept to the sidelines.

Other Tidbits:

Dreamsteel seems to have a lot of uses! It can be wicked cool stuff – healing, sharing memories in full living color. I have to wonder what devilishly bad things it can be used in too. Hmm…..

Hey! There’s a cat! But not any cat, it’s their cat from Book 2! Hooray! The only wayward child that Locke and Jean ever raised as a couple has returned to them!

I think I must have been channeling Locke this week because I want to eat everything! Simply be glad that you can’t possibly be on the menu because you are merely a name on screen and I am not hungry enough to try to track you down….yet. Jealous of the tasty food Locke can get his hands on once he touches land? Hell, yes!

My Fellow Bastards:

Over the Effing Rainbow

The Republic of Thieves Read Along Part I

LynchRepublicOfThievesWelcome everyone to the first week of The Republic of Thieves read along. First let me thank Little Red Reviewer for being the main enthusiasm and master mind behind all this. In fact, she sweet talked me into my first read along ever with The Lies of Locke Lamora followed right after with Red Seas Under Red Skies not quite 2 years ago. My life has not been the same since – as I apparently had a hidden addiction to read alongs. Scott Lynch has also become one of my favorite authors of all time – for his masterful plots, his quaint turns of phrase when it comes to swearing, and those savory meals and drinks he comes up with through out his books.

While I have reread The Lies of Locke Lamora and am working my way through Red Seas Under Red Skies again, I have kept myself pure concerning The Republic of Thieves. Yep, I have only read this week’s section, haven’t skipped merrily ahead and finished the book. I want to savor this read. Also, I am doing the audiobook, which is incredible. The swearing is so much better in Chains’ voice, Jean’s quiet, hard voice is the best, and Locke! So personable in the audio version.

We have a lot of great people joining us on this group read. Make sure to leave the link to your post in the comments so we can all visit one another. We’ll also be on twitter under #LynchMob for those twitterites out there. Next week, Over the Effing Rainbow will be our lovely hostess.You can catch also check out the schedule.

This week, we covered the Prologue through Intersect I (Chapter 3 starts next week’s reading section). If you haven’t read the first two books or this section of Book 3, then beware the spoilers below!

1) We get to reminisce with several old friends in this section – Carlo, Galdo, Chains. How did you like this? Bitter sweet or happy dance?

I kept going back and forth. These three, and Bug, are all dead, and have been since Book 1, so part of me wanted to focus on this story. Yet, each of them had such a strong influence on Jean & Locke that they simply wouldn’t be who they are without them in their lives. I did like the additional stories of Chains quite a bit. He really gave all those kids a stable place to grow up, even if it was unconventional. He cared about them, nurtured them, and protected them. That really hit home for me when he physically assaulted the man whose boat they hijacked. Yeah, every kid needs a Chains in their life.

2) Finally, the infamous Sabetha makes a physical appearance, albeit in Locke’s reminisces. What are your impressions? How do you think the romance, if there is to be one, will play out?

No one can get Locke to do what they want, even when they want something for the good of all, like Chains trying to keep Locke from bringing the Watch down on them, or some such practical thing. No one, except Sabetha. Locke desperately wants to please her, earn her praise. It is so heartbreakingly (potentially?) sweet. Sabetha is street hard, but once under Chains’ wing, she also seems to adopt the boys as family and watches out for them too. I like that she never takes advantage of Locke’s ‘crush’, even though I am sure she is aware of it.

I am not sure a two-way romance will ever play out. Obviously, Locke has strong feelings for her still as an adult, even without having seen her for years. Perhaps she eventually had a fling with him hoping he would tire of her once the initial lust worked out of his system. Perhaps she never entered into a relationship with him, and Locke has simply been carrying a heart-eating torch for her all this time.

However it falls out, I am sure Scott Lynch will make it interesting.

3) After trying absolutely everything to save Locke, Jean still won’t give up. What did you think of that little pep talk he gave Locke concerning Patience’s offer of healing?

Wow! Jean, if I ever need my ass kicked, I want you to do it. He cut to the heart of the matter in an instant, while also letting Locke know that he cares. That scene showed me once again what an awesome friend Jean is. I think each of us can think of people who helped get us where we are today, have sacrificed or held us up. Jena is right that Locke owes all of them – he shouldn’t give up. The flip side of that is I can think of a few people who others & myself helped carry at one time or another…..and some of them did give up. Yet another great reason for Locke not to Jean down.

LynchRepublicOfThievesAudio4) Locke has a few caveats to working for the Bondsmage. Wise or just Locke grasping for some control over his life? What would you ask Patience?

Half & half. Of course Locke can’t simply acquiesce. He needs to feel like he has some tiny bit of control, that he is making a considered and measured choice to accept medical assistance from the Bondsmage. Clearly stating the job, ending & beginning, is probably just good business sense. But I really liked his second caveat – freedom to ask Patience anything and get an answer on the spot. Of course, she has her own little caveat concerning her personal life – and I bet Locke presses her on that sooner or later. How could he not with her son being the Falconer from Book 1?

If I had such an agreement with Patience, I would be the most annoying 3-year-old asking a question every 5 minutes. Pretty soon she would magic my lips stitched together just to have a moment’s peace. I would want to know more about animal charming – like what the falconer did with his pet bird. I would want to know how the Bondsmagi briefly took over the marketers in Book 2 – speaking through their voices, issuing threats, all creepy like. How do they appear suddenly or turn a blade aside? Lastly, I would ask about the personality test to join their little fucked up club of sadistic magic users – how high does one have to score on the homicidal inclination scale to be admitted to training?

5) At the end of this section, we see that all is not as Patience laid it out. How much do you think Patience knows of the plot to off Locke and Jean? Do you see it interfering in the rigged election?

From listening to the two plotters, it did not sound as if Patience knew of their plans. However, Patience may very well know and be keeping it to herself while she figures out how to keep Locke & Jean alive without directly confronting the conspirators. Of course, this makes me wonder if Patience is acting as an independent entity and not with the full backing of the Bondsmagi.

I fully expect this murder plot to interfere in Jean’s & Locke’s efforts to rig the election. I also expect it to be thoroughly entertaining.

Other Tidbits:

This is the second book that starts with Locke injured/sick and wallowing in self-pity. I think Lynch captures this feeling really well, while still making it somewhat humorous or poignant by turns. It also shows that Locke’s inner inclination to this behavior hasn’t been conquered yet and that he must continue to battle it.

I loved that chase across the bridge! Brass buttons versus silk rolls – great game. And Locke fell back on a simple and crude trick to get himself out of Sabetha’s trap – pretending to puke. I have to wonder if this foreshadows Locke having to do something similar later in the book to get away from the Bondmagi or whoever else he pisses off.

Patience showed some bravery by literally putting herself in Jean’s hands, to the point where he could have broken bones. Her very human, if tiny, flinch may have been the turning point for that conversation.

What Others Think:

Little Red Reviewer

Over the Effing Rainbow

Just Book Reading

All I Am – A Redhead

Book Den

Many A True Nerd

Lynn’s Book Blog

Theft and Sorcery

Joma’s Fantasy Books

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Tethyan Books

rosesthingamajig

Genkinahito’s Blog

Books Without Any Pictures

Violin in a Void

The Republic of Thieves Read Along – The Schedule

LynchRepublicOfThievesThat’s right folks. I know some of you are rereading that post title over and over. The Little Red Reviewer and I have been plotting for months on this one. Together with some other great bloggers, we’re bringing your five golden weeks of Gentlemen Bastardness. Lynn’s Book Blog, Over the Effing Rainbow, and Tethyan Books will be joining us as cohosts, because they are brave, excited, and perhaps just a touch gentlemanly bastards too.

The Republic of Thieves is Book 3 in the Gentlemen Bastard series by Scott Lynch. Book 3 has been long in the making and many of us Bastards are quite ecstatic over it’s release, which is today, Oct. 8th, here in the states. As you can see by the schedule, we’re giving you a few weeks to get your hands on a copy of the book, and read or reread the first two in the series (The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies).

If you haven’t run into this series before, you are missing out. There’s thieves, knife work, plenty of humor, high stakes, pirates, ancient messed up societies, sorcery, mule urine, and a touch of mysterious romance. Oh, and lots of cussing. My man loves the audio versions and highly recommends them if audio is your thing. He’ll be joining us too, but will probably remain behind the scenes, tho I will attribute my snarky comments to him if anyone questions them.

If you’d like to be a part of this madness, leave me a comment with an email to contact you or email me directly (nrlymrtl at gmail dot com) with your desire to receive the discussion questions a few days before each post date.

The Schedule:

Week 1 – prologue thru Intersect I, hosted by Dab of Darkness, questions go out Oct 25, posts go up Oct 28

week 2 – chapter 3 thru interlude “Bastards Abroad”, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow, question go out Nov 1, posts go up Nov  4

week 3 – Chapter 6 thru Interlude “Aurin and Amadine”, hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog, questions go out Nov 8, posts go up Nov 11

week 4 – Chapter 8 thru chapter 10, hosted by Little Red Reviewer, questions go up  Nov 15, posts go up Nov 18

week 5, – Interlude “Death masks” thru epilogue, hosted by Tethyan Books, questions go up Nov 22, posts go up Nov 25.

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

Why I Read It: Book 1, The Lies of Locke Lamora,  was excellent and we also did a readalong on Darkcargo.com.

Where I Got It: Used paperback from Amazon.com.

Who I Recommend This To: Anyone who enjoys a great pirate adventure, with cats, assassins, mist creatures, and impatient military leaders.

Publisher: Bantam Dell (2007)

Length: 760 pages

There were lots of pirates and also, surprisingly, kittens. I did not see either coming based on the previous book in the series, The Lies of Locke Lamora. Scott Lynch took his readers for a turn, not just in location, but also in background and main plot points. In The Gentlemen Bastards Book 1, the guys get to call a lot of the shots; they still have some control over their lives. In Book 2 of the series, it seems everyone wants to give direction and meaning to Locke and Jean’s little lives. Well, they have plans of their own and are stubbornly clinging to them.

After the mayhem that ended Book1, Locke and Jean needed some place to keep a low profile and for Locke to sulk in some booze, which he does until Jean snaps him out of it….with a brick wall. (That was a very funny scene by the way). Then they are off to Tal Verrar islands for a highly-planned, well equipped, yet poorly timed scheme that runs 2 years in the making. Tal Verrar is a gambler’s paradise, with gambling houses of all sorts, exotic nightlife, and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Locke and Jean have a scheme that calls for looking into one of the most impregnable vaults in town, which happens to belong to a very ruthless man named Requin and his bodyguard/lover Selendri.

Things start to go awry when it becomes apparent that the Karthaini Bondsmagi know exactly where they are and they want revenge – slow revenge. To add to that, they are hauled before the Archon, who runs the local military force for Tal Verrar. He has a task for the two of them, and it is not a request. In short, these two land-lubbers have to learn some seamanship and pretend to be pirates and then convince some other pirates to …… well do what pirates do. If you read Book 1, you can already tell there will be all sorts of issues with this. Add to that some unknown entity keeps throwing assassins in their faces.

It was a great ride. Because of the fast pace, this book reads way quicker that others of the same girth. There is lots of great dialogue and some roguish humor, even at our heroes’ expense. Jean and Locke had some great character development plot points too. While we don’t get to meet Sabetha, Locke’s heart-breaking love we heard about in Book 1, we learn more about her.

What I Liked: Seamonsters; kittens; that scene with the failed highwayman and Locke and Jean dangling over a cliff; the mysterious Morraine; Locke and Jean get ordered around a lot; Sea pirate Captain Drakasha and her first mate Ezri; a little surprise at the end.

What I Disliked: I felt that the last 100 pages were rushed and thought that Lynch should have been given some leeway to expand on some of the storyline instead of cramming in the finale.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Why I Read It: Another book blogger (Little Red Reviewer) suggested a read along and I participated over at Darkcargo.

Where I Got It: Used from Amazon.com

Who I Recommend This To: For anyone who likes fast-paced fantasy/alternate history with lots of details to the world and people.

Publisher: Spectra (2007)

Length: 736 pages

In Book 1 of the Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch, much of the focus is on Locke Lamora. We get to see him start out as a small kid taken in by a thief lord. But after one too many incidents, he is sold to Chains, a fake priest who runs the Gentlemen Bastard thieves. He takes in younglings that have certain talents and brains and raises them to pull off much larger, complicated schemes.

Fast forward some years and the Gentlemen Bastards are now young men. Locke is still the slightly built, brainy, daring leader of the group. Jean has found his talent with some interesting hand weapons and his size. Caldo and Galdo often use their twin powers to pull off some scheme or other. Bug is the new kid and gets all the ‘character-building’ jobs. It is a great team, with lots of bantering back and forth.

Then of course, there is the mysterious Sabetha who appears to have stolen Locke’s heart and run off with it. Too bad we don’t actually get to meet her in this book.

Locke has a big scheme to rob some very rich folks, the Salvaras. The Gentlemen Bastards have a whole costume room that allows them to change their looks to suit different business types and ethnicities. However, things start to come undone when the Capa Barsavi is threatened and his men start turning up dead by the hand of the mysterious Grey King. Pretty soon, the Grey King’s nocturnal activities directly interfere with the Gentlemen Bastards and they are forced to do his bidding. The Grey King has a formidable ally, a Bondsmagi and his pet scorpion hawk.

Scott Lynch provides lots of great dialogue and unlikely, amusing situations. The Yuck Factor was also sometimes very high, but suited to the situation. The fast pace coupled with the detail and history of the place and people was excellent for keeping me entertained.

What I Liked: The detail; the bantering; the mystery of the Eldrin and the Bondsmagi; the smaller plot points within the larger arc; the food and drink; the beasties; damn near everything about the book.

What I Disliked: Didn’t get to meet Sabetha; Locke really needs to learn to handle more weapons.