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.