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.

Authors, Please, Take Your Time

Smudge does not snuggle books, even really good ones.
Smudge does not snuggle books, even really good ones.

No, really. I mean it.

I read a lot, and my eyes & ears aren’t confined to one or two genres. There are many, many authors that I buy their latest on the day it comes out. Yes, I love the anticipation of wondering what will happen to some of my favorite characters, trying to second guess the author on where the plot will go.

But I can also wait. I want that next long-anticipated book to satisfy not only me, but the author. It is their art and should meet their standards first, and the fans’ standards second.

I have been blogging since 2010 and the book blogging world is by and large welcoming and enthusiastic. If you read, there’s a place for you here. But I also see A LOT of pressure being put on authors to turn out that much needed, much wanted next-book-in-the-series NOW. Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss, George R. R. Martin, and the next book in The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson are just a few that spring to mind.

LynchLiesOfLockeLamoraNow all the authors I have met have been human, and as humans they have all the crap going on in their lives as the rest of us. They have families, illnesses, joys, obligations, sorrows, vacations, hobbies, and pets, maybe even jobs (other than writing). In short, they have lives.

Patrick Rothfuss had a post in 2008 explaining why Book 2, Wise Man’s Fear, was taking so long by pointing out scenes and characters that weren’t in the original Book 1, The Name of the Wind, until several revisions in. His post is excellent in showing how enhanced Book 1 was by him insisting that the book meet his standards first. And he is right. I fully agree The Name of the Wind would not have been as enchanting, as deep without certain side characters and scenes.

RothfussNameOfWindGeorge Martin and Brandon Sanderson have been busy entertaining millions of people; George Martin has had an active hand in the hit tv series The Game of Thrones and Brandon Sanderson gave us the climatic ending to the decades-in-waiting series The Wheel of Time by the deceased Robert Jordan. Scott Lynch, author of The Gentlemen Bastard series (The Lies of Locke Lamora & Red Seas Under Red Skies) has been living his life, paying his bills, and fighting personal illness. In short, none of these folks are lazy or are blowing off their fan base.

Even before A Song of Ice and Fire series became really big with the tv series, George Martin was receiving pressure from his fan base to work on the series, and nothing else (another excellent post from the author’s view point). John Scalzi posted in 2009 about authors, their secret lives, and yes, they are human. Patrick Rothfuss mirrors this in his post explaining that he has a life, is obsessive, and giving fans some hints on how to be supportive instead of snarky dicks. Patrick Rothfuss has this great humorous post about the revision process. Go, have a look, learn how complicated it is.

SandersonWayOfKingsHere’s my take. If you are obsessing over the release date of the next book by a beloved author, if you are stalking them on the interwebs, if you are leaving unhelpful, pressuring comments and fanmail – EXPAND YOUR READING HORIZONS. There are many, many awesome authors out there with books calling your name. Spread the love. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of great books from favorite authors, even if those authors individually take 2, 4, 7 years (or much more) between books. It is unreasonable to expect greatness to be turned out according to your time table. Please, let the authors work their magic on their time table.

Here is an example list of authors and their books, showing years between publications.

Jean Auel: The Clan of the Cave Bear (1980), 6 books in series, ending with The Land of Painted Caves (2011)

Diana Gabaldon: The Outlander series & Lord John series – up to 4 years in between books.

J.R.R Tolkein: The Hobbit (1937), The Fellowship of the Ring (1954)

JK Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (2007), Casual Vacancy (2012)

Ken Follett: The Pillars of the Earth (1989), World Without End (2007)

Guy Gavriel Kay: up to 4 years in between books

Octavia Butler: Parable of the Sower (1994), Parable of the Talents (1999)

Neil Gaiman: American Gods (2002), Anansi Boys (2005)

Conn Iggulden: The Gods of War (2006), The Blood of Gods (2013)

Isaac Asimov: The Robot Series, 1954 – 1985, 4 books

Peter S. Beagle: The Last Unicorn (1968), The Last Unicorn (lost version ) (2007), Two Hearts (sequel to The Last Unicorn) (2011)

Elizabeth Bear: The Stratford Man (2008), One Eyed Jack (2013)

Marion Zimmer Bradley: Avalon series 1979-2009, 7 books

Caleb Carr: Up to 14 years between novels

William Gibson: The Blue Ant trilogy – 2003-2010

Karin Lowachee: 5 years between Cagebird and Gaslight Dogs

So, with all that said, who are some of your favorite authors that you have faithfully waited for?

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.