Red Seas Under Red Skies Part V

LynchRedSeasUnderRedSkiesWelcome everyone to the read along of Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series. Anyone is welcome to join us over at our GoodReads Group! Check out the info at the end of the post.

This week’s hosted by x+1. We’re covering the first section noted below, so beware of spoilers if you have not read that far. I’m doing the audiobook version (which is awesome) but I apologize now for any misspellings of names and such. This is actually my second read along of the book. Yep, I like it that much! Sorry for posting late – medical shit.

1. Backstabbing! Rodanov & Jacqueline Colvard plot against Drakasha as soon as she’s over the horizon. Were you surprised?

Well, no. This is Scott Lynch here and nothing can ever be simple and easy for our Gentlemen Bastards. Rodanov at least seemed to have a deep seated reason for it. I think he honestly felt that Drakasha’s antics would lead to the ruin of his cushy pirate job. I have the sense he is older, so maybe he was looking at his retirement and didn’t want that messed up as well.

Colvard just seemed to enjoy the mayhem. I can respect that too, but not respecting it would get me killed.

2. Thieves prosper. The rich remember. Did Ravelle make a good pirate in the end?

I think the remnants of Salon Corbeau would say he made too good of a pirate.

I really liked how Jean and Locke grew into the role. They learned a new (and probably much needed) skill (sailing). They also found a new kind of camaraderie. It took time for Locke and Jean to wipe away all the disguises and let Ezri and then Drakasha see them for who they really are.

I also liked all of Locke’s piratical schemes from Salon Corbeau to pirating around Tal Verar.

3. A glass raised to air for a fallen friend. Given our discussions about Nazca, how do you feel about Ezri?

Ezri was a lot of fun and we had glimpses of the deeper character, like when she mentioned her family. I was looking forward to learning more about her. But then she died. It was a noble thing she did and I’m glad she didn’t let Jean do it, but still I feel for Jean in his sorrow.

With that said, I think this will make Jean a bit harder and not so ready to trust or wear his heart on his sleeve. Perhaps Lynch put our Gentleman Bastard through this to temper him for a much tougher task in the future.

4. At the end, our thieves have successfully delivered a revolution and been disappointed in all their hopes. How do you feel about the outcome?

Ha! OK, well, only half a Ha! So I feel bad that Locke is left in a limbo wondering if he really is poisoned and what it will do if he is and how long it will take, etc. But then I have to laugh a bit about the paintings. All that glorious planning and so much went awry and yet they pull it off despite all the odds only to have stolen fakes. Decent fakes, but fakes none the less.

I’m also glad that Selendri and Requin are a bit closer for having had this dubious experience.

I’m quite fine with the Archon being a captive on Drakasha’s ship.

I do wish the Bastards had gotten Merrain out of the way. She’s a troubling unsolved mystery.

Other Tidbits:

Rodanov seemed genuinely upset with Colvard’s death, though he didn’t have long to mourn her.

I think Drakasha’s grumpy medic is going to be kicking herself in the ass for a long time to come. It will be difficult with that peg leg.

While I liked that the Priori were pulled in to help save the day (it was all very amusing), I also felt that it made things so much easier for the Bastards. It was a very clever last minute safe, but a last minute safe none the less.

Info on the Read Along

 

You can catch the weekly questions and links to folks’ weekly posts over at our GoodReads group SF/F Read Alongs. Have a look  around and you’ll see we have other upcoming SFF read alongs planned. As always, you’re welcome to be lurker, a commenter, or do your post. Folks are planning the read along for Book 3 as well.

Red Seas Under Red Skies Part IV

LynchRedSeasUnderRedSkiesWelcome everyone to the read along of Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series. Anyone is welcome to join us over at our GoodReads Group! Check out the info at the end of the post.

This week’s hosted by x+1. We’re covering the first section noted below, so beware of spoilers if you have not read that far. I’m doing the audiobook version (which is awesome) but I apologize now for any misspellings of names and such. This is actually my second read along of the book. Yep, I like it that much! Sorry for posting late – medical shit.

1) We get to know the crew of the Poison Orchid – and get a glimpse of other crews ashore in Port Prodigal. What do you think of the pirates? Any particular favourites?

They’re a pretty rough crew but they also have a set of rules. I expect the punishments for stepping outside those rules are also pretty rough. I really like how the Poison Orchid is run. There is now spin on what they are, no romanticizing what they do. True Drakasha likes a little bit of theater (like making the scrubs real crew), but she doesn’t sugar coat what she expects out of them and they always have an option even if that option is a tough one.

There’s some real camaraderie among the pirates on the island, though I think  you have to weed out those that only use it to an advantage. Hugs are exchanged carefully due to all the weapons each person carries. I find that touching.

2) Strange things happen at sea. How did you find the Parlour Passage?

That’s just plain spooky. I can see why Drakasha puts her kids down for a nap for that. I wonder if the Eldren glass is tied to the magic that the Bondsmagi have, like perhaps a handful  of folks learned how to access that power ages ago and built this Bondsmagi society upon that knowledge.

3) Rodanov has a double-agent aboard Drakasha’s ship. Any idea what Utgar’s orders might be?

Ah, well, I remember quite well where that goes from reading this before. So I’ll just restate the obvious – Utgar has something that can cause havoc for Drakasha and her ship. I want to scream at Locke of Jean to catch on to his duplicity but they do have their hands full, don’t they? I mean they are surrounded by duplicitous people,  are upholding several  schemes themselves, and fighting off mortal peril all at once. So I guess I can forgive them for not keying into the fact that something is off about Utgar.

4) We end up where we started – back on the docks with a crossbow stand-off. Now you know how we got here, do you have any change of heart on where Jean stands?

I didn’t doubt Jean the first time I read this book and I recall how this sorts out. Still, it’s very intense and I love rereading this part anticipating what will happen next. These books are excellent at breaking my heart in one chapter and making it soar in victory in the next.

Other Tidbits:

Who else is glad for Jean? Tho I am a bit torn as to whether he should stay with Ezri or if Ezri should go with him and Locke. I just can’t see Locke staying to the pirate life.

I loved it when Locke told the Archon that he wouldn’t be getting his pretty ship back. Ever.

Jean was great with Cosetta, tricking her into drinking the poppy milk before heading into the Parlour Passage.

Info on the Read Along

Here’s the schedule:

5th May Chapters 1-3 hosted at x+1
12th May Chapters 4-6 hosted at x+1
19th May Chapters 7-10 hosted at The Illustrated Page
26th May Chapters 11-13 hosted at x+1
2nd Jun Book 3 & Epilogue hosted at x+1

You can catch the weekly questions and links to folks’ weekly posts over at our GoodReads group SF/F Read Alongs. Have a look  around and you’ll see we have other upcoming SFF read alongs planned. As always, you’re welcome to be lurker, a commenter, or do your post.

Red Seas Under Red Skies Part III

LynchRedSeasUnderRedSkiesWelcome everyone to the read along of Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series. Anyone is welcome to join us over at our GoodReads Group! Check out the info at the end of the post.

This week’s hosted by The Illustrated Page. We’re covering the first section noted below, so beware of spoilers if you have not read that far. I’m doing the audiobook version (which is awesome) but I apologize now for any misspellings of names and such. This is actually my second read along of the book. Yep, I like it that much! Sorry for posting late – medical shit.

1) Locke risked his entire role as Ravelle by giving the dead sailors the blessing of the Thirteenth. How much of his conscience do you think is tied up in his priesthood?

We definitely see him taking his priestly duties more seriously in this book. I’m guessing that’s related to him losing his little family – Bug, Calo, and Galdo. My guess is that he is still figuring it out. After all, he hasn’t quite been in these positions prior to the Grey King – where folks have so much control over him. He can’t protect everyone and even idiot thieves need someone to bless the corpse.

2) Stragos’s plan to set Locke up as a pirate captain has gone disastrously wrong. Do you think there’s any chance of Locke getting the plan back on track?

Ha! OK, this is a reread for me so I recall much of what happens. I think we all saw that this plan had many, many holes in it and having their trainer and secret captain die, well, that just sunk them there. Hopefully Locke’s old crew will forgive him soon and stop trying to kill him. The new pirates seem very with it and logical in that they seek profit with minimal blood shed. I recall that when I first read this, I really really wanted Locke to convince the captain to swing by that rich city with the human tournaments and sack the rich.

3) What do you think of the Poison Orchid? Any opinions on Ezri Delmastro or Zamira Drakasha? Have they been all that you’ve expected of pirates?

Locke and Jean needed a good solid example of a well run pirate ship and now they have one.😉 I’m impressed with Ezri and Zamira. They have a solid friendship and their crew is use to how things are run. They also have plans and contingency plans for several situations. They know exactly what to do with Locke and Jean (put them on scrub duty) to minimize the murder attempts from their former crew. I also liked the smoke barrels to lure well-meaning merchants in. And it’s very cool that they aren’t blood thirsty. Zamira’s kids are terribly cute and I expect they have already see a man walk the crap lines an put a bit of brown on the blue.

4) The ending of this section has a rift growing between Locke and Jean. Any ideas as to the cause and to the end result?

Ever since losingg Bug, Calo, and Galdo, Jean and Locke have been pretty close. With Locke’s injuries and his extensive pity party, Jean had to be a big mother hen to him. So Locke has had all this loyalty and attention from his friend and now some of that is split over to Ezri. I think Jean deserves a bit of time to explore the feminine wiles, especially since Locke is holding his own. Though I will admit that the whole Jeremite Jam in the hold was a bit of a fluke and Locke was lucky.

Basically, Locke needs to get over himself and admit that he can be rather smothering as a friend. Jean deserves some time for his own life. We’ve seen Locke admit he was wrong before, but it took some extremes to pound that through his thick skull.

5) Finally, any further thoughts on who Merrian is working for?

Hmm.. So obviously there’s someone screwing someone over. The Archon made it clear to Locke and Jean that they weren’t to harm any of the guards… but was that a show? If he ordered Merrian to do the dirty deed, he can then blame it on Locke and Jean and have them executed with the other pirates when he catches them and claims his heroic victory.

Other Tidbits:

I had totally forgotten about the Jeremite believers! How could I forget them!

Locke and his fancy deck of cards! Hmm… Interesting that it turns into something else when alcohol is spilled on it.

I love Ezri and Jean discussing ways for a smaller, lighter opponent to take down a larger opponent.

Info on the Read Along

Here’s the schedule:

5th May Chapters 1-3 hosted at x+1
12th May Chapters 4-6 hosted at x+1
19th May Chapters 7-10 hosted at The Illustrated Page
26th May Chapters 11-13 hosted at x+1
2nd Jun Book 3 & Epilogue hosted at x+1

You can catch the weekly questions and links to folks’ weekly posts over at our GoodReads group SF/F Read Alongs. Have a look  around and you’ll see we have other upcoming SFF read alongs planned. As always, you’re welcome to be lurker, a commenter, or do your post.

Kushiel’s Justice Part IX

Chupacabra has spotted something!

Chupacabra has spotted something!

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Justice is Book 2 of the second  trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, I’m your host. We’re covering Chapters 66-END, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) In this section, Imriel had plenty of farewells and also reunions. Which ones did you find the most interesting or touching?

I loved seeing Alaise again. She’s always had a soft spot for Imriel and had hoped to call him ‘brother’ one day. Now that it looks like he and Sidonie will be together, she may very well get her wish.

Of course seeing Drustan was intense. He seems to be taking it well, though he’s in a tough spot with Ysandre. I think he did a decent job of explaining why Ysandre is dead set against Imriel and Sidonie being together, though I still don’t agree with her. Now that Imriel has that insight, he may stand a chance at winning her over.

Then seeing Eamonn again and having to say goodbye to him too. Sigh…. Eamonn is his best friend but can’t help him win over Ysandre.

2) Maslin decides to stay in Vralia as an ambassador. What do you think of his decision? When Imriel, Phedre, and Joscelin depart, Phedre says something privately to Maslin that causes him to collapse to his knees and weep. What do you think she said?

I think Maslin will do OK, provided he doesn’t besmirch the reputation of any prominent ladies. He doesn’t strike me as a braggart though, so I think he will be able to remain discreet in his beddings. Also, I think he has this prideful streak that will stand him good in negotiations with the Vralians.

I think Phedre may have told him how brave his father was at the end, how he allowed her to walk out of camp in order to get the message to the besieged fortress, how he fought bravely at the end, and how he faced death in peace. I think that is what would bring Maslin to his knees in tears.

3) Imriel & crew make it to Skaldia where they dine with Aldemar and meet some interesting merchants. Do you think the Unseen Guild had a hand in any of Imriel’s recent adventures?

This is a tricky one. The Unseen Guild has long arms, as we have seen before. But I think in Vralia they might only have a finger or two. Perhaps they eased the way for Maslin in his quest to find Imriel. Perhaps they eased Phedre & Joscelin’s paths as well. Looking back, I can’t see where they directly affected Imriel’s quest to find Berlik.

4) Finally, Imriel is reunited with Dorolei’s kin. There’s a solemn burial of Berlik’s skull which is followed by a boisterous party. If someone was burying a skull at your feet, which would you prefer – serious ceremony or rowdy affair?

I’m all for the rowdy affair. I figure if people need a moment or three for serious contemplation, then it can be a quiet affair at the time and place of the griever’s choosing. While I plan to go with cremation when my expiration date is here, if someone wishes to bury a skull in my honor, they are most welcome to.

I did really like the wild harp music at the solemn affair and how Imri made it clear that all of Alba grieves, including the Maghuin Donn.

5) Sidonie and Imriel are finally together openly. Some still do not approve. What challenges do you foresee for them?

I think some still don’t know that Imriel and Sidonie were in love before his wedding to Dorolei, so that may be a source of bad feelings. Also, I think some Albans may feel a bit miffed that Imriel is choosing a D’Angeline over another Alban lass. So, definitely some bridges to build there. Sidonie’s visit to Alba will hopefully assist in that.

Then there is Ysandre. Sigh. We all know she can hold fast to a decision once she has made it. I’m not confident that even Phedre will be able to soften her on this one.

I also fear that D’Angeline society will be divided on the matter. We know from past events that there are some that support Imriel because of his pure D’Angeline blood, but there are also those who oppose him because of his parentage.

Other Tidbts:

Once again, we have just a touch of the divine or supernatural. When Imriel was witnessing the forced conversion ceremony, he briefly knelt, touched the floor, and imagined the soil beneath as he requested Elua’s blessing. Then he felt this mantle of assurance fall upon him. I thought that was a great scene.

Imriel makes comparisons between men and women, this time on how they handle war. He notices that the Skaldian women are a touch more friendly than the Skaldian men and he considers that it must be because the women are not fool enough to seek glory in battle.  *snort* Ah, Imri…. we need to get you a week long trip with women from a warrior culture and then see what you think.

When Imriel lays eyes upon the Cruarch’s ship and he know he’s surrounded by those that care about him, and who he cares about in turn, and that the danger is finally over, that is when tears spring to his eyes. I liked his insight into how people can stand steadfast for quite some time in the face of adversity, but once in a safe place, they can devolve to tears.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well. If you want to be on the weekly email, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email with KUSHIEL’S SCION in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com). We’re plotting on the schedule for Book 3 of Imriel’s trilogy, Kushiel’s Justice, and it looks like we will start early June. A final schedule will go up in a week or two.

Red Seas Under Red Skies Part II

LynchRedSeasUnderRedSkiesWelcome everyone to the read along of Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series. Anyone is welcome to join us over at our GoodReads Group! Check out the info at the end of the post.

This week’s hosted by X+1. We’re covering the first section noted below, so beware of spoilers if you have not read that far. I’m doing the audiobook version (which is awesome) but I apologize now for any misspellings of names and such. This is actually my second read along of the book. Yep, I like it that much!

Q1 And if some small part of him felt sour at twisting her emotions (gods damn it, that part of him had rarely spoken up before!) – well, he reminded himself that he could do as he pleased and feel as he pleased while he was Leocanto Kosta. Leocanto Kosta wasn’t real.

Between flirting with Selendri, confronting the horrors of Salon Corbeau and handling a certain cliff-top encounter, Locke’s conscience gets a solid work-out this week. What do you make of our little thief’s elastic ethics? Is he a good man, a good thief, or both?

Locke is a complicated man. He has certain limits that apply in most cases with most people. But as the stakes rise and he has less control, his morals get more flexible. For instance, with the thief while they are rock climbing – when they had little control, Locke and Jean don’t mind tossing knives at the guy or tangling him in the belay lines, both of which could have resulted in the guy’s death. But once they have full control over him, Locke shows mercy on him and he gets to walk with soiled britches and a small bag of coins.

Now, to be clear, I don’t think badly of Jean and Locke for trying to kill this man who was intent on killing and robbing them. I do sometimes think that Jean and Locke are rather self-centered in that their thieving games are designed to entertain themselves. If they happen to do some good along the way, it’s bonus points for them.

Q2 “I think Selendri can be sweet-talked, at least a little bit.”

…what do you think? What do you make of Selendri so far?

I think Selendri gets her rocks off by tossing thieves out the window. Or tearing their organs out with her mechanical hand. Or burning an eye out with some interesting concoction. I think she makes Requin look like a caring and gentle soul in comparison.

Q3 “You are thieves. I am offering you a chance to help steal history itself.”

Now that Stragos’s plan is laid bare before us, what do you make of his purported ambitions – and of his strategy for achieving them?

Boy, did he pick the wrong guys for this job! Jean and Locke aren’t sea-faring men. They don’t hang out with pirates even when the pirates are docked. I’m not even sure they know what to feed a cat. Stragos may have some good intentions wrapped up in his ego-agrandizing plan, but he’s working with the wrong resources. Plus, Jean and Locke don’t like being pushed into a corner (as we saw in Book 1 and in the rock climbing scene). There will be pay back.

Q4 “Then I may report to my masters that the plan is underway?”

How many different factions do you think are in play at this stage? Any ideas who Merrain might be working for?

Locke and Jean are at the center of a mess of plots and intrigue, that’s for sure! We have Stragos, and then Requin (by their own choice, admittedly), and I doubt the Bondsmagi have left off completely. Merrain appears to take orders from the Archon, but the ‘beggar’ with the crossbow scene makes me question loyalties and such.

Optional extra: Now let’s be frivolous. How cool are Verrari job titles? Eye of the Archon. Consulting Poisoner. Second Mistress of the Great Guild of Artificers. What would you like your Verrari job title be?

Haha! What a fun question! Perhaps I can be a Knife’s Edge – which would be a fancy way of saying I sharpen knives for a living.

Other Tidbits:

When Locke and Jean chat about Sabetha and climbing lessons, I can just feel Locke blushing.

The sailing teacher is hilarious! Though I do feel for him being pulled out of a well-earned retirement via coercion. Stragos is an ass to everyone in equal measures.

Stragos’s Tunnel of Showing Off reminded me of a Disney ride I went on as a kid, though less creepy because there weren’t any singing mechanized puppets.

Info on the Read Along

Here’s the schedule:

5th May Chapters 1-3 hosted at x+1
12th May Chapters 4-6 hosted at x+1
19th May Chapters 7-10 hosted at The Illustrated Page
26th May Chapters 11-13 hosted at x+1
2nd Jun Book 3 & Epilogue hosted at x+1

You can catch the weekly questions and links to folks’ weekly posts over at our GoodReads group SF/F Read Alongs. Have a look  around and you’ll see we have other upcoming SFF read alongs planned. As always, you’re welcome to be lurker, a commenter, or do your post.

Kushiel’s Justice Part VIII

Chupacabra has spotted something!

Chupacabra has spotted something!

The Terre D’Ange Cycle by Jacqueline Carey (of which Kushiel’s Justice is Book 2 of the second  trilogy) is one of my all time favorite series. The read along continues! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host. We’re covering Chapters 57-65, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1. Imriel actually gave up the quest for justice before he found Berlik, and would have left empty-handed if the man had not come to him.  Does knowing that their eventual encounter was of Berlik’s choosing change the way you think about how it finally ended? How do you think this will affect Imriel, moving forward?

When I first read this book, I didn’t really get why Berlik readily gave up his life, why Berlik thought Imriel had to come to him with a humble heart, and why Imriel cried at the loss of Berlik’s life. Now, this is the 3rd or 4th time I’ve read this and I understand all that a bit better.

Berlik himself had to find his humble side. He himself talks about how arrogant he was to assume he could change the course of the future, how he didn’t trust in his gods. This final scene with Berlik taught me about the difference between forgiveness and atonement. You can forgive yourself, those you’ve damaged can forgive you, your gods can forgive you – but atonement is something else. For Berlik, he had gained some forgiveness, but it came at the cost of atonement, and that atonement was his life.

I was very glad that Imriel could understand at least part of that in the moment and allowed Berlik to die as a man.

2. I was definitely not expecting to see Maslin in the Vralian wilderness!  What do you think of his motivations?  Do you think it’s still possible for them to build the friendship Imriel wanted so dearly many years ago?

I think Maslin was honest with Imriel about his motivations. He went initially because Sidonie sent him, and he wanted to prove his love. He also wanted to be the hero. Somewhere along the way, he let most of that go and was just along for the adventure.

I don’t know if Maslin and Imriel will ever be close friends, but there’s some significant trust between the two now. However, I wouldn’t want to see all three of them (Imriel, Sidonie, and Maslin) in the same room at the same time anytime soon. I think that would stress their fragile friendship at this time.

3. Imriel feels very strongly about going back through the places where he was dishonest or where he caused pain (Miroslas, Tarkov, the Vralian capital).  Do you think these stops were necessary?  Do you think he was right to not go to the pilgrim family that took Berlik in?

Yes and no. I don’t think it is something that I would take pains to do. But Imriel has always tried to respect the gods and religions of the lands he visits. I think he got this from Phedre, who does the same. Also, he is a Prince of two important nations who may one day want honest trade and other alliances with these cities. So, it’s not just about him.

As for the pilgrim family, I think I would have left word with a local priest who could gently inform the family of what happened to Berlik. I could understand Imriel feeling that they would not appreciate hearing the news from him, but I think they will wonder for years if they never hear what became of Berlik.

4. We have another myth in the making: the dark angel and the light angel, battling for Berlik’s soul.  Clearly this isn’t literally true, since Maslin knew nothing about Berlik.  Do you think it carries any metaphorical truth with respect to Berlik’s struggle with his guilt?

This is one of those great books where you can read such metaphorical struggles into it. Until this question was asked, I hadn’t really thought of it that way. Berlik wasn’t evil; he was too proud, he wanted to save his people, he didn’t trust in building relationships with the Alban royalty nor in his gods. He was a man with powers beyond what most have and he made a horrible choice.

5. It looks like Tadeuz Vral will have another Yeshuite advisor now, in the Rebbe from Miroslas.  Do you think this will impact the path of Vralia in the future?  Do you think Imriel’s deceit will affect Vralia’s relationships with Alba and Terre d’Ange?

Vralia is building their kingdom partly on religion, so of course the Rebbe from Miroslas will have a hand in shaping the country. However, it already has a pretty strong military trajectory, so I’m not hopeful that the Rebbe will be able to temper that right now.

I think Tadeuz Vral has already made up his mind about immediate future relations with Terre D’Ange and Alba. He let Imriel go and Imriel’s deceit was not made common knowledge. Tadeuz obviously wants to keep the door open for future trade and alliances with these two powerful nations.

Other Tidbts:

I know some of us readers were concerned that Dorolei’s death was kind of the author’s easy way to let Imriel out of a messy situation. Now that we’ve seen all that Imriel has been through to avenge Dorolei and his unborn child, do you think this is any easier than what Dorolei and Imriel had tentatively planned (basically an open marriage)?

That was really kind of Maslin to boil Berlik’s head for Imriel. It must have been pretty gruesome!

I was amused that Maslin kept tossing questions at Imriel that were almost a challenge – like about how many men Imriel supposedly killed in Luca and so on.

Imri reuniting with his family after so long was really quite touching. I always enjoy that scene because even though Imri has certainly grown up and become a man who can stand on his own, he still treasures his adopted parents, their guidance, their love.

I was glad to hear that Urist was doing well enough, walking with a stick!

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well. If you want to be on the weekly email, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email with KUSHIEL’S JUSTICE in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).

Red Seas Under Red Skies Part I

LynchRedSeasUnderRedSkiesWelcome everyone to the read along of Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series. Anyone is welcome to join us over at our GoodReads Group! Check out the info at the end of the post.

This week’s hosted by X+1. We’re covering the first section noted below, so beware of spoilers if you have not read that far. I’m doing the audiobook version (which is awesome) but I apologize now for any misspellings of names and such. This is actually my second read along of the book. Yep, I like it that much! I also apologize for posting late – medical issues have me busy, tired,  and not as organized.

 

1) “Jean, I would describe this turn of events as less than helpful.” We get off to an unexpected start, jumping straight into the middle of – well, what? We’re in Tal Verrar and the wheels appear to have come off. In the subsequent chapters, there’s a lot of focus on Locke and Jean’s friendship and devotion to one another. Do you think Jean has really turned against Locke?

When I first read this, I didn’t know what was going on. But I was convinced that it was either a ruse so that Jean and Locke could take out their opponents or that Jean was being mind controlled by the Bondsmagi again. Either way, things seem to be teetering on a knife’s edge for our Bastards, aren’t they?

2) “I am an honest working thief and I’ll do what I have to to keep a table set and a roof over our heads!” This time, the interludes are flashbacks to what the Bastards have been up to for the past two years. How did you feel about Locke’s depression – and Jean’s responses?

On one hand, Locke’s depression is understandable. He lost a lot and has significant injuries to recover from. But on the other hand, that’s not an excuse for abusing the one friend he has left. I think Jean had a lot of patience and I’m glad that it had a limit. Locke needed to be snapped out of his depression.

3) “It is possible,” said Locke with a sheepish grin, “that I have been slightly too bold.” The Requin game is worth more than the Bastards entire lost fortune in Camorr (and Locke gives us a little insight into what it means in real terms). His reputation is ominous. Given everything we learn about Requin, is Locke over-reaching himself?

That’s what Locke does. He even says so – that he wants to feel alive and have it be him and Jean versus the whole world. So, of course Locke sets his sites on a nearly unattainable object. Imagine if he did so with women!

4) “It’ll be good to be the predators again.” And is it just me, or does Tal Verrar feel even more intense than Camorr? Even if the average bod on the street seems less knife-happy, a lot of the buildings seem to be designed to intimidate and/or murder you. How are you liking the new setting?

It seems a bit wilder and with larger predators. Things were a bit civilized in Camorr. There was a hierarchy that everyone bent the knee to. Here, Jean and Locke are running this scam for nearly 2 years without having to bend the knee to anyone. And yet they learn in this section that there are people with the power and coin to swallow them up if they aren’t polite. I like all the clockwork contraptions and the Elderglass everywhere. The gambling houses seem interesting, tho they hold less interest for me (I’m not a gambler and have never really been attracted to it).

Other Tidbits:

 

Lynch is still giving us great descriptions of food, whether it be bad or good.

The applesauce trick to get out of town was pretty amusing. If we ever have an apocalypse and I need to skip town, I will keep that in mind.

These books are a How-To in avoiding poisons… or in poisoning someone.

Was anyone else a little sad that Jean had to give up his little club of delinquents?

Info on the Read Along

Here’s the schedule:

5th May Chapters 1-3 hosted at x+1
12th May Chapters 4-6 hosted at x+1
19th May Chapters 7-10 hosted at The Illustrated Page
26th May Chapters 11-13 hosted at x+1
2nd Jun Book 3 & Epilogue hosted at x+1

You can catch the weekly questions and links to folks’ weekly posts over at our GoodReads group SF/F Read Alongs. Have a look  around and you’ll see we have other upcoming SFF read alongs planned. As always, you’re welcome to be lurker, a commenter, or do your post.