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.

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.

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.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Part IV

LynchTheLiesOfLockeLamoraWelcome 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 Over the Effing Rainbow. We’re covering the fourth & final 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 and a third reading of the book.

1. Locke returns to finish the Salvara con, after a bit of a trying start. What did you think of the clothes con at Meraggio’s? Entertaining interlude, or timeline nuisance?

The first time I read this, I was very eager to see how things ended and I felt like this clothing heist was a nuisance. But with a reread, I enjoyed it a lot more because it was clever and funny (later when Merragio recognizes his own clothes on Locke at the fancy party). Also, it is a real question for the guys – all their stuff has been burned and what little they have under the alias is locked up tight at the boarding house.

Still, Jean has his Face of Asaguia (spelling?) that he had for some reason. And then I wonder why the guys never developed small stashes throughout the city as Locke and his Streets friends did way back before Locke came into Chains’s keeping. It’s a small plot point and one I am just pondering now on this reread.

And I think this is the first time we have seen Locke screw over a common working man – the waiter whose clothes he borrowed. Yes, he did give him money and head start out of town, but this guy has to leave his whole life behind and might very well be captured, tortured, and killed anyways. Plus, we don’t know if he has a family that might be harmed in all this mess.

2. The plot is back on, and before long Locke and Jean are facing the Falconer – with better results, this time… What were your thoughts on how this confrontation turned out?

Ha! OK, like a bloody, gruesome Ha! But a Ha nonetheless. Locke’s kept his given birth name to himself all these years, which I find interesting. I think last read along, we all did some guessing as to what that could be – we know it’s 5 syllables and probably something slightly embarrassing.

Anyway, it’s a good thing Locke had that small edge and also a good thing the Falconer didn’t have anything else planned as a back up. I felt the Falconer’s punishment was sound. He kept claiming it was all business but we all know he took too much pleasure in his part in the plan. Plus, Locke did leave him alive, so he didn’t break that cardinal rule – Don’t kill Bondsmagi unless you want to live another 100 years as their experimental torture subject.

3. So it turns out that Capa Raza did indeed have bigger fish to fry than just Barsavi. What did you make of Locke’s decision between going after Raza/Anatolius and saving the nobility?

So obviously Locke made the good and right and true decision. He’s a hero and he himself can no longer doubt that. And just a tiny bit of me thinks that Locke really wanted to show up Dona Forchenza (who stuck a needle in his neck not all that long ago) and the rest of the nobility that’s in the know. After all, his efforts to save not just the bulk of the classy in Camorr, but all their children as well makes the high and mighty Spider and her Midnighters look like fools. Yeah, so I think some part of Locke couldn’t pass up that opportunity. How often does such a thing just stroll up anyways?

4. “I just have to keep you here… until Jean shows up.” Locke gets his chance at revenge after all… Thoughts on this final showdown?

I thought it was very fitting that Locke had the Spider send the plague ship (which is really the treasure ship) to the bottom of the bay – Bug, the Twins, and Nazca all deserved a death offering, and a damn fine one at that.

What a bloody mess! Locke was clever to play the ‘Wait til Jean gets here’ card so believably. He took his time engaging the Grey King, let him mess about with the swords, and then allowed the villain to beat him pretty badly before playing it. I think Locke really was hoping Jean would turn up but this worked out well (barring the surgery and physical therapy Locke now obviously needs).

Other Tidbits:

I really enjoyed all the insults traded with the dogleech that is seeing to Locke throughout this section.

I had forgotten that little snippet about how the whores came to be rulers of their own business, but I definitely found it amusing. I’m not exactly sure how it tied in to the bigger picture, but Lynch is so entertaining that I find I don’t mind a few blind alleys in his works.

Oh my! Jean and those Wicked Sisters of his! His fighting abilities, as shown against the Berrangia Sisters, were practical, brutal, and impressive!

When Locke is parting from the Salvaras and Dona Forchenza, he makes fake polite pleasantries, saying things like he hopes they can all be friends even tho he lost the Salvaras a fortune – and Dona Salvara offers to make him a permanent ornament in her alchemical garden. Ha!

Dona Salvara is an alchemical bomb technician! How cool is that! As a side note, there was some discussion last week about how Camorr is a ‘man’s world’. Did this last section change your opinion on that?

Info on the Read Along for Book 2, Red Seas Under Red Skies

So we’re gearing up for a read along of Book 2 starting May 5th. You can catch more info over on the GoodReads SF/F Read Alongs page. Anyone is welcome to join in the fun.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Part III

LynchLiesOfLockeLamoraWelcome 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 Wendy at The Bibliosanctum. We’re covering the third 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 and a third reading of the book.

1. Camorr is clearly a man’s world. One of the three female characters who could hold any sway was cruelly fridged, while another remains notably absent. Will Sabetha swing in to save or seize the day? What are your thoughts on Donã Vorchenza’s role?

First, I don’t think of Camorr as a man’s world. We have seen women in nearly all the roles – priests, street fighters, guards on both sides of the law. We have the Berangia sisters, the mother-daughter team on Black Alchemy row, etc. Very few of these women are placed in any romantic sense – the prostitute (sort of), Sabetha (kissing Locke we all are lead to believe), and the conned man’s wife and even then, they have more depth than the average passing love interest in the fantasy genre. So, I wouldn’t place this fantasy in with all the other numerous fantasy books that minimize female characters.

That said, I was little crushed when Nazca was taken out of the picture so early on.

When I first read this book, yes, I really hoped that Sabetha would come in at the end and help make things right. There’s so much build up about her and mystery around her storyline.

Everyone should have a great auntie Vorchenza. She’s awesome. I love her critique of the candied cookie house her chef insisted on making for her. At her age,  she’s still very spry and a little mischievous.

2. Apprenticeships, fighting, farming–the Gentlemen Bastards have undergone some significant training (save for physiking!) and testing. What do you think of Chains’ teaching methods? Do you think he adequately prepared them for their future in Camorr?

I think Chains is giving them as many tools as possible. Their various apprenticeships will help the remaining few blend in and disappear  – or get close to their enemies and annihilate them. Chains gave them a safe base of operations, and they no longer have that. So now, more than ever, they will have to rely on all they have learned – from  butchering farm animals to certain rites of the various priesthoods. I think Chains’s training will allow them to leave Camorr more easily if they so choose.

3. Pour out a forty for those lost. Share your thoughts on the passing of the Bastards and Barsavis.

Wow. Several hard scenes here. When Bug, Jean, and Locke returned home to find it ransacked and the twins dead, that was tough. But then when Bug basically sacrifices himself for Jean and Locke, that was even tougher. Locke is so going to need therapy for this.

When the remaining Barsavis were taken out, it was dramatic and a game changer, but I was not attached to any of them (other than Nazca who was taken out a few days earlier).

4. Everything in this book has been a series of long cons. Do you think taking the Capa’s throne is the end game for the Grey King? Or is there still more in store?

We still have ~100 pages to go, so I expect we’ll see more. The first time I read this, I wasn’t sure if Jean and Locke would be able to do anything about the new Capa Raza (Grey King)  at this time or if that show down would happen in Book 2. But I knew something would happen, and probably something significant because we have so much left of the book and I felt the author would want to top what we had just witnessed with something more.

 

Other Tidbits:

I like how everyone is so polite to those folks who are in charge of operating the lifts for the towers.

Jean is rather a worried hen over Locke when he is sick or injured. It’s quite endearing how protective he is of the smaller man.

I have donkeys, so I can  attest to the disgustingness of equine piss. There’s sometimes more solid, jelly like bits in it too. I feel very sorry for both Nazca and Locke. But, as a side note, I do have to wonder who collected all the horse piss and how?  How much do you pay for a barrel of horse piss?

Wraithstone and the Gentled beasts of burden – messed up or practical?

Ok, that creepy hand thing that has Jean’s name stitched into it – totally wrong! I would hate to fall foul of such a trap.

 

Info on the Read Along

Here’s the schedule:

Wk1 / 7th April: Prologue and Book 1, hosted by There’s Always Room for One More
Wk2 / 14th April: Book 2, Ch 4-6, hosted by There’s Always Room for One More
Wk3 / 21st April: Book 2 Ch 7-8 and Book 3, hosted by Wendy at The Bibliosanctum
Wk 4 / 28th April: Book 4 and Epilogue, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

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.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Part II

LynchLiesOfLockeLamoraWelcome 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 There’s Always Room for One More. We’re covering the second 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 and a third reading of the book. I also apologize for posting late – medical issues have me busy, tired,  and not as organized.

1) Last week we saw the Capa in theatrical mode taking young Locke’s oath on his enchanted shark’s tooth. This week we see the former scholar carving up the surviving Full Crowns and swearing vengeance on the Grey King. What do you think of his responses to the Grey King’s assaults?

I think the Capa was prone to paranoia in the first place. He is this crime boss and I expect that to reach that position and hold it for so long, you have to have a well-developed sense of paranoia. However, he’s lost the fine tuning of it and no longer knows who to trust about what. For instance, he’s put trust in Locke. 😉

Scott Lynch doesn’t skimp  on showing us how brutal life is, does he? The Capa’s responses all around show that. Sage Kindness, his head torturer, is a twisted soul!

2) We get our first glimpse of magic this week. What do you make of the Bondsmagi (and especially of the Falconer and Vestris)?

Chains gave us a great overview of the bastards. It’s really their fucking attitude that makes them so dangerous – they kill anyone who kills a Bondsmagi (even inadvertently) and they also take out all their family and friends. So, yeah, who would ever mess with a Bondsmagi? *looks sideways at Locke*

The Falconer has an inflated ego if I ever saw one. He is pretty touchy about being called names, and that’s all that Locke has done so far. So I tend to think of him as a powerful idiot at this point. Vestris… hmmm.. I wonder how much  is her own attitude and how much is her owner’s? Can scorpion hawks make decent pets? We may never know.

3) The Gentleman Bastards make plans for a hasty exit, but resist the urge to drop everything and go, because reasons. Seemingly entirely reasonable reasons. Do you think our boys are right to stay?

That’s hard to say. If they dropped everything right now, would those loose strings attract attention from Capa Barsavi? Would the Grey King be totally miffed? Would either bastard track down the Gentlemen Bastards and kill them? I can understand the hesitancy all around to cut out and run. They have lots of loot to transport, so it wouldn’t be swift. They are all from Camorr (at least as far back as they can recall, right?) and this is their home. Plus, they are stubborn. They have put a lot into their elaborate scam and also Locke doesn’t like backing down from a bully if he can outwit him.

Still, it’s a fucking Bondsmage and the Grey King. And a scorpion hawk. And sleepy-time mists.

4) We’ve now seen a lot more Eldren architecture, including the spectacular rooftop ‘rose garden’ Don Maranzalla trains his students in. Do you think the Elderglass is a creation of magic, science or something else entirely?

I love the rose garden! It was a great way to get Jean trained up. And his wicked sisters! Ha!

I think the Elderglass is a creation of science and aliens. yep. I think large alien bugs came to Earth and set up shop in Camorr and nearby. They then used their saliva to partially digest local materials, turning them into Elderglass. So, in a way, all that Elderglass is like wasp or ant vomit – super strong and can last for years. Also, it can be made into any shape.

Other Tidbits:

Bug never talks about his time in the Shallows, which makes me think it was pretty bad. Yet he seems the purest or naivest or kindest of the group, doesn’t he?

Did you enjoy young Locke’s body snatch? And he got paid to do it too!

Who has tried the winning combination of beer and peach tarts for dinner? I think it depends on the type of beer….

I’m going to miss Nazca. I remember the first time I read this book, I was shocked by her sudden and gruesome exit from the story. But maybe I can have her boots… since she’s not using them?

Info on the Read Along

Here’s the schedule:

Wk1 / 7th April: Prologue and Book 1, hosted by There’s Always Room for One More
Wk2 / 14th April: Book 2, Ch 4-6, hosted by There’s Always Room for One More
Wk3 / 21st April: Book 2 Ch 7-8 and Book 3, hosted by Wendy at The Bibliosanctum
Wk 4 / 28th April: Book 4 and Epilogue, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

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.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Part I

LynchLiesOfLockeLamoraWelcome 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 There’s Always Room for One More. 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 and a third reading of the book. I also apologize for posting late – medical issues have me busy, tired,  and not as organized.

1) We get a lot of detail about the city, from architecture and geography to social structure and the Secret Peace – not to mention the food! What do you make of Camorr?

Camorr reminds me a little of Venice – rambling tight streets, multi-tiered houses (some quite old) and water every where. Also, all the street gangs make me think of the various Italian gangs in some Shakespeare plays.

I love the mystery of the Elder glass. How was it made, who made cities out of this stuff, and who could break it apart and basically wipe out all but the few bits of elder glass left? Someone Locke and crew don’t want to tangle with, that’s who!

2) What are your first impressions of the Gentleman Bastards? They are liars and conmen (and proud of it) – but do you think our thieves have hearts of gold?

When I first read this book, I was initially concerned that I wouldn’t particularly like any of the main characters. for instance, I have tried twice to get into the The Stainless Steel Rat series but the main character is pretty narcissistic. That’s not to say that Locke and Chains and the twins and even Jean don’t have large egos, but they are also very entertaining. Chains’s stories and lessons are filled with creative cussing and wisdom. Locke is a touch narcissistic, true, but he’s also loyal to his friends and I believe he has certain lines he won’t cross (that’s how those two bullies in Shades Hills got killed).

So yeah, I’m a wannabe Gentlemen Bastard.

3) Do you find the split timelines a useful device for filling in background without a lot of exposition? Which timeline are you enjoying the most?

I really enjoy my time with Chains, especially since we already know this early on that he won’t be around forever. Plus Chains has big plans for his students and he has this interesting past that is hinted at. He’s this odd, yet awesome, mix of brutal straight talk and supportive advice. Everyone should have an uncle Chains.

4) Has anything taken you by surprise so far?

The shark fighting ladies! The Capa’s theatrical shark tooth! All the glorious food and drink!

 

Other Tidbits:

I wish I had had steel toed boots as a kid.

Bug in the barrel being rolled home. It was great to see all the guys so worried about him, but also great that they still taunted him a little getting him home safely.

I really like the idea of an alchemical brandy that let’s you enjoy all the flavor, maybe let’s you get a little tipsy, but leaves you free from hangovers the next day. Hooray!

I wonder if the boys have to dress in disguise to go fancy grocery shopping, since their temple is suppose to be fairly meager and they have to avoid catching the Capa’s eye with over spending.

 

Info on the Read Along

Here’s the schedule:

Wk1 / 7th April: Prologue and Book 1, hosted by There’s Always Room for One More
Wk2 / 14th April: Book 2, Ch 4-6, hosted by There’s Always Room for One More
Wk3 / 21st April: Book 2 Ch 7-8 and Book 3, hosted by Wendy at The Bibliosanctum
Wk 4 / 28th April: Book 4 and Epilogue, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

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.

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

LynchRepublicOfThievesWhy I Read It: The Gentlemen Bastards is one of my all-time favorite series, so I absolutely had to.

Where I Got It: A review copy from the publisher via Netgalley (thanks!) & I bought the audiobook.

Who I Recommend This To: Epic fantasy fans who enjoy a good thief/scam element.

Narrator: Michael Page

Publisher: Del Rey (2013); Tantor Audio (2013)

Length: 650 pages; 23 hours 44 minutes

Series: Book 3 The Gentlemen Bastards

Author’s Page

Book 3 in this excellent series starts off where shortly after we left Jean Tannen and Locke Lamora at the end of Book 2, Red Seas Under Red Skies. The ending to Book 2 left the readers wondering if Locke was really poisoned, and the beginning of Book 3 answers that question. Jean and Locke quickly find themselves entangled with Patience of the Karthain Bondsmagi. She drives a steep bargain, requiring that Jean and Locke rig the 5-year Karthaini election in her faction’s favor. So off to Karthain we travel with our two heroes. Meanwhile, this book, like the previous two, is coupled with flashbacks to the young Gentlemen Bastards. We finally get to meet young Sabetha, the love Locke has been pining for through the first two books. All the Gentlemen Bastards are hormonal teens and Chains needs a break. So he kicks them out for a summer, sending them to Espara to help a friend save his acting troupe from financial collapse. Yeah, that’s right, the Bastards on stage!

Scott Lynch gave us plenty more on Locke’s background with the flashback scenes and Jean got some extra ‘training’ in Espara that was fun to hear about. I have to say the biggest plus to this book was to finally meet Sabetha and I was very pleased with who she turned out to be. She completed the big picture of the Bastards. Between the two timelines (play in Espara & election in Karthain), there was plenty of pranks, egotistical attitudes, and even some deadly danger. The readers also get more info about the Bondsmagi and the Eldren, two elements I have been greatly curious about since Book 1, The Lies of Locke Lamora.

When I review a book, I compare the book to what else the author has written (and I have read) and other books in the same genre. Was this my favorite Lynch book? No. I felt the first two books in the series had a tighter plot, that every element of the story was relevant to the plot. Also, this book left me with many, many questions, and not just about the big arc of the series, but also about story arc contained within covers of Book 3. Finally, there was a big, BIG reveal that could alter how much I like or dislike the series from here on out. I will have to wait til Book 4 to see how things play out……But, with all that said, when I compare this book to other Epic Fantasy or Thievery books, it is still one of my favorites.

It was great to get to spend some more time with Calo, Galdo, and Chains via the flashbacks. I definitely have an expanded list of people/societies that Locke & Jean need to take down. Plus, there is some new mystery surrounding the Bondsmagi for Lynch to explore in future volumes.

The Narration: Michael Page rocks! I decided I needed to reread the first 2 books before diving into this one, and I did that through the audiobooks. Michael delivered for all three, providing great voices, and never hesitating (or breaking into giggles) over the outrageous swearing.

My blogger buddies and I did a read along of this book and you can catch in-depth discussion of the novel here:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

What I Liked: Damn near everything; Jean, always the rock of wisdom, gets to kick Locke out of his pity party; Esparans make for complicated business buddies; Sabetha; the narration was excellent; the cover was gorgeous; more on the Eldren and Bondsmagi.

What I Disliked: Not as tight a plot as previous books; plenty of questions, perhaps too many, by the end of the book.

What Others Think:

The Little Red Reviewer

On Starships & Dragonwings

Violin in a Void

Over the Effing Rainbow

Books Without Any Pictures