Bloggity Award and Other Stuff

Lynn over at Books & Travelling with Lynn blog recently nominated me for the Real Neat Blog award. I tend to enjoy blog awards because it forces me to be a little more personable and chatty. Plus, we all get to talk about books.

The Rules:

    • Thank and link the blogger that nominated you.
    • Answer the 7 questions that the nomination has provided you.
    • Create 7 questions for your nominees.
    • Nominate 7 other bloggers.
    • Bend said rules

1. If you could meet any author, from any time (past and present), who would that be and what would be your most pressing question?

That’s a tough one. Andre Norton (Forerunner Foray, Timetraders, etc.), Alan Dean Foster (for his Pip & Flynx series), Isaac Asimov (for his Lucky Starr series), and Anne McCaffrey (for her Dragonriders of Pern series) all an impact on me as a kid and it would be cool to get a drink with them and find out what books, authors, or artists had an impact on them.

2. Who is your absolute favorite character, ever. I know you’re probably groaning and rolling your eyes but there must be one character that springs to mind immediately – probably followed by a host of others – but, I want that first knee jerk reaction please and why!

I find that if you ask me this today, you’ll get one answer and if you ask 6 months from now, you’ll get another. I’m easily swayed by whatever I’m reading and thoroughly enjoying at the moment. Let’s go with Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing wizard PI. I like how he can think out side of the box and come up with crazy polka powered T-rex zombie type solutions to messed up situations.

3. What is your favorite series out of all the books you’ve read?  The series you would recommend without hesitation.

I will always adore Jacqueline Carey’s Terre D’Ange Cycle. The epic fantasy, the alternate history, breaking so many standard tropes! However, I’m not sure I would recommend it to everyone because of the sex. I love the sex, and that’s part of what breaks so many dated, sexist standards in fantasy fiction, but is everyone ready for it? Personally, 9/10 people I recommend this series to, has enjoyed it.

4. What’s your preferred reading format, book or e-reader?

These days I do a lot of audiobooks. I dabble in other formats, but find that my deep fatigue from illness makes concentration an issue. Audiobooks are great for me because I don’t get hung up on typos, grammatical errors, large words that I once knew but now find difficult to connect meanings to, etc. The story continues with an audiobook no matter what issues the book may or may not have.

5. The book you were most looking forward to but ended up being really disappointed with?

Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel. Wow! This book was a bit of a snoozer for me. The main character that ties it all together, that everyone knows or is tied to in some manner, is pretty darn boring. I kept on with it to the end hoping it would get better. There’s plenty of interesting side characters and I liked the slower pacing than usual for the fall of modern society story. But instead the book really is about this one guy who is pretty bland.

6. Blogging – what do you love/not love – any embarrassing moments?

I love that I don’t have a schedule. I blog when I feel like it (or when I feel up to it) and can take a break from it when I don’t. I like that I have kept it small and just blog what I want to blog about and don’t try to force myself into being glitzy, trendy, or the first to post a review on the latest hot ARC. There’s plenty of blogs that do focus on those things, and I’m glad they’re out there because I read them.

So far, I haven’t done anything too embarrassing. I know my typos and such have gone up this past year while I have been sick. But in the big scheme of things, that’s rather small.

7. Most anticipated book for the remainder of 2016?

Kevin Hearne is coming out with his first epic fantasy, I think. Hooray! I really enjoy his Iron Druid Chronicles (urban fantasy). Scott Lynch may be releasing his next Gentleman Bastards book (hooray!). As far as I know, there’s no release date yet for Peace Talks by Jim Butcher. Henry Hertz & his two sons have at least 2 more kids books coming out this year – they’re always so well illustrated! Of course, the next A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. I always look forward to something new from Jim Bernheimer. I’m hoping Domino Finn does another Sycamore Moon book. I’ve really enjoyed the first 3 Jonathan Shade urban fantasy books by Gary Jonas and I’m hoping he puts more of the series out as audiobooks. Joe Hempel does a great job narrating them.

Here’s my 7 questions:

If you could be an extra on a period piece (Outlander, Spartacus, etc.) what would it be and what would you be doing?

What makes you cringe?

What’s the most interesting gross fact you know?

It’s time for you to host the book club. Who do you invite (living, dead, fictional, real)? And what 3 books will you be discussing?

If you had to choose someone to rescue you from the jaws of certain death would it be a superhero, supernatural creature, or a space alien?

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Bonus Question: If you were asked to create the syllabus for a college class about your favorite genre, what books would be on there as required reading? As passing discussion?

While I will mention some favorite blogs below, I’m going to leave this open mic. If you find the questions (or my answers) amusing, feel free to chime in down in the comments or create your own blog post answering them – if you let me know you did so, I’ll swing by and check it out.

I like to visit author David Lee Summers blog for the steampunk – most definitely for the steampunk. Viviana, Enchanstress of Books is doing a lot of cool audiobook stuff this month. Broken Teepee has a fun mix of home gardening, book reviews, and info on home brewing kits and such. I’ve found Home Cooked Books by narrator Karen White to be a fun place with lots of interesting bits on what it’s like to make an audiobook. Violin in a Void is constantly expanding my world of books, and I like her focus on African authors and book blogs. Mike Powell is a photographer and he focuses on nature. I especially love his photos of herons. Evelyn Aster, who writes mostly contemporary romance (which, admittedly, is a bit outside my favorite genres), regularly posts pics of her fancy nails and her fancy drinks.

On a personal note, I haven’t been as involved as I normally am due to chronic illness. 2015 was one of the toughest years of my life and 2016 is shaping up to be as well. However, just last month I finally got a diagnosis! Hooray! Turns out I have many, many tiny blood clots throughout my lungs. Because the blood clots have been tiny, the condition didn’t present with the normal sharp pains to the chest, etc. Various scans and doctors missed it, and I was often misdiagnosed as having an asthma exacerbation. Now my doctors suspect the blood clots could have been going on as long as 2 years, with my lungs absorbing at least some of them. Because it went on so long, I have a moderately high case of pulmonary hypertension, which in turn has enlarged my heart. So, I have lots of work to do to get better and it will take many months. I’ve been on 24/7 oxygen since January and will be for at least a few more months, perhaps longer.

So, if you pinged me about something and I haven’t responded, feel free to ping me again. I’ve been hypoxic for probably about 12 months now and when your brain doesn’t have it’s regular stream of healthy oxygen, you get stupid, tired, and forgetful.

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.