Tag Archives: bastard read-along

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard #3) by Scott Lynch
Published in 2013 by Del Rey.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased (hardback).

Genre: Adult high fantasy.

My rating:

With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.

Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body – though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring – and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.

Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha – or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.

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This is the review for the third part of the series, so it will definitely contain some spoilers for the previous two books. You can read my reviews of The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies – and then we’ll chat! :) This isn’t a simple review, either, but a delayed sort of read-along I’m doing with DJ from MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape – we’re calling it The Bastard Read-along. So if you’re reading this as well (either for the first time or re-reading in preparation of the forthcoming publication of The Thorn of Emberlain), leave the link to your review in the comments and I’ll make sure to link it somewhere in this post and in the master post of the read-along as well. If nothing else, be sure to check out DJ’s review – he’s reading the books for the first time so his perspective is different from mine!

Now, I am definitely sure I only read The Republic of Thieves once before – I wasn’t exactly sure if I’d read Red Seas Under Red Skies once or twice, and I’ve now read The Lies of Locke Lamora at least five times (which makes sense since I’m translating it into Slovenian). My memory of this book was therefore much more sketchy than with the previous two books, which isn’t that bad, actually.

The Republic of Thieves brings back an element I missed with Red Seas Under Red Skies: the flashbacks to the time when Gentleman Bastards were still a young gang of thieves, going through a rigorous education. Here, though, we have an actual parallel story line, unlike with Lies of Locke Lamora, where the flashbacks serve mostly to illustrate the characters’ backstory and the setting.

The switching of timelines – the past one where the young Gentleman Bastards depart for a foreign city to put on a stage production of a famous play, The Republic of Thieves, and the present one where Jean and Locke are competing with Sabetha to win the election in Karthain – make for a fast-paced story, much like in the first book. None of the parts dragged like they did with the second book, and I was once again immersed in both stories, cheering on Locke and his crew.

But the tone of this third book is different from the first one. Here, Locke is no longer the cocksure, brilliant thief convinced he’s the smartest of all – he’s lost friends and made mistakes, so while his schemes are still brilliant, his thoughts are tinged with regret and even self-doubt. Jean is grieving but still his loyal self, ready to prove that his friendship with Locke will always stand the test of time.

The most significant addition to the story, however, is Sabetha. I know many fans disliked her – she is proud, distrustful, and even a little traitorous, but I thought she was great. We’ve been listening to Locke pine away for her for two books, and now that she’s finally here, she’s human. Yes, she’s brilliantly educated and beautiful – Locke’s obsession with her has not diminished – but she’s also wary and prickly and careful, worried she’ll make the same mistakes that made her run from the Gentleman Bastards in the first place. I loved her relationship with Jean, the fact that they managed to talk despite the huge obstacle that is Locke Lamora’s ego.

I also need to mention the Bondsmagi – the scary order of magicians we’ve met before in the form of the Falconer who aided the Grey King slaughter half of Camorri criminals in the first book. Here, the Bondsmagi are the silent force that toys with the people of Karthain, steering the election like it’s some sort of a puppet show. I liked the insight we got into their world, I admired (and loathed) Patience and was horrified by what remained of the Falconer.

The hints about the Eldren were also interesting; this ancient, mysterious civilization that left behind magnificent ruins and vanished without a trace. I really, really hope we’ll get to discover more about them in the rest of the series.

And now all there’s left to do is wait for The Thorn of Emberlain to be published. We know the unrest in the Kingdom of the Seven Marrows is reaching boiling point and our favorite thieves will probably try to make the most of it. I hope we’ll get to see more Sabetha as well, but I’ll let Lynch surprise me. This is definitely one of my most anticipated releases and I hope it’ll happen in 2017.

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Have you read The Republic of Thieves? What did you think?

Are you as eager as I am to read The Thorn of Emberlain?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard #2) by Scott Lynch
Published in 2007 by Gollanz.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: purchased (paperback).

Genre: high fantasy.

My rating:

Thief and con-man extraordinaire, Locke Lamora, and the ever lethal Jean Tannen have fled their home city and the wreckage of their lives. But they can’t run forever and when they stop they decide to head for the richest, and most difficult, target on the horizon. The city state of Tal Verarr. And the Sinspire.

The Sinspire is the ultimate gambling house. No-one has stolen so much as a single coin from it and lived. It’s the sort of challenge Locke simply can’t resist … but Locke’s perfect crime is going to have to wait.

Someone else in Tal Verarr wants the Gentleman Bastards’ expertise and is quite prepared to kill them to get it. Before long, Locke and Jean find themselves engaged in piracy. Fine work for thieves who don’t know one end of a galley from another.

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This is the review for the second book in the series, so it will UNDOUBTEDLY contain SERIOUS spoilers for book one. If you haven’t read The Lies of Locke Lamora yet, you can check out my review here! This is a part of the Bastard read-along, which is taking us way more time than is seemly (mostly because it took me four months to finish re-reading this book!). I strongly urge you to go check out DJ’s review – he’s the other side of this adventure, reading the books for the first time (unlike me), so he’s bound to have a different perspective!

The first half of this re-read was really slow for me. I had other interesting books to read and I remembered just enough of the story to be disinterested – I think that if I’d forgotten more of it, it would have been better. I’m not sure whether this was my second or third time reading the book – did I re-read it before I read The Republic of Thieves? Who knows. Goodreads still doesn’t have a “currently re-reading” option, which is a pity, because I re-read a lot.

I found the lack of other Gentleman Bastards to be a serious flaw of this first half of the book. I love Locke, I really do (he’s one of my all-time favourite characters), and Jean is a fantastic sidekick, but Calo, Galdo, and Bug offered comic relief, filled in the dialogue, made everything better, in short. So I was really glad when the second half of the story – the pirate part! – began, as Locke and Jean finally got a crew, even though it was vastly different from what they were used to.

I have to say this: knowing that I’ll probably be translating this book at some point, I was horrified by the amount of nautical lingo in the story. I saw Lynch’s note at the end, saying he bluffed through half of it, so I suppose I’ll have to do the same and not worry too much, but I’m already planning on kidnapping someone with nautical knowledge and keeping them captive until they explain all the sea stuff to me. Because I know nothing about ships. I get seasick, people.

Locke’s schemes are as elaborate as ever but I liked that there was always something to take him down a notch (like being poisoned, huh), he can be a cocky bastard. Jean’s development in this second book is also great, he’s no longer content to just follow Locke blindly around. Oh, I wish him well, he’s such a marshmallow, my heart broke for him. *sob*

The ladies of Red Seas were a breath of fresh air compared to The Lies, which only had one female character (I think Nazca was the only one? Okay, there were the Berangias sisters, but still.). Captain Zamira Drakasha and Lieutenant Ezri Delmastro were fantastic. PIRATES! Lady pirates! Lady pirates with small kids! I do hope we get to see The Poison Orchid again at some point in the series.

The story ends with a bang, that’s for sure, and though I know what’s coming next, I’m excited to read The Republic of Thieves, which I have definitely only read once. DJ and I will be reading it during the summer, I think, and posting our reviews sometime before The Thorn of Emberlain is published on September 22. Though when exactly that will be, I can’t say for sure: DJ is starting med school during the summer and my baby is due on August 25. :D Lots of things happening!

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Have you read Red Seas under Red Skies? What did you think?

Do you like stories about outlaws like pirates and thieves? Why do you think such morally ambiguous characters are so appealing?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch
Published in 2006 by Gollanz.

Links: Goodreads. Amazon. Book Depository.

Source: purchased (paperback).

Genre: high fantasy.

My rating:

The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through the walls.

Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves: The Gentlemen Bastards.

The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they’ve ever known. But now a clandestine war is threatening to tear it apart. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends are suddenly struggling just to stay alive…

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I am thrilled to review this book today for several reasons (let’s make a list, shall we?):

  • The Bastard Read-along is the first read-along I’ve ever participated in, let alone organised – and I hope some of you will link your reviews in the comments and I’ll make sure they end up nice and visible somewhere in this post – and in the master post as well. DJ’s post will be up in a couple of weeks, so I’ll add it then.
  • I’m translating this book into Slovenian starting with May, I think, because I have to re-read both Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves before I start and I have some other exciting work to get to first. But seriously, THIS IS THE BEST JOB EVER.
  • Even after my third re-read, this is one of my favourite books of EVER. Seriously. If you haven’t read it yet, this is a serious suggestion that you should rethink your life decisions (kidding, but I will never stop recommending it).

And why, you might ask, am I so enamoured of this book?

Well, first of all, there’s Locke Lamora. I know many people prefer Jean Tannen to Locke (since he’s a huge softie and a really, really good friend), but Locke stole my heart and is probably my favourite character of all time (along with Elizabeth Bennet and Kvothe – and possibly Bilbo Baggins). His character is really questionable – he’s a thief and a cheat and a masterful liar, but he’s flawed, too, not at all a perfect human being. Does Lynch romanticise the life of thieves in a cut-throat city like Camorr? Of course. But I just love his razor-sharp wit, his crazy, daring schemes, and his excellent talent for cursing. (“Nice bird, arsehole.” might be my favourite line of the book – but it’s a nightmare to translate, I can tell you that.)

Then there are all the other characters, amazingly well-fleshed-out: the Gentlemen Bastards, the rest of the Camorri underworld and the nobility, too. Jean, Calo, Galdo and Bug are Locke’s best friends – brothers, really – and their relationship, while peppered with insults, is solid. The whole social hierarchy of the gangs and their Capa (the don of the mafia, is what you’d call him, I think?) and the nobles and their Secret Peace is unbelievably complex and explained with impeccable precision and humour. I’ve heard complaints that this book has a shortage of women – while that might be true in the sense that the main characters are all male (there is a female Gentleman Bastard but she’s away and we don’t get to meet her until later in the series), I also think that Lynch did a good job with side characters – Nazca, Doña Vorchenza, Doña Sofia – they’re all interesting and powerful women.

This book is pretty epic in scope – both with characters and with the setting. It’s true that the whole of the first book takes place in Camorr, a city vaguely reminiscent of medieval Venice, but the mythology, the history, the neighbouring cities (city states) – it’s just amazing. I’m especially curious about the mysterious Eldren, who disappeared without a trace but left behind the magnificent structures of elderglass, a stone-like substance that humans have never learned to work. I hope we’ll get more info about them in later books.

Now, I may have read this book twice before but this time, I read it with translation in mind. I don’t often talk about this part of my life here on the blog but when a translator works on a text, she takes it apart at its most basic level – the language – and rebuilds the story in another language. This is why I was struck, even more than before, with the brilliance of Lynch’s prose. His style is pretty dense, the dialogues are sometimes polished to the point of over-abundance (but it all makes sense when the characters are who they are) and the world-building alone brings along such a wealth of new expressions that I am in awe – and scared witless because I can only hope that I will do the book justice in Slovenian.

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So. I am really happy I got to merge my blog with my work for once and review this book here. I am looking forward to re-reading Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves (both of which I’ve only read once) in anticipation of the publication of The Thorn of Emberlain (it’s scheduled to hit the shelves in July 2016).

If you reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora, please don’t hesitate to leave your link in the comments! At the same time, I’d like to remind you all that this is A SPOILER FREE ZONE and that you should probably indicate if your review contains spoilers. Also, if you’ve already finished all the published books, don’t spoil the fun for others who are only just beginning to enjoy Lynch’s masterpieces – I know that nobody would do this on purpose but accidents do happen.

Other reviews: Nicole (@ Feed Your Fiction Addiction) and DJ (@ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

And don’t forget – our reviews for Red Seas and The Republic go live on February 15 and March 30, respectively.

zmaj-desnoHave you read The Lies of Locke Lamora? What did you think?

Do you prefer your heroes on the right side of the law? Or do you like them a bit crooked?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Follow me: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

The Bastard Read-along

lies-locke-lamora-lynchHi, how are you? :) Things have been slow around here lately, but I can assure you, I’m still alive and kicking. I have, in fact, been hatching a cool plan with DJ of MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape: we’re doing a read-along of all three books in The Gentleman Bastard sequence by Scott Lynch!

If you’ve been around this blog in the past, you’ll have noticed my everlasting devotion to Mr. Lynch and his jolly band of thieves. Locke Lamora might just be my favourite character ever (I think he even beats Kvothe if you can imagine it), but I read all three books, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves before I started blogging, so I haven’t reviewed them yet.

As The Thorn of Emberlain is scheduled to hit the shelves in July, I meant to read the books all over again anyway, but I have an interesting announcement to make: In 2016, I’ll be starting the translation of The Lies into Slovenian, which will be my biggest project so far. I can’t tell you how excited I am to do this, I really love my job.

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So, without further ado, I give you THE READ-ALONG:

thorn-of-emberlain-scott-lynchApart from this master post, we will be posting reviews on dates we set here:

  1. January 5 for The Lies of Locke Lamora
  2. February 15 for Red Seas Under Red Skies
  3. March 30 for The Republic of Thieves

This should give us enough time to whet our appetites for The Thorn of Emberlain.

What can YOU do?

  1. Read the books. If you haven’t already, I can’t recommend them enough. If you have, we’d love to hear what you thought of them, but remember, NO SPOILERS, not everyone has read the books yet!
  2. Chat with us. Comment here or on DJ’s blog. You don’t have to be a blogger to participate.
  3. Write your posts. If you do have a blog, you might want to write a master post for the read-along or perhaps reviews of the three novels – either way, we’d love to read what you have to say, so don’t forget to
  4. Link your posts – just leave the links in the comments either on my blog or on DJ’s, and we’ll add them to our posts. We haven’t figured out exactly how we’ll do this but we’ll make sure you’re seen.

I hope I’ll be chatting with all of you soon, I’m really excited about digging into Locke and Jean’s world again, I’ve missed them a lot. I love re-reading books, it feels like seeing old friends again.

The reviews

The Lies of Locke Lamora: Nicole (@ Feed Your Fiction Addiction) – Kaja (me) – DJ (@ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape)

Red Seas under Red Skies: DJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape) – Kaja (me)

The Republic of ThievesDJ (@MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape) – Kaja (me)

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Have you read Scott Lynch’s books yet? 

Will you be participating in our read-along?

Enjoy the reading – and I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.