Review: Red Seas Under Red Skies

red seas under red skiesNovel: Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard #2) by Scott Lynch
Published: June 20th 2007 by Bantam Spectra
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository

A synopsis is not provided as it is the second book in a series.

Review of book #1: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Review of book #3: Republic of Thieves 

Review

A while ago I realized I had review the third book, Republic of Thieves, but I completely forgot to review the second one. How bizarre is that? To all of you who realized, I’m sorry… To all of you who didn’t: now you know. Because I really loved this book, I still wanted to review it for you all. 

World

The setting of a fantasy novel is so critical to the story, in my opinion. If the country, city or land isn’t interesting, well-descibed and explained, it takes away from my enjoyment of the novel. In the first book, we get to know the island city of Camorr as the Gentleman Bastards con their way around the city. Now, we get to explore Tal Verrar with them. And it is just as incredible as Camorr, even though it’s completely different. I absolutely loved the idea of the Sinspire, the most exclusive gambling house in the world. The way it’s described…. I would want to visit. Even though I’m probably a terrible gambler and would lose all my money.

Tal Verrar isn’t the only place we get to know here though. There’s also: the sea. YES! Ships, sea and pirates. I think we can all be honest and say that pirates and the sea make everything better. 

What can I say? I adore the world Scott Lynch has created for his Gentleman Bastards. I wish I could explore it right along them.

Plot

Now don’t worry, you know that I would never spoil you -even when I’m talking about the plot of the sequel. I’m always as vague as humanly possible -so sorry. 

As you can imagine, the books in this series all have the same general theme: the GB are trying to pull off an incredible heist. That never changes. The place, the circumstances, the reasons, the target and the means: those all change. But there’s always a heist going on. One of the reasons I love these books is that most of the time, you’re clueless. You only know as much as Locke allows you to. Their heists are incredibly intricate. Honestly, Locke is like a spider. And as he is catching more and more bugs in his web, the heist becomes a tad clearer. The entire time, you try to guess at his plans. How are they going to do it? How does this person fit into the grand scheme? How does this object? Really. And at the end, you’ll be just as surprised. BECAUSE YOU WERE WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING. That’s a lesson by Scott Lynch. 

What I loved about this book is the manipulation. Everyone was manipulating each other, and they all thought they were on top. How wrong everyone is though. So much is going on. And I can see you thinking: they are trying to rob a gambling house. Jolien, how the hell do pirates even fit in? Well, they do. Seamlessly. To be honest, I love pirates. They make everything better, that’s just a fact. 

I loved the fact that you get a bit of everything in this book: gambling, pirates, heists, great characters, politics, lies, deceit, amazing female characters, blackmail and cats. But somehow, it seems to fit together perfectly. It never feels like Scott Lynch tried to fill his book with as much tropes as possible. It all just seems necessary for the story and characters. Like a natural progression almost? 

Characters

This part I have to be careful about. Wouldn’t want to spoil you! I have to admit that it’s sometimes a bit hard to remember who everyone is and what part they play in the grand scheme of things. But it gets easier as you go along, because every character is so unique. They all have their defining traits -both physical and psychological- so it gets really easy after a while. They all have an interesting backstory too! 

I obviously have to talk a bit about Locke. In the beginning of the book, you want to slap him. He’s wallowing is self-pity, and it’s shameful. But at the same time understandable. He slowly gets back into the swing of things, especially now they have such a great heist to pull off. I love Locke. He’s incredibly smart -and cocky-, he’s witty and so loyal. I’m going to hate myself for using this term, but the GB are truly #squadgoals. 

The characters grew so much in this sequel. They all faced new challenges, new problems to conquer. Their beliefs are challenged, and they are forced to reconsider them. Plus, the introduction of some amazing new characters does wonders too. It’s weird to say maybe, but I feel a sense of pride thinking about the GB? It’s like I was there for their training, while they were growing up, and now I feel proud thinking of the people they’ve become. I’m getting too involved in this series guys… 


I highly recommend this series. It’s one of my favorite fantasy series, ever. The sequel definitely didn’t disappoint. It had an incredible setting, an impossible heist, blackmail, cats, pirates and of course, the Gentleman Bastards. If that doesn’t sound like the best book ever, I don’t know what would.

Review: Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard #3) by Scott Lynch

republic of thievesNovel: Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard #3) by Scott Lynch
Published: October 8th, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository -affiliate link

I won’t provide a synopsis for the book, as that would be a certain spoiler for the previous two.

Quotes

“What is government but theft by consent?”

“What’s the n-never-fail apology?” “I was badly misinformed, I deeply regret the error, go fuck yourself with this bag of money.”

“Stand aside, and try not to catch fire if I shed sparks of genius.”

Review

While I usually love the current schemes and plots more than the flashbacks, in Republic of Thieves that was turned upside down. I loved getting to know Sabetha. I loved seeing how the GB got started with their heists. How they learned through trial and error.

 

In the first two books, Sabetha is kind of a mystery. No one speaks about her, barely even daring to speak her name. All we know is that Locke loves her -which is not a spoiler, not even for the first book. Now, we not only got to know her, but got to find out why she is such a sore subject! Seeing Locke stumble through something is hilarious, as he normally concocts a perfect plan for everything. I loved watching their relationship unfold -and I have to admit that my feelings surrounding Sabetha are mixed. What I love about her is that she is so incredibly intelligent, that she is pretty much the best GB of them all. But she has certain streaks I don’t like too. Like the fact that she always seems to blame Locke for everything. No matter whether it was actually a conscious decision of Locke to do the “offending” act. I don’t like how she just seems to run away without letting anyone explain anything. Like that will solve anything at all. But overall, she is an incredibly interesting character. 

 

In the first book, we get to see Locke going from Shades Hill to Father Chains. And we learn a bot about his first days there, but then it pretty much skips to their fully working GB team. In this one, we get to see more of their training. How their first days together were. How Chains taught them lessons. How they got to do their first con together. It was all just SO interesting! I liked seeing a different side to all the characters. Calo and Galdo are basically drunk troublemakers here. Jean is still pretty much the reliable muscle. Locke is starting to become the brains. It’s magnificent.  It gave me more insight in their workings, but it also helped to connect with Locke. During the first two books, that’s kind of hard because he is portrayed as this criminal genius without fail. Not really a character I can connect with easily. But here, we see more of his “human” side. His failings, flaws, wishes and so on.One other thing, I wish there was more Jean in this book. In general.

 

The flashback part was so captivating. I loved it. The Republic of Thieves reproduction. And I was wondering, how can that turn into one of their big cons or problems? Then again, I underestimated their ability to screw up pretty much everything. And their ability to fix it through the most ridiculous decisions.
I have to talk about the current events too of course. While I did find it interesting, I loved the flashbacks more. In current times, Locke and Jean are helping a faction of the Bondsmagi. Not voluntarily of course. I felt like this part was much less fleshed out than any other scheme they have come up with. I couldn’t really see how their efforts to annoy Sabetha would result in winning votes. Did any of the parties actually do something to gather votes? I don’t know. I felt like it was all just concentrated on the parties annoying each other, rather than trying to win. Anyway, I can’t say I foresaw the way it ended. As always, Scott Lynch never fails to surprise me.

 

I listened to the audiobook for this one, and I would highly recommend it! The narrator is great, and it also helps with pronunciations. Of all the names, the places, etc. It’s really easy to listen to, and I had a hard time with audiobooks before. Definite recommend!

 

★★★★★

 

P.S. I can’t wait to read The Thorn of Emberlain. I’ll have to wait a bit longer now, but I wish Scott Lynch all of the best. Your fans will wait, until you feel well enough and better.

Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch

the lies of locke lamoraTitle: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Author: Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastards #1
Published: June 27th, 2006 by Bantam Spectra
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery
Rating: 5/5 stars

You can click the cover to go to its Goodreads page.

Synopsis: An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.
A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting. Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined. Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying.

Review

It took me a little bit less than a month to read this book which for me, is a lot. But it definitely wasn’t because it was bad. When I started this book I had just fallen into a reading slump that lasted a while. For me it is almost impossible to read epic fantasy while in a reading slump. This is definitely a book you need to pay attention to while reading or you will be lost in the world or specific terms.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is situated in Camorr, a city where the extremely rich live as well as the extremely poor. Camorr has two rulers: Duke Nicovante who technically rules over the entire city and Capa Barsavi, who rules The Right People. This story is centered around the Gentleman Bastards, who are Right People -all of the right people are thieves, etc. so not really all that right. Maybe the only thing I missed in this story was a description of the city that would stick with me. Scott Lynch described the areas where the Gentleman Bastards were really well, but I feel like I can’t form a coherent map in my mind of the entire city. But the author described their surroundings well, so you could picture the alley they ere standing in.

The plot was amazing as well. In the beginning I was a bit confused by the interludes. The story is told when Locke and his gang are older already but their are interludes as well, that flash back to time he joined Father Chains’ gang. But after a while I found that the interludes really explain other parts of the story well, parts that might have been confusing otherwise because you’d have no background. At first I wasn’t sure where the plot was going and I felt like not much happened. But it was necessary, because you needed to start their story from the beginning. It picked up fast though, and after almost no time you could see Locke robbing the nobility with his Gentleman Bastards and then the Gray King shows up and everything goes to hell. SO MUCH HAPPENED. And so many people died. Just warning you (;

I loved the story and especially the part of thieves that are deceiving other thieves. Capa Vencarlo Barsavi has the Secret Peace, which means the guards of the city won’t do much if they rob everyone but the nobility. But not for the Gentleman Bastards. They are trained to be robbers of the nobility. They can deceive anyone: they speak different languages, can read, write in different hand writings, fight, and they know how to change their appearance and their posture. It’s great. In the words of Father Chains: “I intend for you to be nothing less than a fucking ballista bolt right through the heart of Vencarlo’s precious Secret Peace.”

The characters are amazing as well. The Gentleman Bastards consist of Calo and Galdo Sanza, Locke Lamora, Jean Tannen, Bug and Sabeth (whom we have never met). Locke Lamora is a born thief: he’s smart and can talk his way out of anything. He’s cunning and runs most of their cons. He’s the genius. Then you have the twins, Calo and Galdo: silver in everything. They can do almost anything required for their cons, are witty and funny and make for the best dialogue! Then there is Jean, the trained muscle -with a hell of a lot of brains as well. He’s Locke’s best friend. Then you have Bug, the youngest and their apprentice. And then there’s Sabetha -who is not present in Camorr at the time of this story.

All of the characters were well written, interesting and had so many different sides to them. I truly loved this book: I loved the plot, the characters, everything. It’s an amazing fantasy novel and I will definitely continue reading the series. I would recommend this to any lover of fantasy. And even if you’ve never really tried reading fantasy, you will probably still love this! (Although it may be a bit much in the beginning).

To conclude this review, I’m going to leave you with this very confusing quote by Bug: “So that makes us robbers of robbers,” said Bug, “who pretend to be robbers working for a robber of other robbers.”

I hope you pick this up if you haven’t yet!