A few weeks back I offered a review of Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora. I absolutely loved it and could not wait to get into Red Seas Under Red Skies, the second entry in his Gentlemen Bastard Sequence. Having finally read it, I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed it. And that’s an understatement. As much as I’d like to describe to you how good this book was, I would have a hard time doing it using words.
Blurb: Thief and con-man extraordinaire, Locke Lamora, and the ever lethal Jean Tannen have fled their home city and the wreckage of their lives. Bu 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 Verrar. And the Sinspire. The Sinspire is the ultimate gambling house. No-one has stolen so much as a single coin from it and live. It’s the sort of challenge Locke simply can’t resist… ….but Locke perfect crime is going to have to wait. Someone else in Tal Verrar wants the Gentleman Bastards’expertise and is quite prepare d 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.
The Lies of Locke Lamora did set the bar high for whatever Lynch was to write after. But Lynch has pulled it off beautifully. In this sequel he consistently pushes the story and the characters we learned to love in the first book to new limits and new destinations. We sort of start all over again. We have a new city to discover, a new job they’re in the middle of and new dangerous associates to meet. The only difference is that we now know the two main characters and what they are like. Lynch once more comes up with a complex con that will (hopefully) unfold slowly even as the main characters are pulled into multiple unexpected directions.
In a sense the beginning of this book offers—and rightfully so—a transition from the type of story of the first book and how things are going to be in this sequel. So Lynch gives us some con action very similar to what Locke and Jean were doing in the first book and he also includes the format of the book, meaning the interludes—which in this book he calls reminiscences—at the end of each chapter. This is something that he eventually drops after part one and so leaves room for longer chapter entirely comprised of “current” action. Lynch then leads us into the parts of the story that are obviously quite different, since we would in no way want the same thing as before, and into something that is less con related and more just general trouble. To a point this is similar to the format that he used in the Lies of Locke Lamora but to me it seemed he really pushed this change in story orientation further in this novel.
The characters, is in any good sequel, get a lot more development and we start to see an uncertainness and maybe a general lack of confidence in Locke. Lynch really takes him out of the areas he knows and places him in situations were just his wit and reflexes will keep alive and on top of things. I probably came to appreciate Locke’s character even more (if that’s possible). Jean becomes in this book the second most important character, because of the events of the Lies of Locke Lamora, so we get a lot more content and development for him especially on the romantic side of things which was undeniably nice.
As I’ve now probably said ten times, Red Seas Under Red Skies is an excellent book and a just as great sequel. Lynch once more proves that he is one of the most exciting fantasy authors on the rise. Unfortunately, the third book in the Gentlemen Bastard Sequence, The Republic of Thieves, isn’t due to be published until at least next October, but you can read it’s prologue here. However, while waiting, you can pick up a copy of The Bastards and the Knives, an omnibus of two prequel novellas to the series, when it is released in early May.
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Reading Age: 16 and up
Violence: Yes, quite a bit of pirate action
Sex/Language: Lots of language, of course, and some talk of sex but nothing too explicit
Scott Lynch's Website: http://www.scottlynch.us
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