I saw the details for this Read Along on the Little Red Reviewers blog, here, though I know that several other blogs are involved as well. I thought it looked like fun and signed up to make posts on my blog every week.
If you haven't read the book, or even if you have, why not join in and read along with the rest of us?
This week we have read up to the end of the Interlude: The Half Crown War, which ends on p. 294 of my kindle edition.
1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage's powers?
The Bondsmage’s magic seems to be very powerful, though unfortunately specific: though the weakness in Locke’s protection could all be part of a cunning plan, so I am taking nothing for granted at this point. It is interesting that the magic is so difficult to use and I enjoyed Chains’ description of the creation of the Bondsmages “union”. What I don’t understand is why these guys haven’t enslaved the entire world under their “protection” – this leads to believe that there IS some limit to their power or weakness that can be exploited. However, I’m not sure if the Bastards will discover it.
2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here.
These are the hints I picked up: a) Lamora means ‘shadow’; b) Locke thinks he looks familiar; c) Locke’s Daddy had to *ahem* ‘go away on business’.
So, it looks like he is Locke’s Dad. But, of course, that might be what we are supposed to think at this point: I am rapidly coming to distrust Mr Lynch’s hints.
2.5 (since 2 wasn't really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would)
Not at all: I thought we were going to follow a wicked wheeze to disengage them whilst keeping the Capa happy. Unless Nazca is going to miraculously return from the dead, I can’t imagine what other bizarreness will occur, but here goes: Jean is actually a woman, the Sansas aren’t actually twins, Bug is Sabetha in disguise. Totally absurd? Who knows: anything could happen.
3. When Locke says "Nice bird, arsehole," I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway?
The whole bit with the corpse and the candle maker had me giggling away in delight. Plus, many of the things Chains comes out with: my favorite is still “Bugger me bloody with a boathook!”
4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they're "cleverer than all the rest?" Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage?
I still think they are cleverer than the other Right People, but the Gray King is playing in a whole different league that they can only aspire to. His immense wealth, needed to hire the Falconer, suggests that his cons make theirs look petty and inconsequential. I don’t discount Locke’s desire for vengeance though, so he might have the last laugh yet.
5. I imagine that you've probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the "present" storyline, but I'll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead?
I have been very good and have NOT read ahead. I am totally confused as to why the Gray King has staged his own death: I can’t imagine how that meshes with his intimidation of the Capa. It will now lull the Capa into a false sense of safety, but I have no idea why he didn’t simply take out the Capa right at the beginning if that was his eventual goal. My head hurts!
6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking?
The characters are very believable and real. They are fleshed out in glorious detail and I can almost smell the places they go.
7. Now that you've seen how clever Chains is about his "apprenticeships," why do you think he's doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge?
Chains’ motivations are no doubt very complex. We have just learnt that he was originally a soldier from a farming village: this provides plenty of opportunity for him to acquire grudges, but against whom? As a good employer he knows that you have to invest in your employees for them to maximize their potential, but he does seem to have a goal in mind, but what it is I have no idea.
Summary of part three: I am now delightfully confused and can’t wait to see what happens next, because I can’t predict anything, except that Locke will survive.