This is the final week of the Read Along . . . *sob* :(
We read to the end of the book . . . *sob* :(
1. The Thorn of Camorr is renowned - he can beat anyone in a fight and he steals from the rich to give to the poor. Except of course that clearly most of the myths surrounding him are based on fantasy and not fact. Now that the book is finished how do you feel the man himself compares to his legend. Did you feel that he changed as the story progressed and, if so, how did this make you feel about him by the time the conclusion was reached?
In many ways Locke lives up to the legend of the Thorn perfectly well. The immaculate planning and preparation that he uses is all Thorn, but he is also able to turn seemingly impossible circumstances to his advantage through pure intelligence and confidence. As for his fighting prowess: Locke himself is not terribly gifted, but he has the self-awareness to realize that he needs Jean to fulfill that aspect of the Thorn and the tenacity to take a thorough beating whilst waiting.
I am not sure that he has changed very much as a person since the beginning of the adult section of his life. It seems more like we have been allowed to see the hidden depths within the man. He has had to move out of his comfort zone, which has made him more ruthless, but he is basically the same person. I am not even sure that he has changed all that much since he was a child: I am blown away by the knowledge that such a small boy would take a new name to change his identity. I guess the major change we have seen is that Locke has learned from all his mistakes.
2. Scott Lynch certainly likes to give his leading ladies some entertaining and strong roles to play. We have the Berangia sisters – and I definitely wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of them or their blades plus Dona Vorchenza who is the Spider and played a very cool character – even play acting to catch the Thorn. How did you feel about the treatment the sisters and Dona received at the hands of Jean and Locke – were you surprised, did it seem out of character at all or justified?
Jean versus the Berangia sisters was a very tense, close fight. It seemed very evenly balanced, but yet again the Bastard was underestimated: to the cost of his opponents. Considering he rarely kills, Jean is frighteningly good at it, especially when he is fighting someone who is overconfident. I could say the same for the Dona: she didn’t expect Locke to attack her, and so miscalculated to the detriment of her teeth. I found this really funny and loved the simplicity of it: it reminded me very much of the famous Indiana Jones scene where Indy is faced by the man twirling two swords and simply shoots him! :D
Both men did what they needed to do, so it seemed perfectly justified to me!
3. Towards the end we saw a little more of the magic and the history of the Bondsmagi. The magic, particularly with the use of true names, reminds me a little of old fashioned witchcraft or even voodoo. But, more than that I was fascinated after reading the interlude headed ‘The Throne in Ashes’ about the Elderglass and the Elders and why their structures were able to survive even against the full might of the Bondsmagi – do you have any theories about this do you think it’s based on one of our ancient civilisations or maybe similar to a myth??
It doesn’t sound like any of our ancient civilizations, or any of the myths I’ve read. It seems more likely that the book is set either a) in our far future, after a cataclysm of some kind when society has regressed to a pre-industrialization stage; or b) in a completely different world, that doesn’t follow all the same rules as ours. Then again, the Elders could have been aliens, who knows?
4. We have previously discussed Scott Lynch’s use of description and whether it’s too much or just spot on. Having got into the last quarter of the book where the level of tension was seriously cranked up – did you still find, the breaks for interludes and the descriptions useful or, under the circumstances did it feel more like a distraction?
I liked it on the whole. Without it we could have been left with little chance to draw breath, so to speak. The only one that seemed out of place was the one about the prostitute guilds. All the other Interludes have had a connection to the ongoing story, but I couldn’t spot an obvious one here: unless it was that men shouldn’t underestimate women.
5. Now that the book has finished how did you feel about the conclusion and the eventual reveal about the Grey King and more to the point the motivations he declared for such revenge – does it seem credible, were you expecting much worse or something completely different altogether?
It seems entirely credible, and explains why we had the Interlude about hand ball that showed the Camorri passion for revenge. I had no idea what to expect: by this stage of the book I had given up trying to predict what was going to happen.
6. Were you surprised that Locke, being given two possible choices (one of which could possibly mean he would miss his chance for revenge on the Grey King) chose to go back to the Tower – especially given that (1) he would have difficulty in getting into the building (2) he would have difficulty in convincing them about the situation and (3) he would have difficulty in remaining free afterwards? Did anyone else nearly pee their pants when Locke and the rest were carrying the sculptures up to the roof garden?
Not really. I guess Locke understands that the Secret Peace is a good thing for the whole of Camorr. He might not like the aristocracy, but the city would fall into anarchy without them and the Capa to maintain order. This would be a terrible disaster for everyone. Plus, in some ways it was more of an important revenge than just killing the Grey King: it robbed him of his main objective.
Oh yes, I was rather nervous as they scuttled up all those stairs! :D
7. Finally, the other question I would chuck in here is that, following the end of the book I was intrigued to check out some of the reviews of LOLL and noticed that the negative reviews mentioned the use of profanity. How did you feel about this – was it excessive? Just enough? Not enough?
Profanity? What the #$%^ do you mean: too much ^&*(%$# profanity????
But to be serious for a moment: I also read a lot of negative comments about the use of too many ‘bad’ words. I guess some people simply cannot tolerate the use of such language in any situation, not matter that it is entirely appropriate in this case. I’m not sure I would ever argue for more profanity, but I think it is naive to expect thieves and villains to avoid rude words: “Oh, I say! Would you mind terribly not poking me in the eye with that dagger, if it isn’t too much trouble, old chap?”
I know that we could have had a new word, like the infamous ‘frak’ on the new Battlestar Galactica series, but I don’t think it was warranted, and it is just a silly way of not saying the word that we all know they are trying to avoid. I remember seeing a version of the film Jagged Edge that had all the f-bombs replaced by ‘frig’. They were badly dubbed, which didn’t help, but also they totally undermined the character of the harden ex-cop PI uttering them: he was not a man who would speak like that. That, to me, is the main argument for or against profanity: is it appropriate for the characters?
8. Okay one further, and probably most important but very quick question – having finished, will you pick up the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies?
Plus Scott needs to publish more books ASAP otherwise I’m going to have Locke-withdrawal jitters!
I would also like to say how very much I have enjoyed this Read Along process: it has been like having a book group meeting every week! Yay!
Also, a big thanks to the hosts and everyone who has read my posts and left comments: I hope to see you all for the RSURS Read Along, Bastards!