Saturday, May 26, 2012

Read Along of Red Sea Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch: Part 5

You can see Redhead’s Part 5 post, and the links to the other blogs taking part, here.

The questions were supplied by Lynn At Lynn’s Book Blog

This week we have read up to the end of the book.

Before I get to my answers I would just like to say a huge “Thank you!” to all the hosts of this and the Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along. You have introduced me to a wonderful writer and a pair of books that I have enjoyed immensely. I also want to thank all the bloggers who took part: I have enjoyed every minute of our discussions and I look forward to reading more of your thoughtful and enjoyable posts. :)

1.       Oh my god, such a lot going on I thought the showdown between the Poison Orchid and the Sovereign was brilliantly written and they were holding their own until Utgar and his nasty device turned up.  Well a lot of you had kind of predicted it, and I suppose we’d been let off too easy so far in terms of deaths of well-liked characters  – but come on, did you expect something like that?  And how on earth will Jean ever recover?

I think a lot of us predicted that Ezri would not survive to the end of the book, so it was sort of unsurprising. However, for her to die in such a noble and self-sacrificing way was not at all what I had expected. I assume that many of you reacted as I did once it became obvious what was going to happen: I read in horror with tears rolling down my cheeks. In some ways it was a very beautiful death, because of why she chose to do it, but it was also incredibly sad.

Poor Jean. What can I say? He is destroyed and I have no idea how he is managing to go on. I am not sure that he will ever recover completely, as they seemed to share such deep bond. I do not think that he will ever love again. Of course, he might lose Locke as well soon, which will cheer him no end: Scott Lynch you total bastard!

2.       The deceit, the betrayal, first Rodanov and then Colvard.  Even now I’m not entirely sure I understand Colvard – Rodanov was never keen on the oath but Colvard seemed okay with it all and yet in this final deceit she was more devious than Rodanov – what do you think was her motive?

I am not quite sure how deceitful she was being there. It seemed like Rodanov had made up his mind about what he was going to do, and she knew what he was planning. If she had decided to stand against him she would probably have been defeated for no really good reason. To me it seemed more of a pragmatic action than real betrayal.

3.       Merrain – such a puzzle, no real answer, the mysterious tattoo, the determination to kill everyone to keep her identity and that of her master a secret.  Does anybody have any ideas where she’s from and what she’s up to exactly and who the hell is she working for??

Should we gather up these guesses and preserve them so that we can get them out and have a good laugh once the third book is published?

Looking at how the world expanded from LoLL to RSURS, I imagine that she is working for someone from a far distant country that has some vested interest in world politics. They were trying to destabilize or mess with the government of Tal Verrar for some reason that I cannot even begin to imagine. I doubt that it is the Bondsmagi or anyone we have met or has been mentioned, though I am probably wrong and she is working for Sabetha.

4.       Finally we get to the point of the GB’s latest scheme, all that elaborate planning for two years, fancy chairs, gambling, dust covered cards, abseiling lessons – all for one gigantic bluff. I loved the diversionary tactic here but having finally reached the end of the story and, more to the point, the end result – do you think the GB’s are as clever as they think they are?

In some ways, yes: the chairs were totally genius items, as were the cards. However, going to all that time and effort to steal a piece of artwork without checking that it is real first . . . oopsie! :D

For once, it seems like Locke did not really understand his target’s psychology. Requin has only got where he is by being cautious and well prepared. Also, he accepted the fake chairs perfectly happily, which should have been a huge clue that he was pragmatic about not displaying originals. Plus he had his famously huge and impregnable vault: where else would you display your precious artwork?

5.       I must admit that I liked Requin and Selendri – particularly at the end – I don’t think Requin will go after Locke and Jean, he was even sort of cool and composed about it all, in fact he came across as a bit pleased with himself because he had the last laugh.  Plenty of good characters this time which did you enjoy reading most about this time?

In many ways, Requin seems like an older version of Locke. He is so good at reading a person’s character and manipulating them and their expectations.

I think the character I enjoyed the most in this book was actually Jean. I felt like he blossomed during the time we spent with him this time. He stepped out of Locke’s shadow in more ways than one. He became an equal partner and showed that he could be just as cunning, such as with the crossbows. I feel like LoLL showed the most influential time in Locke’s life: the experiences that changed and shaped him so that he could never be the same again. This time we have seen that part of Jean’s life. He has been the emotional heart of this book and I have felt for him every step of the way.

6.       Finally, a triple barrel question, I know I shouldn’t ask this BUT, on reflection do you have a favourite between LoLL or RSURS??  And why?  Are you going to pick up Republic of Thieves?  And, where do you think Lynch will take us to next??

A favorite? That is a difficult decision. However, I think it has to be LoLL. There are a variety of reasons for this. Call me nostalgic, but I enjoyed discovering this world and the characters inhabiting it. I loved Father Chains and the Spider. I preferred Camorr as a location. I liked the interweaving of the Interludes, which were used much more in LoLL. Plus I missed the sharks! Of course RSURS had little Regal, who I imagine will play a large role in RoT, but a rather large thing weighing in against it is the cliffhanger ending: Scott Lynch, you total bastard!

Will I read the Republic of Thieves? Let me think about that for a minute or two . . . YES! Of course I will, and I hope that we organize another Read Along so that we can share the experience. Of course, if Mr Lynch does not hurry up and publish it we may have to visit him to ‘encourage’ him to hurry up! :D

As for where we go next, it could be absolutely anywhere: somewhere that we have already heard about or somewhere totally new. Heck, I would hardly be surprised if we ended up on one of the moons. I would like to learn more about the Elders, but my primary concern is really finding a way so that Locke does not die! Scott Lynch, you total, utter bastard!!!!!!!

One last point: I was so pleased that Salon Corbeau got a special visit from the Dread Pirate Ravelle. I just wish we could have had a bit more detail about them terrorizing the evil, kitten-torturing aristocrats because they really deserved to suffer: really, really suffer and then suffer some more. Anyone who tortures kittens deserves to spend a very long time dying! Bastards!


  1. Such a lot packed into those last 100 pages - I'd almost forgotten about Salon Corbeau!
    I loved your answer to No.1 - it almost made me have a wobbly lip all over - but I remained firm!  So sad for Jean and I'm glad he was your favourite - I've never really made a secret of the fact that I like him the most.  I was even happy for him finding someone who seemed to be so similar to him!  Very sad :(  Lynch - you bastard! (we love you really though) :D

  2. I really like your answer to question 5. Jean became a truly fleshed out character and I love him all the more for it. And I suffer alongside him.

    Salon Corbeau? YES, YES, YES!!!
    I honestly didn't think it would get resolved in this book so it felt great to read about the place getting ransacked one and for all.
    Especially when you consider what we had to suffer through with Jean and Ezri...

  3. I think we were all expecting a sudden death for her, so this was a huge shock. Poor, poor Jean :(

  4. Jean has really changed and developed through this book, which has been all the more heart-breaking because we know them so well :(

  5. I also wish more time was spent on the sacking of Salon Corbeau. I wanted to know the nobles reactions, along with the weary, starving, desperate peasants. And were wraithstoned kittens rescued and brought on board thr Poison Orchid? 

  6. The description felt a little rushed to me, so any extra detail would have been welcome.

  7. I really like your answers this week, you brought up some really interesting points that didn't occur to me at all! Merrain working for Sabetha?  I think we'd have to know a little more about Locke and Sabetha's break-up to weigh that option... Merrain was ready to kill Locke and Jean at the end!  Also, I didn't even think about how huge a hint Requin's cheerful acceptance of the replica chairs was :).

  8. Thank you! :)

    That comment about Merrain was just a throw away because I have given up trying to predict what Mr Lynch will throw at us next! :D

    Good all Requin, I actually quite like him, even though his methods are somewhat questionable at times.

  9.  Me too.  I wanted them to suffer like they made the peasants suffer.

    Lynn, I like your guess that Merrain's working for Sabetha.  That's a possibility I hadn't considered.

  10. we definitely need to collect all these Merrain guesses, we could do a betting pool or something, or at least see which one of us was closest.  I love your thought that she's maybe working for Sabetha!  and damn yes, Requin IS sort of an older version of Locke. . .  if Locke lives long enough to retire as a rich casino owner!

    and poor, poor Jean. he could meet the most beautiful woman on the planet, and i don't think he'd even notice her. Lynch you are a total bastard for doing that to my book boyfriend!

  11. The sad thing is that we are probably all wrong about Merrain! :D


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