Monday, November 11, 2013

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch: Part 3

If you haven't read the book, or the whole series, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? This week the links to the other posts can be found at Lynn's Book Blog.

This week we read through to the end of Aurin & Amadine.

1. The election competition.  Sabetha isn’t wasting any time throwing pranks at Locke and Jean.  Mostly it seemed fairly harmless, or at least not overly serious, until they were kidnapped and put onto a ship and taken out to sea.  What did you make of Sabetha’s latest plan? And what did you think about the way she executed it?

Sabetha is obviously a meticulous planner with a great eye for detail and she knows her marks inside and out. Her plans for the ‘cruise’ were almost perfect, but did not account for the almost suicidal tendencies of her prisoners. I am quite sure that she has more nice surprises in store for them: I just hope that Locke is awake and paying full attention now.

2. During the escape overboard and Jean’s rather subtle nose dive into the water - I was curious about the lights Locke saw deep in the water when he was performing his rescue - Locke thought they looked different once he was under the waves which I suppose they would but he also had the feeling that he was being watched?  Do you think this relates back to the Eldren or some other presence?

I found scene that rather creepy as I had a horrible suspicion that the glowing lights were bioluminescent animals with a particular taste for Camorri . . . However, Locke’s reaction to whatever he saw was equally unnerving, so I hope that we eventually find out what he saw. I suppose that it could be something as simple as a sunken or collapsed city, but he made it sound a lot more menacing than that.

3. Given that Locke hadn’t seen Sabetha for five years how did you think their first meeting together went (well, it wasn’t strictly speaking their first meeting of course - were you surprised that Jean and Locke hadn’t figured out that the woman pickpocket was Sabetha?) and also what did you make of Jean and Sabetha’s reaction to each other?

I was a little disappointed that, yet again, I spotted the pick pocket ruse before Locke did: either I am getting seriously clever or he is slipping into his dotage. I thought it was really obvious that the woman would plant something on him during their accidental collision, and that she was actually Sabetha. I do hope that this does not mean that Mr Lynch is getting sloppy . . .

Although I can sympathize with Locke a little, I do think that he is still completely blind to Sabetha’s massive advantage in this competition. He walked into a very neat trap and she played him beautifully: I was actually shouting “No! Don’t do it!” as he started to nuzzle at her neck. What a total idiot! I have no idea why he cannot bring himself to distrust her, but I hope that his dunk in the ocean has awoken his more careful side and made him realize that ha cannot afford to let his guard down around her.

It was very noticeable that she did not try to charm Jean at all: she obviously knew that he would be too difficult to trick. I have a feeling that Jean is not blind to Sabetha’s ability to mess with them and she realizes that he is on his guard around her at all times.

4. So, the gang have arrived in Espara and already the plans have gone wrong through no fault of their own!  Jail for a year plus lose a hand for slapping a noble?? What do you think of the justice system in Espara and how does this bode for the gang?

As the lawyer points out, the high and mighty are more than happy to make laws unequal so that they can beat on the lower orders, so it was not a huge surprise to me. I believe we also heard that dueling was a constant issue in the city because everyone is so touchy about his or her honor, so that would add weight to the need to save face if one was struck by a peasant.

The justice system seems much the same as the other ones we have come across. It seems merciless, but is actually fairly open to corruption and bribery, so they should be able to navigate it without too much trouble, if they can keep their collective noses reasonably clean.

5. The acting company are finally coming together and we’re watching the gang as they try to read, act and grab the best parts - are you all ‘happy face’ with the whole theatre scenes or, sad face!  Also, I can’t help feeling like this whole storyline is a step out of character for the gang.  Any ideas of how it will play out??

I am a long time fan of the theatre, so I find it quite funny watching people rehearse something akin to Shakespeare. I especially loved all the byplay with Sylvanos: there were lots of great insults to savor. I can understand what you mean about it being a little out of character for the Bastards, but I can also see how it will improve their ability to play a role convincingly. Acting is a skilled craft, after all, so learning some of the tricks of the trade will be very useful for them. I can also imagine that it will give them an insight into psychology and how to manipulate a mark effortlessly.

I thought it was interesting that Jean was marked as useless acting material. He does play a much narrower selection of roles, most often playing the less flashy, supporting role while Locke hams it up with gay abandon hogging all the attention. Somehow this is quite endearing as it shows how ‘honest’ Jean’s underlying character is in comparison to the others.

6. We are also being introduced to a number of new characters, particularly Moncraine and Boulidazi.  What are your first impressions of these two and the other new characters in the Company and any particular likes or dislikes so far?

Most of the actors are great fun and I particularly like Sylvanos and Bertrand. However, my favorite aspect of the group is that they all know each other so well that the banter is sparkling and very edgy. Terrific! :D

Boulidazi strikes me as someone to keep an eye on. Moncraine is obviously as mad as a ferret, but I think his assessment of his new partner is not far from the truth. He is not trustworthy and there is something slimy feeling about him.

7. The rooftop scene and the apology.  How did it all go so wrong?  And how will Locke get out of this latest fix with Boulidazi?

I suppose it would have been far too easy for Locke’s apology to work properly and let him sweep Sabetha off her feet. Obviously the poor guy is totally unaware of what is so significant about redheads, but I hope we find out why it makes Sabetha so very angry. I wonder if the Sanzas will be able to enlighten him . . .

As I said, I do not trust Boulidazi and I thought it rather presumptuous of him to ask Locke if he could have a go at Sabetha after that single, rather short, meeting. That does not seem like the behavior of a nice person to me. Perhaps Locke can persuade him that they were rehearsing? Otherwise I fear that Mr Lamora is due to get a new set of lumps and bruises.

Other Thoughts

Well, I think we finally got out answer to the “Did they?” question. However, I feel as if there is still a lot for us to learn about the relationship, and I can only imagine how often Locke managed to say totally the wrong thing and cause a giant argument.


  1. 1. did not account for the almost suicidal tendencies of her prisoners - I love this line - those two really are a proper pair of nutters! And yes, I think Locke might sit up and pay more attention after all this.
    2. I like the idea of a sunken city - perhaps there are still people living there - and maybe they have their eye (or eyes) on Locke *wiggles fingers myseriously*.
    3. Yes, she definitely didn't try to charm Jean - or at least she tried with a hug but it didn't seem to work. Locke is just so blind when it comes to Sabetha - never mind rose tinted glasses - he's wearning a rose tinted body suit with matching helmet!
    5. You're so right about Jean!!
    6. Yes, Bouldazi is definitely one to keep an eye on. I don't like his character. If it was anybody else you might have a degree of sympathy for the person getting taken in by Locke and Sabetha but you just can't feel that for him!
    Lynn :D

    1. 1. Nutters seems like a good description.

      2. People living inside domes of elderglass would be amazingly cool.

      3. Any sane person would have taken notice of Jean's less than friendly body language . . . but not Locke.

  2. "I thought it was really obvious that the woman would plant something on him during their accidental collision, and that she was actually Sabetha." - The plant was pretty obvious, but for some reason I didn't guess it was Sabetha herself. Guess I'm not as on the ball as you. ;)

    "Somehow this is quite endearing as it shows how ‘honest’ Jean’s underlying character is in comparison to the others." - Very true. In a way, I think Jean is as much an outsider in the Gentlemen Bastards as Sabetha, and the only reason he fits in much better is because he's a bloke among blokes, and he's got such a deep friendship with Locke. Locke and Sabetha just have too much baggage...

    1. I think Jean is quite different from the others, what with his glasses and Romance novels, but at least he's a bloke, so they can relate to him a bit more than to Sabetha. Also, she does keep them all at arm's length, which doesn't help.

  3. If Sabetha were evil, or had turned evil in the 5 years since Locke last saw her, Locke has made it ever so easy for her to stick a knife in his heart. I wanted to slap Locke awake a few times during this section.

    I was a little surprised how quickly Moncraine gave up in teaching Jean to act. Then I was doubly surprised that Sabetha or Locke didn't take Moncraine aside and remind him about his agreement with Chains and get him to take more time in working with Jean.

    I wasn't surprised that Boulidazi approached Locke about Sabetha upon their first meeting. After all, Sabetha was showing keen interest in Boulidazi fencing blade, his interest in the theater, and batting lashes at him. In a way, she was encouraging him.

    1. True - I forgot that Chains wanted them all to perform, but perhaps Jean is really dreadful and they can all tell.

      She was practically throwing herself at him, but I thought a gentleman might wait until the following day to be decent about it . . . perhaps I expect too much! :D

  4. Ha, ha, ha, yes, Sabetha didn't count with the suicidal tendencies of the duo. So very true! :)
    And I agree, Jean isn't blind to what Sabetha does but he still can't seem to impart that wisdom on Locke.

  5. I hope their unintentional cruise helps Locke wake up and start paying attention! Sabetha is going to mop the floor with them in this election if it doesn't. I suppose he does have the un-dazzled Jean to help keep him from falling for things, but it didn't help all that much this time around.

    Dangerous bioluminescent creatures would be quite interesting. Or maybe they're actually the Eldren!

    "Perhaps Locke can persuade him that they were rehearsing?" -- Haha, that would be an interesting strategy, I wonder if Boulidazi would buy it.

    1. If the Eldren are alive and living underwater at the bottom of the lake they will certainly be amazingly cool . . .

  6. the pickpocket's Four Cornered hat gave it away for me. Locke really isn't at his best here, the dude did only recently recover from being mostly dead, so I can forgive it. especially since that means more entertainment for us!

    the lights under the water, I too was wondering if they are some bioluminescent animal that lures things down, to eat them.

    arrgh, i don't know who is more guilty of being the worst cockblocker - Patience or Boulidazi! i want to punch both of them, it's like "cant' you just leave these two people alone, for fifteen more fricken' minutes???"

    1. I suppose the alternative for the bioluminescence is that it is to attract a mate . . . which could be just as unpleasant as getting eaten! :D

  7. I'm going with the theory that Locke isn't on is game yet because that pick pocket was way too easy. He should have seen that coming! Locke and Jean need to cut it with the hand signs too. It's like they got a bit lazy when Locke was sick...

    And, yes, the did they question was certainly answered. She still gets to him and she knows it!


Please let me know what you think, because comments make me happy!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...