I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Republic Of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Also by this author: The Lies Of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies
Series: Gentleman Bastard #3
Also in this series: The Lies Of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies
Published by Random House LLC on 2013-10-08
Genres: Action & Adventure, Epic, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER“A bright new voice in the fantasy genre” (George R. R. Martin), acclaimed author Scott Lynch continues to astound and entertain with his thrillingly inventive, wickedly funny, suspense-filled adventures featuring con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. And The Republic of Thieves is his most captivating novel yet. With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all. Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body—though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring—and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival. Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha—or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.PRAISE FOR SCOTT LYNCHThe Republic of Thieves “Fast paced, fun, and impossible to put down . . . Locke and company remain among the most engaging protagonists in fantasy.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “The Republic of Thieves has all the colorful action, witty repartee, and devious scheming that fans of the series have come to expect.”—Wired “A fantasy world unique among its peers . . . If you’re looking for a great new fantasy series this is one you won’t want to miss. . . . In a word: AWESOME!”—SF RevuRed Seas Under Red Skies “Lynch hasn’t merely imagined a far-off world, he’s created it, put it all down on paper—the smells, the sounds, the people, the feel of the place. The novel is a virtuoso performance, and sf/fantasy fans will gobble it up.”—Booklist (starred review)“Red Seas Under Red Skies firmly proves that Scott Lynch isn’t a one-hit wonder. . . . It’ll only be a matter of time before Scott Lynch is mentioned in the same breath as George R. R. Martin and Steven Erikson.”—Fantasy Book Critic “Grand, grandiose, grandiloquent . . . No critic is likely to fault Lynch in his overflowing qualities of inventiveness, audacious draftsmanship, and sympathetic characterization.”—LocusThe Lies of Locke Lamora “Right now, in the full flush of a second reading, I think The Lies of Locke Lamora is probably in my top ten favorite books ever. Maybe my top five. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, you should probably read it again.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the WindFrom the Hardcover edition.
I read the current Gentleman Bastards books in a bit of a fever pitch and now I have a quandry. What do I do with my reading life now that I have no more Gentleman Bastards books left to read? Apparently the next book, The Thorn Of Emberlain comes out Fall 2014 which feels like forever. I feel as though my life has been consumed with Locke and Jean in the best possible way. The Republic Of Thieves by Scott Lynch is the cream of the crop. It is a book that has some how given me the magical power of devouring a 651 page book over the course of three days. I must be under a bondsmagi spell because I could not set The Republic Of Thieves down. When you pick up The Republic Of Thieves after you have hopefully spent some time with The Lies Of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies prepare to be stunned and captivated and taken in by Lynch’s meticulous plotting.
Spoilers for the previous books in the series, look away now if you cannot abide being spoiled when discussing subsequent books in a series. The Republic Of Thieves picks up where Red Seas Under Red Skies basically leaves off. Locke and Jean have been poisoned by Stragos. There’s only one vial of antidote left. The two argue over who will take it. Locke tricks Jean into taking it and so, he’s essentially lying on his death bed in Lashain. Along comes a bondsmagi named Patience with an offer that Locke and Jean cannot refuse. She offers to remove the poison from Locke using sorcery. It’s going to be very, very painful. In exchange, Locke and Jean must come to Karthain and compete in an election process that happens every five years. The twist? They are competing against Sabetha, Locke’s lady love and biggest rival. Scott Lynch’s The Republic Of Thieves takes us to another place in the sprawling world he’s created and reveals all sorts of interesting things about bondsmagi society and the Eldren. It is a credit to it’s predecessors. While Red Seas Under Red Skies made me a fan, this book made me a believer.
I won’t talk about Locke and Jean much, since we basically know them by now. We know that they are far too clever by half, that they have some awful luck, and that they are my favorite bro-mance ever. Instead I want to talk about Sabetha. We have heard subtle hints being dropped about her in the first two books however she did not make so much as a cameo, always off elsewhere. We finally get to meet her in The Republic Of Thieves and I have to say that it is worth the wait. Sabetha is a fully realized female character who is interesting and complex in her own right. She truly is Locke’s perfect match and dare I say, more clever than he is. She is his intellectual equal and I loved that. I loved that Sabetha had these dark moods and did not apologize for them. I loved how she could be devious. She was completely worth waiting for.
Furthermore, we get the backstory of Locke and Sabetha’s relationship in the interlude sections. We learn how Sabetha and Locke first met at Shades’ Hill and how Locke has loved her for pretty much his whole life. The interludes were my favorite part of the book besides getting to know Sabetha. They center around Locke, Jean, Calo, Galdo and Sabetha going to Espara and putting on a play called ‘The Republic Of Thieves’ and give us this glimpse into one of their earliest cons. If you like romance in your fantasy books, you are in for a treat as we see the development of Locke and Sabetha’s relationship over time. It is an engrossing experience to read about the young Gentleman Bastards taking the stage.
As for the world building, I loved checking out Karthain and their society which seems so sanitary compared to Camorri and Tal Verrar. This is likely because of the Presence, or the bondsmagi who live in Karthain among the ungifted. You see, it’s not like anyone will declare war on Karthain because to do so would mean messing with the bondsmagi. We learn that the bondsmagi entertain themselves by holding an electoral pageant every five years. At this pageant both sides, the Black Iris and the Deep Roots, choose a candidate to wreck havoc on the other side. The rules are clear, no killing and no bondsmagi interference, but other than that, no holds barred. It is fun to read about how Locke and Sabetha try to outmaneuver each other in this electoral battle.
Lynch certainly impressed me with The Republic Of Thieves. I was not certain what to expect with this book except more Locke and Jean. I will say that it feels more tame than the previous two books in that I am not devastated by the turn of events. It’s still exciting. It’s still interesting. It’s still riveting. In fact, I really do not know what to do with myself now that I’ve finished. The wait for The Thorn Of Emberlain feels interminable and I legitimately cannot wait to get back to reading about Locke and Jean’s heists and adventures.