Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch | Book Review

Reading two books from an epic fantasy series that is not on my review copy TBR in one month feels like a giant indulgence. Yet, Locke Lamora, Jean Tannen and the other Gentleman Bastards are worth the time away from obligation. With each addition to this series I grow more and more convinced that Scott Lynch is an author to watch. I will admit to a feeling of apprehension for Red Seas Under Red Skies, several people told me it was slow and then a few reviews were not entirely favorable. I must be the odd duck out because I think that I loved Red Seas Under Red Skies more than The Lies Of Locke Lamora. This book is not it’s predecessor. It is not the same as the first book in the series. Red Seas Under Red Skies goes in an entirely different direction and I personally cannot help but admire what Lynch has accomplished. These books have added a much needed variety to my reading life and I think that before we go any further you need to pick up The Lies Of Locke Lamora, add variety to your reading life and then come back and talk with me.

Red Seas Under Red Skies picks up where Lynch leaves off in The Lies Of Locke Lamora, and thus it’ll be impossible for me to review without spoiling, so put your spoiler glasses on you are about to learn what happens. Locke is still recovering from defeating the Gray King and from beating the hell out of the bondsmagi, Falconer, and also grieving over Calo, Galdo and Bug when he flees with Jean to Tal Verrar to recover. The two have set their sights on this casino called the Sinspire where it’s pretty much impossible to cheat. The Sinspire is run by this badass named Requin and his assistant Selendri. Locke and Jean end up catching the attention of the Archon of Tal Verrar, Stragos. Stragos gives the two slow acting poison and holds the antidote so they have to obey him. Locke and Jean are instructed to commandeer a pirate ship and stir up trouble. The two have no seafaring experience and are a bit blue around the gills. A fascinating new set of characters are introduced and we get to meet Captain Drakasha, this badass older woman pirate who has two children and basically does not fuck around, if you know what I mean. And her first mate, Ezri, who is also awesome. Locke and Jean are totally under the gun, will they be able to pull off their heist AND pull a fast one on Stragos? You’ll need to get your hands on a copy of Red Seas Under Red Skies.

Frankly, Scott Lynch’s second Gentleman Bastards book just happens to solidify my favorite fantasy bromance, that between Locke and Jean. The two go through some pretty rough moments together but work as a perfect unit. It’s gratifying to see them save each other. It’s also gratifying to see Jean get a girlfriend. Let me just say that Jean and his lady love are perfect together. ALSO! Locke does not get to coast on his laurels. Instead, he continues to fail and it’s funny and awesome but also much more interesting than Locke being one of those perfect heroes who always stumbles into the correct answer or the best battle plan.

If you’re reading fantasy for the world building, you will be happy to know that Red Seas Under Red Skies expands upon the world in The Lies Of Locke Lamora. This time we get to see a totally different part. We get to see Tal Verrar. We learn about this awful place ruled by Lady Saljesca, where rich assholes pay for amusements at the disadvantage of the common people. Like, it’s really depressing and awful, but they get what’s coming, at least. Then we get to learn all about the Sinspire, which is so awesome. Basically it is a casino. Each floor is more elite than the one below it and you only get to go up the floors when invited. In the book we get to actually read about Locke and Jean gambling and running the scam. I kind of really loved it.

However. We have not even gone to the best part of Lynch’s world. THE POISON ORCHID. Y’all, the Poison Orchid is the ship that is captained by Drakasha. Those new to the Poison Orchid’s crew are placed on scrub watch meaning they do the worst jobs. I know some reviewers weren’t into this part, but for me it was my favorite. I loved reading abut Locke and Jean at sea. I loved reading about the crew of the Poison Orchid. I loved reading about them sailing the Brass Sea. I loved when they go to Ghostwinds, which reminded me of Tortuga from Pirates of the Caribbean. This bit is what made me like this book better than The Lies Of Locke Lamora, this is where I fell in love with the book. You see, Red Seas Under Red Skies has two of the most interesting strong female non-token characters I have read in epic fantasy in a long time. Ezri and Drakasha had me riveted.

In all, Red Seas Under Red Skies was an awesome follow up to The Lies Of Locke Lamora. It may have had it’s slow spots, but let’s be real, the strong characters and new setting were total assets. I am pretty much in love with this series and I guess I will see all of you again during my review of The Republic Of Thieves, the latest book in Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard sequence.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I agree with EVERYTHING YOU SAID HERE!!! Love love love this sequel. I loved the nautical parts, LOVED Drakasha and Ezri, Jean/Ezri (GAH), and the fact that Locke fails pretty spectacularly throughout the book.XD

    And Jean & Locke’s bromance is probably one of my top-three-favorite-relationships-of-all-time, platonic/romantic/or otherwise.

    Have you picked up the third book yet?? I’ll be really interested to read your thoughts on that one, too.
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  2. I feel ridiculous for commenting on both of these reviews but how can I resist???? I really loved the consequences that Locke and Jean had to work through in Red Seas, since it seems in a lot of series characters get over horrible things way too easily. Seeing how imperfect our favorite scoundrels are but how they work through their troubles was great. Also pears! Also another ending that destroyed me!
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