This post contains spoilers.
My apologies for posting late! I had so much going on Saturday that I completely forgot to write up my contribution – but it’s been a fabulous time, thank you all for that. It would have taken me ages to finally pick up the book if I hadn’t heard that there’s going to be a read-along.
It’s great how I’ve also learned a lot about read-alongs, this being my first one; I could’ve done some things differently, or better. In addition to learning something, I found a whole bunch of new book blogs to read and even some titles that got added to my to read -shelf on Goodreads.
But, on to the book in question!
When I reached the point where there were only a hundred pages left, I feared that Lynch wouldn’t be able to wrap everything up on time and some things I desperately wanted to know would remain unrevealed until The Republic of Thieves. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case, but like nrlymrtl at Darkcargo said, the last 100 pages did go by pretty fast, and it felt a little rushed to me. Even though I’m glad that Locke and Jean managed to finish their job with the Archon and the Sinspire, I wish there had been more time for build-up.1Okay, the whole novel’s a giant build-up to the Sinspire con, but it reaches its climax quite suddenly after the sea battle is over.
The final set of questions was provided by Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog, and there are a couple that got me thinking… especially the last one. Now there’s a difficult decision!
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?
Oddly enough, my first thought was that the action was somehow out of character for Ezri — but then, she was protecting her captain, her lover, and the ship that had been her home, so not so out of character after all. I guess I hadn’t seen her as the self-sacrificing type and I definitely didn’t think she would have been the one to figure out the only way they could make it through the battle.2I could say ‘win’ and be technically correct, but I don’t think anyone views what happened as a victory.
What else could have been done? Someone taking the device and carrying it away was the only thing that could save the Poison Orchid and its crew. (I did start to cry when Locke blessed Ezri and they buried her in the sea. Wonderful scene. Damn you, Scott Lynch, for playing with my emotions so.)
Jean. I want to hug him and love him
and call him George. I cannot imagine what he must be going through right now. It must affect him somehow in a way that will be apparent in The Republic of Thieves, but I can’t even begin to guess how. Will he become self-destructive? More quiet? Bitter? Consider that not only he lost his lover, he is also still in danger of losing his brother best friend to the Archon’s poison.
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 think that she was doing what she thought was best for the common good. We know many more things about the Bastards’ plan and the Archon’s motives than the Council does, so I understand why Colvard would be willing to do what she did. Drakasha’s plan would have seemed quite risky, even mad, to someone who only knew what she told her and nothing of Locke and Jean’s skills.
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?
No. A sword entwined with grapevine on her upper arm – which page was that on, again? — ah, p. 611 — could hint at some kind of an Order of… warriors? Assassins?32020 ed. note: Merchants?
Lynn’s wording is apt; I think it’s more of a case of Merrain having a master rather than just being employed by someone. She was there to mess up Locke and Jean’s plans by infiltrating their mark’s people, for who knows what reason. I hope we’ll find out in RoT.
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?
I did enjoy watching them at work again, but a little thinking afterwards made me think that it should have been obvious. A man who has an appreciation for beautiful things and a secure vault — that nobody has a snowball’s chance in hell of breaking into — owns a well-known collection of valuable paintings… and then displays them in his office. Right there. And people know the expensive paintings are there, in his office, instead of the vault.
It… sounds kind of dodgy. Doesn’t it?
Yeah. Of course they weren’t the real ones. The GB’s are clever but they definitely put too much work into this one. Work vs. profit, it wouldn’t have paid off even if they had succeeded.
Then again, I reckon they half do it for fun.
‘Hey,’ said Locke. ‘Congratulations! We’re reverse burglars, here to give you fifty gold solari!’
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?
Requin seems like a fair man in that I don’t think he’ll go after them, either. Actually, ten quid says he had a spectacular laugh watching them prepare and do all sorts of outlandish things, when all the while he knew the paintings are not real. I could put money on that none of the things in his office that seems valuable are authentic, much like the chairs Locke gave him.
Coincidentally, I cannot pick one favourite character. Drakasha? Regal? Selendri? Gallardine? Don’t force me, please. Let’s just say that I love Lynch’s characters, all of them. Even the ones who are bastards because they’re so well-written.
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?
Well, LoLL will always be the first book about these dastardly thieves that I read, which automatically reserves it a special place in my heart. I do admit to enjoying their success more than their misfortune, though, so LoLL is my preferred one of the two for that reason as well.
To answer the second question, hell YES I’m going to pick up The Republic of Thieves; wild elephants couldn’t stop me from reading it. I’d actually love it if Lynch took us back to Camorr through some sea-sailing detour. There is no reason to this, I just like the place more than I liked Tal Verrar or any of the other locations that are mentioned in the books.
All he and Jean had ever wanted to do was steal as much as they could carry and laugh all the way to a safe distance. Why had it cost them so many loved ones? Why did some stupid motherfucker always have to imagine that you could cross a Camorri with impunity?
Remind me to never cross Locke Lamora and be foolish enough to let him live afterwards. Might as well give away my riches and run into a sword myself.
Once again, thanks y’all! This has been an awesome experience.