What sensible university students with two essays and a study diary due next week don’t do is let their friends talk them into joining a read-along.1Then again, if I’ve ever claimed to be sensible, I was probably lying. Booky Pony pointed me in the right direction if I wanted to join up2Read: went ‘squee!’ at me over a pint of ale until I relented and with utmost reluctance picked up a book with fantastical locations, excellent writing, and witty grifters. Such hardship., and Little Red Reviewer kindly did not mind my hopping on the bandwagon later than everyone else so here I am, leafing through my previously unopened (I cannot imagine why) copy of Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies.

It has been years since I last read its prequel, The Lies of Locke Lamora, so now is about time that I consume gorge myself on enjoy the sequel.

If you’ve read TLoLL, you know how it begins; you’re told about a boy, and a priest, and a city. My first instinct was to not buy the book, which is unforgivable, but fortunately my second instinct was much smarter. It went something like this:

‘Ooh, there’s thieves in it! … This cover is so pretty.3I have the 2007 Gollancz paperback. “At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-Seventh–” Dude, wait. What?’

At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-Seventh Year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy.

The Lies of Locke Lamora, p. 1

Scott Lynch has some serious guts to start his debut with a mouthful like this.

Then again, my writerly brain insisted that it is unapologetical bait designed to reel you in. I thought, ‘This guy is writing about con artists, so he must be a clever one — or this book sucks, which would be a pity — and a clever one would never start with a sentence like this unless he knew what he was doing.’

As it turns out, Lynch does know what he’s doing.

I never regretted buying a copy of TLoLL, never mind thinking twice about getting RSURS when it came out, and I’m looking forward to reading it for the first time.

This, too, is my first; first post, first read-along, first attempt at Serious Critical Book Analysis, so be gentle — or at least about as gentle as a gentleman bastard would be — and bear with my dicking about with HTML. Truth be told, I find WordPress mildly terrifying after years of another blogging service — but I digress.

I tend to do that.4I also say ‘dick’ a lot. Sorry about that.