The Bastard Read-Along: Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentlemen Bastard Sequence #2) by Scott Lynch

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The Bastard Read-Along is being hosted by Kaja @ OfDragonsAndHearts and myself. If you are interested please comment down below with your name or like to your review if you have written one, and we will add your name to the list of bastards. We would love for you to join us and read along! 🙂 However, you don’t have write a review to participate. Fell free to just read the books, and then comeback and read everyone’s review and join in on the discussions 🙂


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Read Seas Under Read Skies (Gentlemen Bastard Sequence #1) by Scott Lynch

Publisher: Bantam Specta

Publication Date: August 2007 (first published June 20, 2007)

Edition: Hardcover, 558 pages

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 Rating


Still very good, but it was… different…

Backcover:

After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long — and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.

This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele — and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior… and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.

Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors… straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb — until they are closer to the spoils than ever.

But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough…

Shortly after I read Lies of Locke Lamora (my review) I had to add it to my all-time favorite list (which is a very exclusive club). The book was that good, and I loved it THAT much. Obviously I was very excited to read Red Seas Under Red Skies, but I was also a little hesitant because of how it ended… I thought the next book might ended up being different, because of that.

Locke and Jean are now on Tal Verrar and have running a con for around 2 years now are finally ready to close the deal. This time their target one of the most powerful man of Tal Verrar, and owner the Sinspire, Requin. If they are able to pull this off, they will have money they could have ever imagined and can leave this life and go away for ever. However, they have a past from Camorr and a reputation, and both close in on them.

Soon Locke and Jean find themselves no longer gambling in a casino, but in a meeting with Maxilan Stragos, that puts them captain of a ship and pirating crew, and once again, Locke will have to lie, cheat, and steal in order for him and Jean to even live to see a chance at going back to Tal Verrar to complete their original con.

The difference I was alluding to earlier was the lack of characters – the lack of the gentleman bastard characters. What happened to the crew was perfect – SO PERFECT – for Lies, but I didn’t know how a story would be with only Jean and Locke. And, as I thought, it did feel different. Not bad by any means, but different.

I am character first readers, as I have probably said a billion times at this point in my reviews, but the cast of characters in Lies and the dynamic they created together was akin to a dream come true. And with them missing, I felt that hole – and it felt different. And because of cause of their missing, Jean and Locke did change – and it felt different. And with this new focus and hierarchy of characters, the type of story told should also change – and it did; and it felt different.

Locke’s and Jean’s characters both developed an incredible amount more in this book. One thing I loved in the last book, was here for a brief time in this book, were this after chapter interludes. In Read Seas Under Red Skies, they are used to detail the events from the end of Lies to how they got to island of Tal Verrar. This, I thought was incredibly crucial to the story for multiple reasons. The prologues comes from a section later on these story (cut and paste) where Jean turns on Locke! Sounds ludacris, right? But after you read those end chapter interludes, you may start to think it’s possible… and then once you put that into the mix of the current plot and the mess that Jean how gotten them into now… well, you may not be surprised…

AND WHAT A MESS Locke got them into now. The plot this time is much more complex, going heavy into the con at casino, but goes more toward action and different kind of scheming when we get to the pirates. Actually, this book felt like two completely different plots. At the start we have the Sinspire con, and we go into a good depth about that, and with out Hawk-friend from last time. But then when meet Stragos, and next thing I know, the whole Sinspire plot is forgotten, and suddenly we are all about pirates! Part of me liked how the story took a sudden and went out to sea (literally), but the other part me was really enjoying the con at the casino and wanted that to keep going on.

Obviously Locke and Jean are great, but we also meet some female pirates out at the sea this too 😉 Worldbuilding is top-notch  (wait until you hear what the Sinspire looks like); prose and vocabulary are among the best out there (of course); and this book has an emotional punch that felt like I took a Wicked Sister in the head! (And, coincidently, I read this scene while in public at Starbucks and had to try my best not to cry…. they must think I’m so weird) 😄

I don’t think this book was worse that Lies, it was just different. Not sure if it was change in cast of characters, how the characters themselves changed here, the type of story, or changes in plot, or what – but something was off for me here?  And liked the style of Lies better.

Now, some people may this better one better; others maybe in my camp. But regardless, you will like this book. 

Fellow Bastard’s Reviews of The Lies of Locke Lamora:

4/5 Rating

-DJ

Date Read: 02/08/2016 - 05/13/2016
Review Written: 06/11/2016
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8 thoughts on “The Bastard Read-Along: Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentlemen Bastard Sequence #2) by Scott Lynch

  1. Kaja says:

    Ha, here we are, finally reviewing this book! 🙂

    I agree, this one is definitely different from Lies. I found the Sinspire part a bit slow this time around but the pace picked up once we get to the pirates. And the break from one part of the action to the other was rather abrupt, I wished it to be more nuanced, perhaps.

    And yeah, like you said, the character development of Locke and Jean is very good here, they’ve gone through trauma and now they’re picking up the pieces. And I know Locke really grieved for the Bastards but I also think that it knocked him down a lot when he found out he’s not invincible after all. So this aftermath of the events in Lies is very important.

    How’s your life right now? Busy? 🙂 I haven’t started reading The Republic of Thieves yet – have you? I’ll let you set a date for the final review, I’ll try to read it before Baby comes but no guarantees. 😀

    Like

    • Yes, life is super busy right now! I just finished up that online prep-class for medschool last Friday, and now it is all shopping and packing for my flight this weekend! However, I do not actually start classes until August 15 – which means I should be able to get one or two more book in in that time 🙂

      I working on one right now (only 100 pages), and then it’s straight for The Republic of Thieves! I’ll do my best to read it before the 15th (pretty sure I can), so that we can post our reviews before The Thorn of Emberlain releases.

      And when is baby due?! Wouldn’t it be something if they arrived on Sept 22 😉

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  2. imyril says:

    I love this book so much (lady pirates! kittens! artificers! double-crossing backstabbery!) but not as much as Lies. While I think the flashback timeline is necessary to lend the future timeline credibility and explore the ways in which the boys are dealing with the events of Lies, I really missed the other Bastards (one of the things I’m enjoying about Republic is the glimpses of Chains and the gang). This time around I thought the later flashbacks punctured the pace a bit towards the end of Lies; rereading Seas I found the pacing all over the place. I still enjoy it enormously – and some of it breaks my heart (“Gods help me, I will never be better off without you” *bawls*) – but I think Lies is tighter. Given that my memory of Republic is that the pacing is even more erratic, I’m curious to see how I feel at the end of the reread! So far, I’m just revelling in Sabetha…

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  3. I love the female pirates so much! I don’t think I liked Red Seas Under Red Skies quite as much as The Lies of Locke Lamora, but I still like it a lot.

    Like

  4. […] Red Sea Under Skies (Gentlemen Bastard #2)  […]

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