Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Red Seas Under Red Skies (Scott Lynch)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 23 of My Book List 2020

”I’d lay even odds that between the people following us and the people hunting us, we’ve become this city’s principal means of employment. Tal Verrar’s entire economy is now based on fucking with us.”

Now if that isn’t an accurate assessment I dunno! ;-P In fact this is a pretty good summary of the entire book and I could probably leave it at that. Since I’m me and since I always feel an almost overwhelming need to put in my two cents I’ll go a little bit more into detail though. (Don’t say you didn’t see that coming! ;-P) So apparently the shit hit the fan in “Red Seas Under Red Skies” – big time I may add – and Locke and Jean are neck-deep in trouble once again.

How they managed to infuriate an entire city? Well, I think you’ll have to find that out for yourself, all I’m going to say is that they seem to have a special talent to attract the unwanted attention of bigger fish. And I’m not talking about sharks here, I’m talking about sea monsters. *lol* Both figuratively and quite literally speaking. XD They have more enemies than you can count and if this wouldn’t already have been enough the Bondsmagi of Karthain are still pissed off because of their – let’s say – quite unique way of dealing with one of their own. I swear the scene at the market gave me the creeps. *shudders*

I’m sure Locke and Jean can’t drink enough Lashani Blue to get their warning out of their heads. XD I might be able to though, so if any of you know where to get a bottle of this hellish stuff I’m ready to buy it and share! ;-P It sounded truly delicious! Anyway, let’s not have one over the eight and focus on other things instead! XD For instance the plot: What I really enjoyed was that the book started with another planned heist but went in an entirely different direction after more and more players came into the game. At first I wasn’t all too sure if I liked that change but damn did Scott Lynch persuade me to board that new ship! Quite literally once again, because they were actually heading out to the Sea of Brass. *lol* And the rest? Well, the rest will hopefully become your next bedtime story. ;-P

2

Welcome to Tal Verrar! The city of gambling where winning will get you to the next level! At least in the questionable establishment of the Sinspire which truth be told, actually sounds like a legendary place to be! *lol* Selendri and Requin the owners of said gambling den don’t mess around though so prepare to be spoiled at every gambling table! Spoiled AND robbed of course! Keep your enemies close and your money closer! ;-P

Locke Lamora:

”And I miss them,” he said, his voice nearly a whisper. “Gods, I miss them. It’s my fault they’re dead. I can’t… I can’t stand it –“

I swear the Locke at the beginning of this book had my heart bleeding! I never thought I’d see him so broken but after what happened at the end of the last book I should have known that he wasn’t going to recover quickly. =( I’m really glad that Jean was with him and forced him to face his problems because otherwise he would have never come back! And come back he did! *lol* I loved to watch his journey and how he changed during the book. The loss of his friends made him stronger and more serious but every once in a while there were moments when the old Locke reappeared. His sass and his charming personality will always cause me to root for him and I just love this man, okay?! XD He could charm the last penny from my pockets and steal my heart all at once and I still wouldn’t mind it! <33 And if he wouldn’t already be such a great thief and con man I’d totally be ready to read stories about Captain Orrin Ravelle! *lol*

”Oh,” sighed Jean. “Well, aren’t you the clever little bastard.”
“Yes on all three counts, actually.”

”Captain Orrin Ravelle,” said Locke, drawing a dagger and placing it against the captain’s throat. “Of the good ship Tal Verrar is Fucked! You stop in and let them know I’m in the neighbourhood!”

”Once a Big Lie was let out in the world, it seemed to grow on its own and needed little tending or worry to bend to the situation.”

Jean Tannen:

”When I get this door open, you’re dead, Jean!”
“When you get that door open? I look forward to many long years of life, then.”

Jean is THE BEST!! ❤ I loved how he dealt with morose Locke and his creativity was quite impressive! Who would have known he had it in him? XD I think Jean changed a lot in this book too and I really liked his character arc. To lose his fellow Gentleman Bastards was bitter pill for him as well, but he dealt with it in an entirely different way than Locke did. Jean tried to build something new and watched out for Locke which is so typical for him. He’s the best friend you could possibly have and despite his grief he never lost hope. Still, it’s undeniable that his priorities changed and this led to quite a few arguments between him and Locke. I think Jean only wants peace now but as it seems this just isn’t in the cards for them. >_<

Ezri Delmastro:

”Touch a weapon, or try to take one from one of the crew, and I guarantee you’ll die on the instant. We’re touchy about that.”

I ADORED this woman! Ezri was so amazing and I’m very thankful Scott Lynch decided to invent her character and to make her a part of this book! She’s definitely a girl that doesn’t take any shit from anyone and I just loved her for it! Ezri is a formidable fighter and the men on her ship listened to her. I loved that she had the respect of the crew and that she was able to fight for herself. No damsel in distress here, just a strong woman that knew exactly what she wanted and took it! That’s how awesome female characters are done! I loved how unapologetic she was and seriously, when I grow up I want to be like her! *lol* She could be very compassionate and gentle though and I can’t believe it had to end like that!!! WHY SCOTT LYNCH??!! WHY??? Ezri deserved so much better than that! T_T I’ll never get over her sacrifice… never. >_<

”Del, if it’s not too much trouble, we’re planning to attack that ship just ahead of us, so could you-“
“Oh, yeah, the fight for our lives. I suppose I could help you out for a few minutes, Captain.”

Captain Zamira Drakasha:

”Oh good,” she said a moment later. “Because after that, Mummy needs to fetch her armour and her sabres. And then she needs to go and board that lying motherfucker’s ship and sink it like a stone.”

A female pirate captain and she owned it!!! Zamira was such a strong character! I really liked that she had two children and was a caring and loving mother as well as a total badass when it came to boarding an enemy ship! Some might say that her children were her weakness but I think her love for them only made her even stronger. She saw through all of Locke’s lies and wasn’t fooled by him and that led to him being honest with her which was amazing! I think Locke needed an honest friend like Zamira and someone that brought out the best in him. And in some way or another she did exactly that! At the end of the book Locke and Jean left her ship but I really hope that she’ll reappear in one of the other books. The world sure as hell needs more characters like Captain Drakasha!!!

Stragos – The Archon:

”The Bondsmagi distort our world with their very presence. They rule us in many ways that have nothing to do with politics; the fact that we can hire them to do our bidding is immaterial. That little guild looms over everything we plan, everything we dream.”

Now that man was quite a nuisance! Stragos is one of those privileged people that buy their mercenaries and alchemists, but have no idea how to use them properly. I must admit he got the better of Locke and Jean when he made them drink his wine, but if it wouldn’t have been for his dangerous little games he would have been no threat to them. He seemed to be the kind of man that loves to plan things and sets them into motion, but ultimately has no foresight to predict unexpected events, let alone to take them into account. His plan to use Locke and Jean in order to stir the pirates was pretty half-baked and it was no surprise that it didn’t work out. If you ask me he got exactly what he deserved and hopefully his current predicament will teach him a valuable lesson!

Selendri & Requin:

”I wonder if there is anything that you don’t distrust.”
“Distrust everyone,” she said, “and you can never be betrayed. Opposed, but never betrayed.”

Now those two were the real deal! They were quite the antagonistic pair and I kind of liked their attitude. Those two didn’t mess around; they were a force to be reckoned with and definitely even more of a threat to Locke and Jean than Stragos ever was. You wouldn’t have thought it by just looking at them but they were quite formidable and skilled. 😉 The interesting thing about them is that no one would have assumed them to be so clever. They were highly underestimated which ultimately benefited them in the end. Also can we please acknowledge how interesting the Sinspire was? I would have loved to take a closer look at that place and to spend a night there! *lol* And don’t even get me started about the irony at the end! XD Requin’s final move was artfully done indeed. ;-P Something tells me that we haven’t seen the last of them yet and that this Duo Infernale will reappear in one of the other books. A girl can always dream, right? *lol*

’Difficult. “Difficult” and “impossible” are cousins often mistaken for one another, with very little in common.’

”All that remains,” said Requin, “is for your other judge to concur that you are still a risk worth taking.”
“Other judge?”
Requin gestured toward Selendri. “You’ve heard everything, my dear. Do we put Leocanto out of the window, or do we send him back down to where you fetched him from?”

3

Locke & Jean:

”Maybe I’ll just hold fast after this bottle,” said Locke.
“Hold fast is a nautical – “
“I know,” said Locke. “I’ll kill myself later.”

Their friendship is still everything and I can’t believe that Locke doubted him for even a second! Then again he might have thought he wasn’t worthy of his friendship anymore – because let’s be blunt here – he truly acted like an idiot at the beginning of the book. He was grieving though and Jean being Jean knew that it was Locke’s way to cope with things. It certainly wasn’t the best way but it’s probably the only one Locke ever knew. Still, with Jean’s love interest there came an interesting and new dynamic into their friendship and I think Locke had to get used to his best friend being in love. It’s something we all have to deal with when we grow up and it might have happened rather late with those two but it did happen nevertheless. 😉 Jean’s priorities might have changed over the course of the book but this didn’t mean that he was wrong. There was nothing wrong about wanting a quiet and easy life and Locke eventually realized this too. Hell, at the end he wanted this kind of life as well and was ready to take a shot at it with Ezri and Jean. It’s such a pity that Stragos didn’t let them have it. =((( And URGH!!! I don’t know how often I used this sentence for books already but THE ENDING!!!! >_< It kills me to think that Locke might die a slow and painful death now but I can totally understand why he did what he did! <333 Jean means everything to him and is his family and after all the things he did for him he just wanted to make sure that he’d be alright. That bastard! You can’t even blame him for taking away Jean’s choice because it was such a noble and right thing to do. T_T ARGH! I swear, one day Locke Lamora will be the death of me! ❤

”Fuck you. You’re ten pints of crazy in a one-pint glass.”

”He is extraordinary,” Locke whispered. “He continues to save my life, time and time again, even when I don’t deserve it.” He returned his gaze to the Orchid’s roiling, glowing, monster-haunted wake. “Which is always, more or less.”

”He realized that he was strangely disquieted that Jean hadn’t followed him, relentlessly at his heels, looking after him as always.”

”It is a favour,” said Locke. “A favour to me. You saved my life all the time because you’re an idiot and you don’t know any better. Let me… let me do it for you, just once. Because you actually deserve it.”
“I don’t understand any of this,” Jean whispered. “You son of a fucking bitch, how can you do this? I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once.”

Ezri & Jean:

”It is a fine match. Maybe you could do better –“ Locke grinned to let Jean know that there was no actual need to knock his brains out of his skull. “but I know for a solid fact that she couldn’t. Ever.” So saying, he squeezed Jean’s hand. “I’m happy for you. You’ve gone and stolen something back from this whole dead-end distraction Stragos has shoved us into. Hold it tight.”

*sighs* I adored them so much! They were really damn cute and I found myself grinning when they interacted. Yes, they were that sweet! They were a fine match indeed which made it even sadder that Ezri died while saving them all. That woman was so perfect for Jean, I swear! She gave her life for her friends and family just like Jean would have done. And I think the worst thing about it all is that Jean can’t even be angry at her because if given the chance he would have done exactly the same thing. >_< I’m actually kind of pissed off myself and have an axe to grind with Lynch as well! How dare you to introduce such a great woman just to kill her off again? It’s not fair!! *sniff* I shipped them really hard but I also knew that it wouldn’t last. Truth be told I was afraid Ezri would die the moment Jean really fell for her. It was too good to be true. T_T

”Always a way to attack,” Jean mused between kisses, “always a way to escape.”
“Of course,” she whispered. “Hold fast, and sooner or later you’ll always find what you’re after.”

4

When I thought that Scott Lynch couldn’t surprise me anymore he proved me wrong and took this book in an entirely different direction. I would have been content to follow their Sinspire heist but Lynch had other plans and I’m really thankful for it! This book had everything I love: Intriguing and clever characters, a deadly gamble, a heist, pirates, strong female MCs, an amazing plot and last but not least a wonderful world I could get lost in. If you’ve already read the first book and loved it, do yourself a favour and read this one too! I’m 90% certain you won’t regret it. 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

 

”Some day, Locke Lamora,” he said, “some day, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.”

Haha! You gotta love Father Chains for his vivid imagination and if you actually read the entire book you might find yourself at a place where you have to agree with him. XD
But I’m getting ahead of myself here so I’ll just start with my general opinion and will try to take it from there. 😉

This book was amazing! I’m the first to admit that it had a rather slow start and that Scott Lynch put a lot of effort into his world building, the more I read on the more I could understand why he was so thorough with his descriptions though. He set the stage, let us see how Locke’s crew operated, gave us a good understanding about their close bond and offered us a brief glimpse at the machinations behind all their elaborate heists. In short: Lynch wrote a brilliant opening to an intriguing series and I can’t wait to read book two.

If there are at least half as many twists and unexpected turns as there were in “The Lies of Locke Lamora” I’ll be a more than just happy camper. *lol* I mean seriously, I loved all those characters and their cunning and deceiving ways. XD Throughout the entire book I never knew what to expect and there were about a ton of “Oh, shit!” moments that were shortly followed by “Jeez! NO!” and “What happened now?” exclamations. I confess that some of the happenings and casual revelations actually left me reeling and I found myself saying: “That’s it! That’s exactly what I want to read!” more often than I can count. And boy did the shit hit the fan at the middle of the book. I barely got a second to breathe and I continued to be breathless until the crescendo ended in a grande finale and the curtain eventually fell.
Yes, the second half of the book was THAT intense. *lol*

Anyway, enough of musical terms! Let’s go right to the characters! 😉

2

Welcome to Camorr, the city that harbours questionable characters, morally grey individuals and a wide selection of rich nobles that quite literally beg to be robbed and spoiled. If you’re an innocent and clueless noble you better don’t dwell all too long. You might either end up relieved of the weight of your purse or even worse, you might end up being spoiled for the book! This was a fair warning; the rest is up to you. ;-P

Father Chains:

”There are only three people in life you can never fool – pawnbrokers, whores, and your mother. Since your mother’s dead, I’ve taken her place. Hence, I’m bullshit-proof.”

I really loved that guy! His observations and statements were so funny and accurate and boy was he a clever man. I mean he basically invented “The Gentleman Bastards” and made them the crew they are when we first set eyes on them. He might have been harsh to his boys but it was obvious that he only wanted the best for them and I guess in his own way he really cared about them too. I can’t help but wonder what happened to him though. We only read about him in flashbacks and memories so it’s kind of self-explanatory that he’s dead. How exactly he died was never mentioned though. Maybe this mystery will be solved in book two and we’ll find out more about Sabetha too?? She’s still such a mystery. XD

Locke Lamora:

”You’re one third bad intentions, one third pure avarice, and one eight sawdust. What’s left, I’ll credit, must be brains.” J

That’s Jean’s description of Locke and to some degree I have to agree with his words. *lol* I think Locke is definitely a whole lot more brains than he gave him credit for though. I really loved this character! He might be a thief but he was a gentleman too and he had his heart at the right place which is the most important thing. For Locke it never was about the money, it was all about the fun he had with his heists and brothers. You might say it was the scheming and plotting that made him happy. To create a plan and to actually execute it in the end. The money they gained from it was just secondary. Locke’s character arc was really intriguing because at the beginning it’s all about the heist and the fun, but the moment the Grey King appears everything changes and gets dark. Well, and after the Grey King took away the only thing he ever cared about his heart and mind are set on vengeance and vengeance alone. I’ve to admit that I loved that angry Locke too and the more I read about his complex character the more I loved him.

”If he was going to save them, he had to play the Grey King until the Capa was finished with him, and then he would pray for a quick and easy death. Let Locke Lamora just vanish one night; let his friends slip away to whatever better fate awaited them.”

”I will have the Grey King, and if all the powers of Camorr and Karthain and Hell itself oppose me, it will be nothing – nothing but a longer trail of corpses between me and your master.”

Jean Tannen:

”Hell yes,” cried Bug. “I knew there was a reason I let you lead this gang!”
“Well, I can’t argue with the manifest wisdom of the boy that jumps off temple roofs. But I trust my points are noted,” said Jean.
“Very noted,” said Locke. “Received, recognised, and duly considered with the utmost gravity. Sealed, notarised, and firmly imprinted upon my rational essence.”

I loved the bond between Jean and Locke! I don’t know how it happened that they got so close but it was obvious that they are like family to each other. After reading the entire book I have the feeling that I still don’t know Jean all too well but I’m pretty sure Scott Lynch had his reasons to keep his character vague. Maybe we’ll read more about him in the next book and I’d be totally fine with this. Alone the fact that he’s quite literally Locke’s “hatchet man” was enough to make me curious and I truly hope my curiosity will be sated in the next book. =)

”I don’t have to fight or run,” he crackled. “I changed the rules of the game. I just have to keep you here … asshole. Here … until … Jean gets back.”

The Sanza Twins:

”If you do end up in danger, Locke,” said Calo, “you must understand that we will ignore the orders of our garrista, and we’ll bludgeon our friend on the back of his thick skull and smuggle him out of Camorr in a box. I have just the bludgeon for the job.”
“And I have a box,” said Galdo. “Been hoping for an excuse to use it for years, really.”

Those two were so amazing! They grew on me so fast and then the ending happened and I was like NOOOOOOO!!! It’s so rare to read about twins in books and I really would have loved to see more of them. Unfortunately it seems like Scott Lynch had other plans and the funny Sanza twins had to disappear. T_T I loved that they would have done everything in order to save Locke and I know he loved them very much. =( I swear I cried real tears when he found them dead at the temple. It broke my heart… They would have deserved so much better than that. Locke was true to his word though, he really made them and Bug the biggest death offering Camorr ever saw and I love him even more for it! ❤

”And I had to get rid of the moustache in a hurry,” said Locke.
“And damned if he didn’t scream when Jean did the honours,” said Calo.
“Like a Sanza brother in an empty whorehouse!” Locke made a rude gesture at Calo; Calo mimed aiming and loosing a crossbow at him in return.

The Grey King:

”But you could have settled for simple theft,” said Locke. “I would have given it all to keep Calo and Galdo and Bug alive. I would have given it all, had you put it to me like that.”
“What thief does not fight to hold what he has?”
“One that has something better,” said Locke.

I really disliked the Grey King and the Bondsmage made my blood boil with anger! They were both such arrogant and self-righteous numpties! I swear when Locke decided to take them down I cheered for him and even though he had to pay a high price for his actions I still think it was worth it. Bug, Calo and Galdo were worth it. I think what shook me the most about the Grey King and his lackey was the simple fact that they just did it because they could. I mean Locke never did them any harm, yet they destroyed his entire life and killed the people he cared about. It was so senseless. The Bondsmage obviously enjoyed to have the power over other people and relished to torture on behalf of the Grey King, so I have absolutely no pity for him. Was it drastic what Locke and Jean did? Yes! Was it wrong? Yes, definitely. Did the Grey King and the Bondsmage deserve it? I’m inclined to say yes, because let’s face it if Locke and Jean wouldn’t have done what they did their lives would have been forfeit the moment the Bondsmage got rid of his shackles. I think they actually didn’t have any other choice if they wanted to survive. >_<

The Spider:

”I have always found the presumptions of others to be the best possible disguise – haven’t you?”

Ha! I knew who the spider was the moment she appeared! It was a clever disguise but not clever enough to fool me. XD I’m just glad that she believed Locke and listened to him and I think they made an interesting pair. What I loved the most about their interactions was their mutual respect though. They could appreciate the skill of each other even though they lived in totally different worlds and were enemies. It was nice to see that Locke’s opponent was as cunning and artful as he was and it gave the story a really nice touch. Whilst the Grey King was all brutality and cruel force in the end, the spider remained conniving and prudent and I really liked that about her.

4

This plane might have taken quite a while until it took off, but boy, did it take off in the end! The more I think about it the more I have to admit that this story was brilliantly executed and I can only take a bow and congratulate Scott Lynch for writing such a complex, detailed and elaborate book! =)