Friday, May 25, 2012

Red Seas Under Red Skies Read along week 5

All good things must come to an end, and so it is with the Little Red Reviewers read along of Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards series. There are seven books planned, but as yet only the first two have been published, so this will be the last set of questions. The final set of questions are from Lynn of Lynn's Book Blog. If you haven't finished the book I recommend doing so before reading as there will be spoilers.

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?

No, it blew me away. I didn't see that coming. I don't know what I thought would happen, after all it's a Lynch book so it can't possibly end happily, that's just crazy talk, that is, but I kind of hoped it would. Jean is tougher and harder than Locke in a lot of ways and I'm more confident that he'll recover and move on more than I would be if positions had been reversed.

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 don't know that they really need a strong motive. They're pirates. Killing and deceiving is a way of life. It would probably be more surprising if there hadn't been another double cross.

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??

Merrain is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. I have no more idea about her now than I did at the start of the book. I think (hope) she'll pop up again in another book and we'll find out more about her and what she is, who she's working for, if anyone. I said all along she's running her own game, it's just what it is that we don't know.

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 don't know that both the GB's really think they're the smartest guys in the room. Locke definitely does, but Jean is slightly more modest and level headed. To answer the question, no Locke is not as smart as he thinks he is, no one could be.

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?

They're a bit of a double act. They read better together than solo. I liked and loathed each of them for different reasons and in about the same measure. If pushed I tended to prefer Selendri, she was original. Requin was too much like Barsavi for mine. If asked who I liked most in the entire book it's Zamira, her I really loved. If she had died instead of Ezri I would have been devastated. I really hope Locke and Jean run across her again in the cycle.

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??

For me it's always Lies. I love Lies, it's one of my favourite books ever. Why? It's just so totally cool. It's all so fresh and new, and it has that amazing setting of Camorr. Red Seas is a good book, head and shoulders above a lot of what comes out, but it's rather fragmented. There's just a bit too much going on. It's almost like it's two separate books or stories jammed into one and they don't quite hang together as well as they could.
Am I going to pick up Republic of Thieves? Is the sky blue, is grass green? Of course I'm going to pick up Republic of Thieves! I've been waiting for Republic of Thieves ever since I first finished Red Seas Under Red Skies. If you go to Scott Lynch's website, there's a couple of goodies there, at least I think they're still there. One is the prologue to Republic of Thieves, where you get to meet a certain young lady for the very first time. There was the opening chapter to the book floating around for a while. I read it at the old Gentleman Bastards fansite:, but I'm not sure if the site is still active. A search may uncover the chapter. It's a beauty so if you get the opportunity to read it I recommend doing so. Fingers and toes crossed that we see Republic of Thieves sooner rather than later.


  1. I didn't see the end to the pirate battle coming either. I guessed that Lynch would kill off a main character before the end, but still. That is such a tough way to go. I think it would have been a kindness for Doc Tregane to release Ezri, instead of telling Jean to do it.

  2. I definitely think Merrain will turn up again - she's just too enticing and such a mystery - plus some things can go unexplained but I think we really need to find out what her story is.

    I haven't checked out any of the prologue of opening chapters to RoT - I must do so! perhaps it will give me a few more clues about certain things.

    Lynn :D

  3. I agree with you that RSURS was a little over-stuffed with plot, but we did see some really wonderful character development for Jean, so it was difficult to choose between the two books.

  4. Nrylmtrl, Lynch be kind to his characters? Never happen, I think he likes torturing them :).
    Lynn, you really should check out the bits of Republic that are around. They don't give you many clues, but they are fun to read, especially the prologue with 'little Locke'.
    Sue, I liked the character development, especially Jean's, but I think that could have been accomplished with a less over busy book as well.

  5. I haven't checked out the bits of RoT yet, but I almost don't want to. I know I'll get sucked into the story and then I'll be extremely frustrated until I can read the rest.

  6. That's a good policy, Grace. You may not have to wait too long, but I read RSURS the first time in 2008, so I was pretty desperate to see ANY GB work by the time Scott Lynch posted the RoT stuff.