the Little Red Reviewer

The Republic of Thieves read along, part TWO.

Posted on: November 4, 2013

Bad planning on my part folks, when I was chopping up the book for the read along, I did it by chapter headings in the e-book table of contents, not by actual page count. So this week was a doozy! On the bright side, we’re nearly half way through the book, so future sections will be shorter!

okay, let’s get to the discussion, this week’s excellent discussion questions were provided by Lisa of Over the Effing Rainbow, and I love that she did a question for each chapter!  My answers are after the jump. Be warned friends, I wrote a freakin’ thesis.  That Sabetha thing? yeah, apparently that hit a chord with me, just so ya know.

teh questions:

1.Blood And Breath And Water: Patience tells Locke that the ritual to save him is serious business. She wasn’t kidding… What did you make of this scene, and do you think any of it might (perhaps literally) come back to haunt Locke?

2. Orphan’s Moon: Back to the childhood of the Gentlemen Bastards, and here we get another ritual, this one in service to the Nameless Thirteenth. It looks as though it might be Locke vs. Sabetha, round two – but this time Locke seems to be a little slow on that uptake… Who do you think deserves to be given the final oath? Locke or Sabetha?

3.Across The Amathel: This chapter takes a breather for quite a bit of Eldren history, while Locke starts recovering. What do you think of the history lesson, and Patience’s ominous speculation regarding the Eldren? Is this something you’d like to know more about?

4. Striking Sparks: The gang’s off to Espara, after a bad summer and a pretty thorough dressing-down from Chains, and we finally get to the source of the book’s title – they’re bound for the stage! What are your thoughts on this latest ‘challenge’ and the reasons for it?

5. The Five-Year Game: Starting Position: The election gets underway with a party (as you do) and before it’s even over, the Deep Roots party has problems – and not just thanks to Sabetha. What do you make of Nikoros and his unfortunate habit?

6. Bastards Abroad: The gang arrives in Espara, and already they’ve got problems (nicely mirroring the Five Year Game!)… This aside, we’ve also seen some more of what seems to be eating at Sabetha. Do you sympathise with her, or is Locke right to be frustrated with her?

them is some awesome questions!

keep calm fucking awesome

Everyone else’s answers:

Over the Effing Rainbow

Dab of Darkness

Lynn’s Book Blog

Tethyan Books

Violin in a Void

Genkinahito’s Blog

Just Book Reading

Joma’s Fantasy Books

Theft and Sorcery

Many a True Nerd

All I am – A Redhead

mah answers:

1.Blood And Breath And Water: Patience tells Locke that the ritual to save him is serious business. She wasn’t kidding… What did you make of this scene, and do you think any of it might (perhaps literally) come back to haunt Locke?

Oh, I loved this scene! the lines painted (in specific patterns?) on his body, the dreamsteel that spikes all over the place, how the ritual exhausts the bondsmagi, and Locke’s vision of Bug, that part creeped the shit out of me. There’s a romanticism about lines on the body, almost like ley lines, of sorts. The dreamsteel scene followed by the Bug dream put me in the mind of a glorious bastard child of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Anakin Skywalker and the storytelling girl from Catherynne Valente’s Orphan’s Tales.

clone wars 2003

Will it come back to haunt Locke? Gods I hope so. Would that not make for some awesome tension, or what?

2. Orphan’s Moon: Back to the childhood of the Gentlemen Bastards, and here we get another ritual, this one in service to the Nameless Thirteenth. It looks as though it might be Locke vs. Sabetha, round two – but this time Locke seems to be a little slow on that uptake… Who do you think deserves to be given the final oath? Locke or Sabetha?

If Locke stood in front of a mirror long enough, he might notice two things. One, that he is completely dim witted about Sabetha; and two, that he never does anything on a small scale. The Gents need offerings for the ceremony. Does Locke simply pickpocket someone? Nope. He takes hours and hours making an elaborate cake, planning a scene, choosing a mark. He makes sure Jean is involved, so someone is around to tell the story afterwards.

He’s got Sabetha on such a pedestal that he doesn’t even notice how she doesn’t need her ego stroked, that she doesn’t brag about anything, that she doesn’t need a buddy or a sidekick who is waiting with baited breath to tell the story. Sabetha may not have a crazy adventure, but Wow does she get impressive results.

But who actually deserved the priesthood?  Is it cheating to say both of them? I think Chains chose Locke before that night, he’s seen the crafty genius in the boy. Sabetha may be just as deserving, but the things that Locke has already done! She may be just as talented, but he is louder about it.  Makes me feel a little sorry for Sabetha though. I bet she was really pissed off at Chains, and he deserved it. Most of us have read Red Seas Under Red Skies, and if you remember, there are a few scenes in that book that couldn’t have happened if Locke wasn’t a priest.

3.Across The Amathel: This chapter takes a breather for quite a bit of Eldren history, while Locke starts recovering. What do you think of the history lesson, and Patience’s ominous speculation regarding the Eldren? Is this something you’d like to know more about?

Arrggg, this is where Patience began grating on mine. A huge pet peeve of mine is the “may I ask you some questions?” conversation because they tend to be characters talking at each other rather than with each other.  I did enjoy (and we needed!) the history lesson, I just didn’t care for how it was presented.  Maybe a story-within-a-story would have been more effective? Something more akin to the flashback that Patience offers through a stab of dreamsteel to the eyes?  ehh, I dunno.  I’ll quit bitching, because yes, I do want to know more about the Eldren!

Lynch has dropped some rumors here and there that after this book, Locke and Jean find themselves involved in a massive civil war. I am suddenly wondering if said civil war involves the factions of the Bondsmagi, and the taunting of whatever scared the Eldren. that, would be fucking awesome.

4. Striking Sparks: The gang’s off to Espara, after a bad summer and a pretty thorough dressing-down from Chains, and we finally get to the source of the book’s title – they’re bound for the stage! What are your thoughts on this latest ‘challenge’ and the reasons for it?

And it all starts with Locke having a very particular dream.  Braggy bit – I heard Lynch read that exact scene at a convention, it was just great. He’s an excellent reader, and people were howling with laughter.

I’m surprised Calo doesn’t get stuck with sweeping under the horse cart every night, since it was his early morning shouting that woke up everyone else in the glass  burrow and led to Chains being even more pissed off.

But put yourself in Chains’s position.  Most normal families have children  who are a few years apart. Often there is only one kid at a time going through awkward years. All five of Chains’ adopted kids are within a few years of each other, they are all going through those awful teenage years all at the same time. No surprise he’s pulling his hair out. And this will be good for them. Like Chains says, it’s time to see if they can all work together as one big team, pull something off, not get killed or arrested. Chains isn’t young anymore, and neither are the Bastards. It’s time they proved how much they’ve matured. It’s time they proved they can function without their “dad” around the help and guide them.

5. The Five-Year Game: Starting Position: The election gets underway with a party (as you do) and before it’s even over, the Deep Roots party has problems – and not just thanks to Sabetha. What do you make of Nikoros and his unfortunate habit?

woohoo, party!  I know it happened a few scenes ago, but I love the lady tailors. I think Jean could easily fall in love with one of them, or all of them. They are so nonchalant about the Wicked Sisters, they’ve even got multiple rig designs!

Locke is absolutely in his element, making plans and picking fights, getting the obvious over and done with. This is what he lives for, and it’s doing more for his health than any dogleech could have hoped for. Until now, Jean has been carrying many of the scenes, mostly because Locke is half dead, so I wonder if Jean is relieved that he can take a step back and be the bruiser?

And then there is Sabetha’s little trick.  That’s so her. To do something simple and oh so painfully effective.

6. Bastards Abroad: The gang arrives in Espara, and already they’ve got problems (nicely mirroring the Five Year Game!)… This aside, we’ve also seen some more of what seems to be eating at Sabetha. Do you sympathise with her, or is Locke right to be frustrated with her?

I sympathise with Sabetha, absolutely. Even though at the same time, I’m cheering on Locke. I could write an entire blog post, nay, a thesis on this.

A quick aside – I love how the Espara storyline mirrors the Five Year Game. The Bastards are brought in from far away to save a situation they know nothing about. Everyone is working under aliases. They are outside of their comfort zone, with little time to plan or work something out. There are surprises around every corner and they don’t know who they can trust.

Sabetha is on the quiet side, but she ain’t stupid. She sees Locke as the little boy who replaced her. If it wasn’t for him, she’d be the one leading the Gentleman Bastards. if it wasn’t for him, the first book in this series would be called the The Sins of Sabetha Belacoros (doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it?), or some such. And now, the strange little boy who took her place has put her on a pedestal so high that he can barely hear what she’s saying.

It’s not that she’s not attracted to him (wow, was that enough double negatives for you?). And it would be so easy to indulge him, so easy to get into a relationship with the man who adores her. What woman doesn’t dream of that exact situation? Sounds like a perfect corset busting regency romance plot line, actually.

But if she indulges him, if she takes the easy route, she will effectively disappear in his shadow.  She’s seen how the other GB’s take her suggestions as suggestions, and Locke’s suggestions as holy orders, how the Sanza boys immediately latch onto an alias for Locke but pay hardly any attention to her chosen alias. She knows if she got into a relationship with him, the price would be her potential and her ambition. She’d give up herself, her agency, to be with him.

heartbreak038

And because Locke is the hero of the story, he is completely blind to her feelings.  He can’t escape the requirements of the character that’s been written for him. Every step he takes towards being the leader of the Gentleman Bastards is a step away from Sabetha, and he just doesn’t get it.   Even more than he can’t take her off a pedestal, we, the readers and the fans, can’t take him off a pedestal. His pain, his destruction, is entertainment for us. ugg, we’re sick fuckers!

It’s extra fun, in a meta sort of way.  Fans like us, we are indulging Locke. we are stroking his ego by singing his praises.  We’re cheering on his “everyone! look at me!” behavior, we’re clamoring for his next adventure, we want to be that buddy who gets to tell the story, we quote him to other people for godssakes!!  In a way, we’ve already told Locke that anything he did to be the leader of the Gentleman Bastards was worth it, it never even dawned on us to ask what it would cost him.  As my mother used to say, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”.

Give us incredible characters, do horrible things to them, and then make your readers feel partly responsible. Well played Lynch, well played.

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39 Responses to "The Republic of Thieves read along, part TWO."

“A quick aside – I love how the Espara storyline mirrors the Five Year Game…”

Yes! It’s exactly the kind of neat little storytelling trick I adore, when it’s done right. And Lynch does it just right, in my view. :D

PS. So how many times did you stop to rest your fingers here? XD

Seriously, MOAR DISCUSSION. I love it.

i actually cut out a few paragraphs. there was SO MUCH typing happening, you’d have thought I was NaNoWriMo-ing!

Mr Lynch is a seriously excellent writer and I love little tricks like this because they make me feel smart for noticing them! :D

Orphan’s Moon: Locke certainly is a more theatrical thief, and more entertaining for everyone. I’m not sure if Chains made the right choice here (although, in narrative terms, he can only make one choice because Locke is a priest in books 1&2) and I don’t think it was entirely objective, but Sabetha’s excessive ambition isn’t ideal for the priesthood either.

Across the Amathel: I was thinking of your warning about infodumping here!
Lynch has dropped some rumors here and there that after this book, Locke and Jean find themselves involved in a massive civil war. I am suddenly wondering if said civil war involves the factions of the Bondsmagi, and the taunting of whatever scared the Eldren. that, would be fucking awesome.”
I’ve heard about this too – very intriguing. I can imagine reading later books in the series and thinking how far it’s come from that Austershalin brandy scheme. They’ve already come quite far.

Striking Sparks: I like comparing this chapter to to book 1. You can see how they eventually formed that unbreakable bond that characterises the Bastards. Except for Sabetha :(

Bastards Abroad: Not much to say here, since we’re basically on the same page. And I’m so glad I’m not the only one inspired to write so much on the topic!

LOL, yeah I know, this suddenly makes their old schemes look pretty tiny! These guys were trained to be thieves, trained to take the nobles of Camorr for a ride, but is *this* really what they signed up for??

I totally want to reread book one now!

[…] Ha, the second week of the Republic of Thieves Read-Along and the questions come from Over the Effing Rainbow! Week one got off to a great start with lots of interesting responses and the book is still exciting to read in week two so there will be more interesting responses, I’m sure. Check them all out at Little Red Reviewer’s blog. […]

Civil war? Sounds like the Seven Marrows. Sabetha did mention that just before she left the region was a powder-keg with the aristocracy jockeying for position and readying their steel.

The Bug sequence during the ritual was creepy. I wasn’t sure how to interpret it other than Bondsmagi meddling with Locke’s memories… If it isn’t those guys then the implications are scarier.

I think Locke’s scheme and offering for the Orphan’s Moon, although needlessly elaborate, struck me as a fun caper and an indication of how big his skill is. The seriousness that Sabetha brings to her actions is admirable but somehow doesn’t feel in the spirit of the GB’s who should be showy. Again, I think Locke is meant for great things and fate/people more aware of his background are backing him.

I agree with your notions about Sabetha feeling affronted over the rise of Locke. She has a strong personality and I sympathise with her feeling she is being left out. It’s tough and an interesting way to address gender dynamics in fantasy novels where the hero (and it’s usually a guy) always gets the girl and she plays second-fiddle. I’ll hold off on saying more for now…

aware of the lack of men in this read-along and runs for cover

I don’t think the Bondsmagi had anything to do with the Bug vision, which yeah, is just like you say “implications are scarier”! The gods? the eldren? something different?

I totally get what you’re saying, that Sabetha’s style doesn’t match with the other GB’s. Their vault is full of disguises, wigs, make-up, props, I just don’t see her going for much of that, where the other guys depend on it. When Chains adopted her, he couldn’t have know she might not fit in, right?

I feel bad for you, our first read along seemed a good split of guys and girls, and this time around it’s mostly girls. If Sabetha can handle being the only girl in the room, surely most guys can handle being one of the few men in the room. ;)

Each of the GB’s has a vital part to play, each brings different skills. Hopefully Sabetha reunites with Locke and Jean but it’s hard to tell at this point.

Hey, being surrounded by so many women is a dream come true. Such a shame it’s behind computer screens ;_;

phew! I was afraid you were gonna run for the hills! you TOTALLY have a blog harem now. ;)

You’re very right about all of us reader but I can’t help it — I just love this stuff. Lynch is an amazing storyteller.

I think Jean could easily fall in love with the lady tailors, all of them even! The fact that they didn’t even flinch over the Wicked Sister makes me think he might already be in love. He said that he didn’t need clothes as fancy as Locke and I think that he’s just looking for a reason to go back and see the ladies.

i love this stuff too. I love it when authors do horrible things to characters and I go along for the ride. Makes it real easy to not get stressed out about petty frustrating stuff in real life, that’s for sure! Okay, so dayjob sucks? At least I didn’t get poisons and have to work for my enemies.

I love your idea about Jean! he has to go back a week later . . . “yeah, I thought four coats would be enough, turns out I need two more”. and then two weeks later “spilled wine on all my jackets, need more”. too adorable. :D

“Oh and I think my legs might have grown, you’ll need to check my inside leg measurement again . . .” :D

bwahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Firstly, yes, well mentioned with the lady tailors – I really enjoyed that scene for some reason.
I love the way Lynch has played this series so far – he does get more and more ambitious and I can’t imagine how this series is all going to play out other than it’s going to be elaborate – the sort of grand design that if he’d have started out that way we would all have just gone ‘pah’ unrealistic. Now, he could practically write anything and we all just sit with baited breath. He’s basically made frog soup, slowly brought us to the boil in a masterful way – if he hadn’t written this so well we would have jumped and he’d just be left with a pan of boiling water.
And, I completely see what you mean about Locke but isn’t his flamboyance just so endearing somehow – like the cake – I just think he gets a proper kick from working the ‘con’. Like picking pockets is too easy and impersonal. This way he gets to work a proper number and then have a chuckle about it afterwards.
Hahaha, fell off my chair reading Jason’s comment above ;) – no wonder he’s running for cover!
Yeah, we are sick. The thing is – Sabetha does like Locke – but I just don’t think she’ll let herself give way – that’s probably why she’s a little bit more difficult to like, it feels like she’s too able to keep her cool somehow – I mean, she likes him, and he clearly returns the feeling, albeit in a totally aggravating fashion, and yet she’s able to keep him at arms length. How the fuck does that work really! You’d just go with that feeling wouldn’t you. Okay, just probably totally shown myself up but there it is. Let’s say if I was in this story, and Jean worshipped me, then… well, never mind!
Lynn :D

I have never in my life so wanted to be a frog in a pot.
:D

Haha, you’re in a pot full of frogs right now – you’re just waiting for the croutons!
Lynn :D

“And it all starts with Locke having a very particular dream. Braggy bit – I heard Lynch read that exact scene at a convention, it was just great. He’s an excellent reader, and people were howling with laughter.”

Oh man, I wish I’d been there to hear that! That sounds awesome.

and this, my friends, is reason number eighty two of why attending Conventions is awesome. :D

And this is also number eighty three about why it’s so miserable missing the one that’s just been held a mere stone’s throw from your home!!! (well maybe not a stone’s throw but, you know! DAMN – all sold out though. Could have tried to gatecrash I suppose.

I didn’t know about it. >.<

Love your responses! Here are mine! http://jomafantasy.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/the-republic-of-thieves-read-along-part-ii/

I’m getting around to everyone’s blog as soon as I can.

and now Jason isn’t the only guy. you two don’t mind sharing the harem, right?

[…] know they cannot control his life, which may lead to some problems in the future! Read more at: The Little Red Reviewer Dab of Darkness Over the Effing Rainbow Tethyan Books Lynn’s Book Blog Tethyan Books Violin in a […]

Wish I had the patience (no pun intended) to wait it out to do the read along with you all. I kind of couldn’t stop and finished the book pretty quickly. The downside is, I don’t want to really talk about anything since I’m not exactly sure where you are and don’t want to confuse any later events for now and inadvertently add spoilers. Fun book.

we’re not even to the meaty spoilers yet. but give us a few weeks, these posts will be full of brick shitting. epically fun book! :D

#TeamLocke

Yep! Hold on to your seats, for I was on the edge of mine by the end. There was very much “!!!” going on. Can’t wait for the next round! :D

I look forward to the shitting of the bricks . . . :D

[…] more at: Dab of Darkness Over the Effing Rainbow Tethyan Books Little Red Reviewer Lynn’s Book Blog Genkinahito’s Blog Just Book Reading Joma’s Fantasy Books Theft and […]

My responses are here: http://manyatruenerd.com/2013/11/05/the-republic-of-thieves-read-along-part-2/

I love your answers re Sabetha, a lot more nuanced then what I got out of it. I think you’re so right, Locke does cast such a big shadow when he’s working the con and it would be so easy to get lost in that. And the thing is he doesn’t even have to try that hard. It made me think of athletes, how some train and train and train and some just have masses of natural talent and while they do train it just that bit easier for them. And it makes sense that Sabetha wants to be her own person.

I loved the bit with the tailors as well, they seem kinda crazy but fun. :)

there’s a chance i’m completely over thinking the whole Sabetha thing.

Hmm, I wonder if Locke is blind to how Sabetha feels about the whole situation for one really simple reason – he is a guy. ;)

hahahahahahah! Perhaps it’s not polite to find that comment too funny (but even so roflmao)

Not just that, he’s a sixteen-year-old guy. ;)

Definitely creepy, the vision of Bug. I’m leaning towards it being real, but it could well be Bondsmagi trickiness.

The Sabetha/Locke situation sure has inspired a lot of discussion, and I enjoyed your ‘thesis’ :D. I would agree that Sabetha is a much quieter person than Locke, but I think that she does want recognition. I think that is probably part of her frustration around Locke– everything he does is so noticeable that she would have to shout him down to get some of the spotlight, and that’s really not her style. I agree that she could easily vanish in his shadow at this point, if they became an item. That would be so horrible, if the GB became “The Gentleman Bastards: Chains, Calo, Galdo, Jean, and Locke. Oh, and also, Locke’s girl.”

A massive civil war? Okay, now I can’t wait for the next book, and I haven’t even finished this one yet! I wonder if they’re playing soldiers next, perhaps, or politicians? Or maybe Jean can be the soldier and Locke can be the politician.

That was amazing how completely in-stride the tailors took Jean’s weapons. They were more concerned about the tailorly problem of how to store them!

There are so many of us for this read along I have to spread the fun out throughout the week :).

I hadn’t really thought about how Locke is loud about his cleverness while Sabetha just simply does it – no need to stroke her ego, no sidekick, no loud replays over dinner about her escapades. I could see how she would be frustrated that she did not get the priestly position.

Yes, you nailed it on the head. All of Chains’ ‘kids’ are going through the awkward years, all together. It must be insufferable to be stuck in a glass burrow with them all summer. No wonder he kicked them out for a few months. I wonder if he will change the locks?

The tailor ladies were great! They were so professional and personal (think inseam measurements) at the same time. I loved how they had no problem making Wicked Sister hidey holes in Jean’s clothing.

1. The only thing that confused me about the dream steel lines was that they didn’t go below the waist . . . not that I wanted to see Locke’s bits described in glorious technicolor, but I expected the poison to have spread everywhere! :D

2. I hadn’t thought of it quite like that, but you are so right: Locke is such an attention seeking drama queen!

4, Just the Sanzas alone would be enough for most people, so to have Locke pining for Sabetha in the most pathetic way as well would be simply too much. It seems like Jean is the only rational one amongst them . . .

6. I agree with you in that I respect Sabetha for not simply let Locke get what he this he wants. However, I also respect her decision to not use his obsession for her own benefit or amusement like some girls would. She could shave him wrapped around her little finger, but chooses not to go that route.

I agree with us being complicit with Locke. It puts in mind of Dexter Morgan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dexter_Morgan) who is a serial killer but also the hero: we can be intellectually disgusted by what he does but we are pulled into loving him and cheering him on no matter what he does. Bizarre!

Chains has the patience of a saint. I have three siblings, and although I love them dearly, there’s a limit on how much time I can spend with them before I completely lose my mind (generally, about four hours). Having all of the Bastards under one roof is insane. I can understand how he’d need a vacation, and sending them off on their own for a while may help them grow up a bit.

[…] Below are some links to what others think: Dab of Darkness  Violin In A Void Tethyan Books Little Red Reviewer All I Am – A […]

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