the Little Red Reviewer

Red Seas Under Red Skies read along, part 3

Posted on: May 12, 2012

artwork by Windfreak

We’ve finally go some nice weather, so that means it’s time to read a story about pirates, right? If this weather holds I’ll be chilling in my garden all weekend doing the (Totoro) happy dance for my sprouting seeds.

it’s the midpoint of our Red Seas Under Red Skies read along, and if you can believe the plot is even more complicated than before. More than one reader has mentioned the similarities between Red Seas and Lies. I can’t argue with much of that, but right about now is the point where this novel goes off on it’s own direction to do it’s own dastardly dance. and I am loving every minute of it.  This week’s questions were provided by Ashley who blogs over at SF Signal and tweets at @ohthatashley. Shout outs to my read along co-hosts  as well, Dark Cargo, Lynn’s Book Blog and My Awful Reviews!

1. Locke and Jean’s ability to find themselves at the center of a serious mess seems unparalleled. At this point, do you think that Stragos will get the return he expects on his investment in them?

2. Merrain’s activities after our boys leave Windward Rock are interesting. What do you think her plans are?

3. Does anyone know why having cats aboard the ship is so important?

4. The word “mutiny” creates a lot of mental pictures. Were you surprised? Why or why not?

5. Ah, the Poison Orchid. So many surprises there, not the least of which were the captain’s children. Did you find the young children a natural part of the story?

6. Jean is developing more and more as a character as we get further in to the book. Ezri makes the comment to him that “Out here, the past is a currency, Jerome. Sometimes it’s the only one we have.” I think several interesting possibilities are coming into play regarding Jean and Ezri. What about you?

7. As we close down this week’s reading, the Thorn of Camorr is back! I love it, even with all the conflict.  Several things from their Camorri background have come back up. Do you think we will see more Camorri characters?

Let’s go visit all the other interesting conversations!

All I Am – a Redhead
Genkinahito’s Blog
Lynn’s Book Blog
Paperless Reading
Kaitharshayr’s Musings
Akki’s Arcanum
The Sleepless Reader
Dark Cargo
I want Life In Every Word
Scruffy Fiction
Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers
Books Without Any Pictures
Tethyan Books
Real Books 4 Ever
My Awful Reviews
Beware of the Froggies
Central Neural Pathway Station

NEW!
Nashville Book Worm

1. Locke and Jean’s ability to find themselves at the center of a serious mess seems unparalleled. At this point, do you think that Stragos will get the return he expects on his investment in them?

Stragos thinks he will. I’m sure the boys will come up with some kind of plan that pretty much screws the Archon. or at least I hope they do!

2. Merrain’s activities after our boys leave Windward Rock are interesting. What do you think her plans are?

ooohh, I totally forgot about that from last time I read this!  Who the hell is she working for??? My money is on that she words for the Bondsmagi. I can’t imagine that Stragos sent her to Windward Rock to do that, so when he finds out the guards are dead, I think we know which two Camorri he’s going to be blaming.

3. Does anyone know why having cats aboard the ship is so important?

In real life it would be a great way to take care of the rats, but I suspect the poor cats would be so damn seasick they wouldn’t be able to stomach a rat. I think in Lynch’s world it’s just a wry way of adding in an interesting local custom that you must never, ever, break. and kitties are just so adorable!!

4. The word “mutiny” creates a lot of mental pictures. Were you surprised? Why or why not?

Well, I didn’t think Locke could keep up the Captain act for very long, especially not with the loss of Caldris.  So I guess I wasn’t surprised by the Mutiny, but what funny luck is that, that the mutineers get picked off by pirates that afternoon? and at least it was a bloodless mutiny, which was nice.  what is it Locke says, something about how they just missed the very pirates they were out there trying to shake hands with?

also, the naked dancing.  that was fucking brilliant!

5. Ah, the Poison Orchid. So many surprises there, not the least of which were the captain’s children. Did you find the young children a natural part of the story?

they were a happy surprise.  Zamira Drakasha has figured out how to have it all: a rewarding career and a healthy work/life balance with her family.  Of course her children would be traveling with her, how else are they going to learn the family trade!  Although i’m a little worried about that little boy of hers, he seems awfully quiet.  Interesting dynamic on any kind of ship where there are children involved: watch your language around them, and protect them with your life, and I’ve got to wonder what it was like to be a pregnant pirate captain. Those kids are definitely going to be raised by a village, that’s for sure.  It would be really neat to meet up with them again later in their lives.

I LOVE that first scene in her cabin where she has her daughter on her lap and they are playing a word / counting game. How perfectly realistic that was!  the only thing better than awesome lady characters is lady characters who act like real women raising real children. women who kick ass is lovely and all, but women who act like real actual women is better.

Back in January of this year, I went to a sci fi con (many of you remember me refusing to shut up about it, in fact), and Lynch had some very interesting things to say about his experience writing strong female characters in Red Seas.  one of the things he said was that fantasy was all about wish fulfillment. We all enjoy seeing ourselves in fantasical characters who do amazing things, even if that person is a different gender or doesn’t look anything like us.  so why shouldn’t a middle aged black lady be able to open a fantasy novel and see herself?  He also said that he got some pretty nastily written e-mails from fans who didn’t like to see so many women in men’s roles.
6. Jean is developing more and more as a character as we get further in to the book. Ezri makes the comment to him that “Out here, the past is a currency, Jerome. Sometimes it’s the only one we have.” I think several interesting possibilities are coming into play regarding Jean and Ezri. What about you?

le sigh.  I’m really coming to love Jean.  fangirl moment: in the first book, Locke was totally my book boyfriend. Jean was just a brawler who knew out to do sums. But now? get out of the way Locke, I need to spend some quality time with your taller friend.  Reminds me a little of a fellow I knew in high school. He was a brawler and completely not my type.  We had a short lived but intensely hot fling. he was a surprisingly good kisser. Wait, what was that about finding some level of wish fulfillment in fantasy?

that phrase “the past is a currency”, I just love that phrase. Something i’d seriously consider having tattooed on my body. and I’m not into tattoos.

Also, Ezri rocks. go short people!!
7. As we close down this week’s reading, the Thorn of Camorr is back! I love it, even with all the conflict.  Several things from their Camorri background have come back up. Do you think we will see more Camorri characters?

out on the open seas, anything is possible! What great’s about Lynch’s world building is that every region has it’s own culture, it’s own style of dress, it’s own traditional foods.  Sort of what they attempted to do in Game of Thrones on HBO, with characters suddenly having different hairstyles and wearing different color clothing and types of clothing depending on their location. . .  except Lynch does this better.  I feel like I’d know a Camorri or a Vadran just by their choice of clothing, food choices, and verbal mannerisms.

that didn’t really answer the question, did it? I think the Camorri I’d most like to meet would be anyone who might recognize Locke from one of his previous “jobs”!

34 Responses to "Red Seas Under Red Skies read along, part 3"

[…] three of the Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong hosted by the Little Red Reviewer is upon us and the readers have seen Locke and Jean finally take to the water with their pirate […]

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I seem to be coming firmly into the Jean camp.🙂 Somehow, in my mind, they are always Jean and Locke, not the other way around.

P.S. No checkboxes are under my comment frame.🙂

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I’m curious if my crush will switch again in books 3? and YAY, I got rid of those annoying checkboxes!

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[…] readalong of Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies.  This readalong is being hosted by the Little Red Reviewer and this week’s questions were provided by Ashley at SF Signal and on twitter at […]

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My biggest surprise this week was the loss of Caldris. Can’t believe he went into a cardiac arrest due to a few missing cats.

I’m starting to like the crew of the Poison Ivy. It seems like they are a strong family, not too much unlike how the GBs once were. But knowing Lynch, I bet something is going to happen to disrupt their lives.

http://www.paperlessreading.com/2012/05/red-seas-under-red-skies-read-along_12.html

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I was expecting someone that I like to be offed in this section. I really liked Caldris, so that didn’t surprise me.

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Here are my answers http://kaitharshayr.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/red-seas-under-red-skies-read-along-wk3/

I have to agree with you about Jean, you mentioned book boyfriends last week and I think for me it would always be Jean.🙂 Locke’s a bit of a whirlwind at times.

And yes the first scene with Zamaria and her daughter was great, showing that she isn’t just another blood thirsty ruthless pirate. She wants to make sure her kids learn and don’t just run amok about the ship.

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“Reminds me a little of a fellow I knew in high school. He was a brawler and completely not my type…” spits out coffee WHOA. Reads the rest Okay…

I have no problem with Drakasha as a character but taking her kids to sea seems a bit dangerous to me – I’d call social services if I were Locke. And telephones were available on the Sea of Brass.

As for cats on the high seas… The fact that they catch vermin makes total sense. I loved the intensity and hilarity of the lines Caldris comes up with when he realises there are no cats on board the ship…

If we see another sail on tat horizon, in any direction, we must give chase. We must bring a fight. You know why? Se we can take some of their bloody cats. Before it’s too late.

Merrain sounds like she’s working for the Bondsmagi but she might be working for Selendri and Requin.

http://genkinahito.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/red-seas-under-red-skies-readalong-week-3/

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…can you imagine those poor bastards grappling their prey, leaping over the rails, swords in hand, screaming, “Your cats! Give us all your gods-damned cats!”

That line made me laugh out loud!

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Me too!😀

Why can’t I get an image of Captain Jack Sparrow out of my head . . .

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I don’t remember the guy’s name, but that really did happen when I was a teenager. Hadn’t thought about it in years, and the adorable Jean/Ezri romance got me thinking about it.

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I was just worried that this thread was heading into some steamy territory. In any case the book got there in the end.

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This week’s reading was the best so far. I loved it. The final scene with Locke charging against the Redeemers was so brilliant – and laughing as well. And, of course, everybody now thinks he’s some sort of kickass bad guy. I could picture it all. Don’t you think that these books would translate into such great cinema with the witty dialogue and the action.
Lynn😀
http://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/red-seas-under-red-skies-by-scott-lynch-readalong-week-3/

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Yep, another Capt. Jack moment: and now he’s a daredevil hero in the eyes of the crew!😀

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I wonder what sort of guy would have convinced someone like Zamira Drakasha to have kids with him. Maybe we will see a flashback for her too as well.

http://blog.akki.me/2012/05/12/red-seas-under-red-skies-read-along-week-three/

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Oh, I imagine he was just following orders . . . ;D

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lol! I can see it going something like this:
Zamira: You there! off with the pants! now!
random pirate: Yes Captain!

I think she wanted to have children, I don’t think she was convinced by anyone else to become a babymama.

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I’m surprised Lynch was getting hate mail for having women in male-traditional roles. Check the book spine folks – ‘Fantasy’.

I think tattoos would suit you.

I bet Cpt. Drakasha was an even tougher leader and task-master pregnant. ‘Dammit, man! I said raid a ship that has pickles!’

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Yeah, why are these ‘male’ roles??? There were some fairly famous cases of lady pirates in the Caribbean, so why not here? Sometimes I wonder why people even try to read Fantasy . . .

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‘Dammit, man! I said raid a ship that has pickles!’

omg, *snort* that was brilliant!

maybe the first book was such a “boy book” that male readers were expecting more boy adventure stuff? who knows, people are crazy.

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Lots of fun this week. The pace seems to have picked up even more. Great so see more strong female characters introduced. Feels like we have a good balance of characters now.

http://www.scruffyfiction.co.uk/2012/05/12/red-seas-under-red-skies-read-along-week-three/

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Oh god, the naked dancing… I was laughing out loud in the work cafeteria while reading that at lunch and hoping people wouldn’t start giving me weird looks.

I love the way that Lynch treats women in fantasy because he just throws them into normal roles like they were any other character without seeming to give a thought about gender at all. That’s how it should be.

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Who isn’t going to laugh at the naked dancing scene? That Ezri is my type of gal!😀

I find Mr Lynch’s world much more ‘equal opportunity’ than ours: he seems to have women in all walks of life, and they are ‘real’ women, not just men in drag.

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“That’s how it should be.”

yup, that is EXACTLY how it should be. not “look there’s a woman who is a pirate!”, but “shit! pirates!!”

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Ta da:

http://coffeecookiesandchilipeppers.blogspot.com/2012/05/read-along-of-red-seas-under-red-skies_12.html

Now off to shop and mow the lawn before I can catch up on everyone else’s answers . . .

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Lynch seriously got hate mail for writing women in ‘men’s roles’? That makes me so angry for so many reasons, but I’m going to stop there because I want to stay in a good mood today.

Anyway, I was impressed with how completely Locke failed at his pirate captain impersonation. His humiliation was so painful to read. I can’t believe he forgot the cats! I spent some time worrying about who would care for the cats that had been left behind, then I had to remind myself that there was no reason to worry over the welfare of fictional cats…

Jean is really growing as a character in this book! I’m kind of with you– he’s really more likable than Locke right now, especially since Locke threw his little tantrum about Jean and Ezri.

http://tethyanbooks.blogspot.fr/2012/05/read-along-red-seas-under-red-skies_12.html

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I also had angst over the abandoned kitties, so i am glad to learn that I am not the only one . . . and how could Locke have forgotten them? Bad Locke!

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My answers are here: http://realbooks4ever.tumblr.com/post/22909369710

I love that men and women are equal in this story. Both can be anything they want to be.

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Love your answers, yay short people, yay strong women that behaves normally and CAN do men’s jobs, yay kitties! I think we’re going to have some trouble here because Jean seems to have become everyone’s boyfriend, and I know one lady (who is not to be messed with) that will not agree on that😉

Here’s my answers: http://bewareofthefroggies.blogspot.com/2012/05/red-seas-under-red-skies-read-along_13.html

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Considering how Stragos emphatically did not want the guards on Windward Rock dead, Merrain definitely isn’t working for him – and I’d put money on her working for the Bondsmagi. Despite their interest in the well-being (pun intended) of Locke and Jean, they’ve been curiously absent from the picture so far…

(Alright, uh, this part of your post stuck out in a bad way until I read the comments and figured you didn’t mean it the way it comes off on the first reading. I’m trying to be as precise and non-offensive as I can but let me know if I failed somewhere.)

“Zamira Drakasha has figured out how to have it all: a rewarding career and a healthy work/life balance with her family. — the only thing better than awesome lady characters is lady characters who act like real women raising real children. women who kick ass is lovely and all, but women who act like real actual women is better.”

I agree with your first statement about how Drakasha has managed to arrange her life the way she wishes. It reminded me of the comment I made about Otherness in your post on Fool’s War by Zettel, probably because I was glad that Lynch lets Drakasha’s femaleness be part of her without bringing it into the focus. Somehow he manages this even when he includes her children in the story, which I thought was a feat worth applause.

Still, I find it a bit troublesome that you imply that women who “act like real actual women” are better than women who “kick ass”. I also initially got the implication that women who have children are more real than women who kick ass. But there’s real women who kick ass and don’t have children (Amelia Earhart being one example), like there’s loads of real women who kick ass while raising children. Plenty of women who can’t have, or merely don’t want to have children, too, and just as “real” as the rest of them.

(“Real women” as a concept is difficult enough; I personally thinks it’s about as real and definable as “standard English” which is one elusive bastard.)

It’s partly about the problem of writing strong female characters, I think; the focus is often on ‘female’ instead of ‘character’. Any character, when they are well-written, is a strong character, and I don’t think their gender has much to do with their relative “strength”. A strong female character could be a nun, or a mother, or a stereotypical dumb blonde – indeed, any stereotypical female, so long as they were well-written. Lady Sybil from Terry Pratchett’s books comes to mind. She is a woman, a wife, a mother, and a lady, and yet a very strong and solid character.

“He also said that he got some pretty nastily written e-mails from fans who didn’t like to see so many women in men’s roles.”

Sort of a continuation from above, but this is precisely the sort of thing that makes me want to beat my head on the wall. Do these people stop to think why it makes them uncomfortable to see women in “men’s roles”? Is it because people see women in piracy and worry about their safety since women are the so-called weaker sex?

Ezri would beg to differ, I reckon.

As I said, I read through the comments and figured that it’s more likely you meant that a woman written realistically as a pirate who has children and raises them aboard her ship is better than the stereotypical kick-ass women often seen in novels. In any case, food for thought (that got a bit long, sorry about that).

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it’s something that sucks about written communication – when I say things out loud to people I know, they know how I mean the words, thru my intonation, body language, and just because they know my personality. . . but when I type those same exact words and hit “publish”, they can be interpreted in like 100 different ways, many of which could be seen as offensive.

long story short, I gotta get better at seeing when something could be misinterpreted, and then write it clearer. because yes:

“it’s more likely you meant that a woman written realistically as a pirate who has children and raises them aboard her ship is better than the stereotypical kick-ass women often seen in novels. “

is what I meant.

You’d think, that as a woman, I’d love to see any woman character in a book, right? but it’s way, way more complicated than that, to the point where I don’t even know how to articulate how I feel about it. I didn’t mean to insinuate that I was judging that having kids is more womanly than kicking ass or being an awesome assassin. it’s just a different kind of female activity, and I guess I was really happy to see a middle aged woman doing various female activities other than. So often you see the stereotypical Kate Beckinsale type kick ass woman – hot and skinny, young, no kids, super strong, is good at everything, doesn’t have to watch her diet – basically someone I don’t feel like I could relate to. Zamira seems closer to someone I can relate to, and someone I would want to get to know in real life than plenty of the kick ass women I’ve read who more strike me as kinda scary people that I can’t relate to, and wouldn’t want to hang out with in real life. again, nothing against skinny hot ladies, but it’s so very nice to have a character who seems more natural and normal, and an author who more focused on the character’s personality rather than their physical attributes.

I just gave up on a vintage SF where I swear the author had never even spoke to a woman, and the descriptions about the few female characters (who exist only to be seduced by the men, of course) focused only their sexy bodies and sexy clothing, so that could be affecting my opinions too. Who needs a personality when you have tits up to your chin, right? gggrrrrrr!!!!!

and regarding the people who sent Lynch nasty e-mails, I certainly don’t know the details of those e-mails, it was an off the cuff comment that he made, and he too seemed shocked by their narrow mindedness.

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Thanks for clarifying!🙂 And I agree about the difficulty of written communication, especially between strangers since they can’t take any cues from your body language. It takes me ages to write comments because I try to figure out if I’m clear enough about my meaning.

“You’d think, that as a woman, I’d love to see any woman character in a book, right? but it’s way, way more complicated than that, to the point where I don’t even know how to articulate how I feel about it.”

Personally, I’d rather see fewer female characters if they were well-written, than tons of sexy and slim women who are there only to be seduced/saved/etc. Your point about being able to relate to Zamira better is good, too; I often read books where I might want to be someone like the main female character, as a pure fantasy, but it’s much rarer to run into an MFC I’d like to be friends with.

“an author who more focused on the character’s personality rather than their physical attributes.”

It’s worrisome that some female authors seem to only write female characters who are thin – as characters, not only physically – “Kate Beckinsale” heroes (now that was an excellent example) and whose lives, aside from ass-kicking, revolve around their wardrobe and men. Is that really the kind of a woman people aspire to be like? Strong and independent except her main objective in life is to be thin, be pretty, and find a boyfriend. Brr, I say!

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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