the Little Red Reviewer

The Republic of Thieves read along, part 1

Posted on: October 28, 2013

Hello and welcome to all the Right Sort of People, and welcome to part 1 of our read along of The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch.   This week’s discussion questions were provided by Susan of Dab of Darkness, and cover the beginning of the book up the Intersect that is right before Chapter 3. I’ve put my answers below the cut.

Click HERE for the reading schedule and links to all the blogger co-hosts

Click HERE to find an indie bookstore near you who will sell you the book.

Click HERE to buy the audio.

Just joining us and want to get in on all the bastardy action? no prob!  Start reading and leave a comment down below so I can add you to our soooper secret mailing list. Discussion questions go out on Saturdays, posts go up on Mondays. for the next five weeks or so, I guarantee Mondays won’t suck.

Like last year, leave a link to your post in the comments, and us co-hosts will update our posts as fast as we can to turn this into an epic Gentleman Bastards blog hop.

Ready? GO!

Links to the other Read Alongers:

Over The Effing Rainbow

Dab of Darkness

Lynn’s Book Blog

Tethyan Books

Just Book Reading

Genkinahito’s Blog

Book Den

Theft and Sorcery

Many A True Nerd

Joma’s Fantasy Books

All I Am – A Redhead

Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers

Rose’s Thingamajig

Books Without Any Pictures

and NEW!  Violin in a Void

This weeks discussion questions:

1) We get to reminisce with several old friends in this section – Calo, Galdo, Chains. How did you like this? Bitter sweet or happy dance?

2) Finally, the infamous Sabetha makes a physical appearance, albeit in Locke’s reminisces. What are your impressions? How do you think the romance, if there is to be one, will play out?

3) After trying absolutely everything to save Locke, Jean still won’t give up. What did you think of that little pep talk he gave Locke concerning Patience’s offer of healing?

4) Locke has a few caveats to working for the Bondsmage. Wise or just Locke grasping for some control over his life? What would you ask Patience?

5) At the end of this section, we see that all is not as Patience laid it out. How much do you think Patience knows of the plot to off Locke and Jean? Do you see it interfering in the rigged election?

answers and discussion after the cut!

1) We get to reminisce with several old friends in this section – Calo, Galdo, Chains. How did you like this? Bitter sweet or happy dance?

Major happy dance. Especially for the Sanza twins.  I was laughing out loud at the scene where Calo is singing dirty tavern songs and Galdo knows the next verse, and Chains is like “where the hell did you learn that?!”, like the first time your Dad hears you say a swear word!  Chains too, it was wonderful to see him again. In the first book, we get a few conversations with him, but don’t really get to know him, and now I feel like we’re starting to see a more fatherly side of him. I think he knows that Locke is pretty reckless, and at first he just wants to keep this kid alive!  He keeps trying to educate Locke, and it never works very well. All those things he says to Locke, about winning, about girls, about life, in about ten (okay 20) years, Locke is going to wish he’d paid more attention. Chains is an interesting father figure for any character to have.

2) Finally, the infamous Sabetha makes a physical appearance, albeit in Locke’s reminisces. What are your impressions? How do you think the romance, if there is to be one, will play out?

Oh poor Locke, this is some major puppy love! It’s too funny how he’s head over heels for her, and she barely notices him (or at least wants everyone to think that she barely notices him).  At this point in the story, she’s just a kid too, so it’s hard to tell what kind of grown up she’ll turn out to be. When she walks into Chains’ glass cellar, what is she, eight or nine years old?

It’s so funny to be that age, and have fluttery feelings for someone, but you have no idea what to do with those feelings. you’ve got nothing to compare them to. You just want to be allowed to be in the same room as that person, because being in their presence is enough at that age.

What’s awkward here is that Locke and Sabetha have been “adopted” by the same person. For all intents and purposes, they are being raised as siblings. eh, ick? Yeah, Father Chains is going to have to figure something out, and fast! I am still completely intrigued by Sabetha, and i don’t think that feeling is going to go away any time soon.

I really liked the Sabetha kidnapping scene. Bit of a Kobayashi Maru, no? Makes me wonder how much of an affect that moment had on the rest of his life. If you can’t change the rules, change the game, you know? And he does swear an overly dramatic youthful oath to Never Lose Again!

3) After trying absolutely everything to save Locke, Jean still won’t give up. What did you think of that little pep talk he gave Locke concerning Patience’s offer of healing?

Locke has got one helluva deathwish. And it’s funny, because a deathwish runs counter to Locke’s stubbornness. He doesn’t really want to die, but he doesn’t want to live like this either. He knows if he’s dead, Jean will be free of at least some of the mess. And just a little bit, Locke is a bit of an attention whore. I have a feeling if Jean did abandon him, did really leave, didn’t care if he lived or died,  that deathwish would evaporate just a little bit.

regarding Patience’s offer, i was laughing when Locke tries to say they aren’t interested, and tries to tell her to fuck off, and Jean clamps his hand over Locke’s mouth and says “he says we’re interested in what you have to say”. When is Locke going to realize that without Jean in his life, he’d have died twenty times already? that Jean is the guy who keeps him from doing the really, truly, stupid stuff?

4) Locke has a few caveats to working for the Bondsmage. Wise or just Locke grasping for some control over his life? What would you ask Patience?

Okay, I like and dislike the caveats.  I LIKE that he wants all his questions answered, because godsdamnit, so do I!  I want to know all the Bondsmagi stuff works, I want to know how they rule, I want to know how many of them there are, I want to know more about that Dreamsteel stuff (oops, read ahead!), I want to know EVERYTHING.  but I disliked how it was presented in the book. I felt like that “let me ask you some questions”  too often turned into an infodump. Eh, you’ve read my review of the book, my bitching at the end was pretty much about this exactly.

Locke needs this caveat, because he does need some control over his life. Doing what he does, conning people, it’s about always being in control of the situation. You know the lay out of the room, everyone working it, the schedule of the guards, what your Mark likes to eat and drink, what kind of person they find attractive, how they can be bribed. the con works because the con artist is in control.  Without control of something, Locke is a mess.

5) At the end of this section, we see that all is not as Patience laid it out. How much do you think Patience knows of the plot to off Locke and Jean? Do you see it interfering in the rigged election?

I definitely see it interfering, and hopefully in ways that will be entertaining for the reader!  And why shouldn’t the Bondsmagi have factions within their rulership, just like the rest of us? I’m sure this kind of thing has happened before, and I’m sure Patience suspects the other side is up to no good. This is all a game for them, and I don’t think the Bondsmagi care if the pawns get knocked off the board.  I do love all the different cultures we meet in each Gentleman Bastard book.  Worldbuilding – this is how it’s done. Introduce me to some interesting characters, and I will want to know all about their culture, their life, their politics, their history, EVERYTHING.

Ok, what did YOU think of this week’s reading section?


21 Responses to "The Republic of Thieves read along, part 1"

Hmm… I never really got a sense of “infodump” from my first readthrough… Though I did kind of tear happily through it the first time round. This time is already proving to be a more thoughtful readthrough for me, so we’ll see what fresh thoughts I can shake out!

I do also like seeing more of Chains, and I agree about the fatherly thing. It adds so much more depth to the Gentlemen Bastards background. And of course the Sanzas are providing all their patented hilarity! God, I miss them…


I don’t think Lynch can avoid infodumps, but for me infodumps fall into two categories: the clunky ones the *feel* like infodumps, and the ones that are either so elegant or so interesting that you don’t mind or don’t notice that you just read one. I find that Lynch’s are usually in the interesting category, so it’s ok that he does it.


I loved the tavern songs! Calo and Galdo can always make me smile and I do miss them. It was nice to have them back for a bit. I really liked seeing Chain be so fatherly with Locke. For as tough as he is, and stubborn, it’s hard to remember Locke was once just a little kid. Now, he’s an infuriating adult! In all the best ways, of course. 😉


I’m happy dancing, too. I’m enjoying getting to know the nurturing side of Chains.

It’s definitely good that Locke met Sabetha prior to being pseudo “siblings”. 🙂 I enjoyed that fact that the kidnapping scene was a character shaping moment for Locke, but I have mixed feelings about the lesson as a whole.

Uh-oh on getting infodumps via Locke’s and Patience’s agreement. I was surprised she would be agreeable to that in the first place, now I see a sad reasoning as to why that would be.

I enjoyed this week’s section a lot. I haven’t read past this section so I’m excited and looking forward to the rest.


I didn’t even think about the fact that Locke and Sabetha are kind of raised as siblings by Chains, that could possibly have more of an impact on how she views Locke because we have no idea what idea’s she built around him the first time around, he could well have just been a little person she met and then never thought of again until the first time they meet.

And also didn’t occur to me that those questions are a convenient way to get an info-dump for the reader, I guess it depends how its all handled.


Yes! Locke is an attention whore. It wears on the nerves when it makes him suicidal! I’m glad that Jean keeps him quiet when the important decisions need to be made.

I had to keep in mind that Locke and Sabetha are kids so they find it hard to translate there thoughts and feelings into something resembling logic. His inability to come across as cool when he wants to be is very amusing and quite easy to relate to. Even in my 20’s I turn into jelly at times…

Raised as siblings… Don’t mention it otherwise I’ll think of… too late… Mikasa x Eren… Come on Eren, shape up! Mikasa is waiting for you!

I didn’t get a sense of info-dump from the questions, just Patience laying out the world. I’ll re-read it with that in mind.


I think that even though Chains tried to raise Locke and Sabetha and all the other bastards that first impression Locke got on her back at the burrows solidified his infatuation for her.


Jomafantasy here come join my thoughts on this first part here-


The puppy love is so cute, isn’t it? I loved this quote: “Butterflies instantly came alive in his stomach, and the little bastards were heavily armed.”

Here’s my post:


That was one of my faves as well! 😀


It is good to spend time with the gang – and bitter sweet – although if I’m going to be honest, whenever I was reading about them I certainly wasnt sad or reflecting on the thought that they were no longer alive. How could you anyway – they’re so amusing. I also really enjoyed seeing more to Chains. I loved the little chat he had with Locke after the Sabetha/capture/poisoning incident when Locke was sulking massively. He played it gently but he also gave a very good argument why such a small crew can’t be spitting their dummies out all the time and he was firm.
Yeah, Locke and his oath – he’s such a drama king!
And, I still haven’t made up my mind about Sabetha (and that’s after reading all the book!)
I know what you mean about the infommercials. I can’t say they overly bugged me at the time although there were a couple of points where it was a bit of a history lesson – I probably didn’t mind because I REALLY WANTED ANSWERS!
Lynn 😀


Ah, I didn’t consider that the caveat was going to be a precursor to infodumping. That may be irritating later. Then again, I do want some more information about the Bondsmagi, so maybe I won’t mind. It also didn’t occur to me that Sabetha might see him as a little brother. I suppose that makes sense, though… now I’m wondering if they ever do get together. I assumed they had a disastrously ended love affair, but I’m afraid my opinion of Locke might go down a fair bit if he’s seriously spending his whole life pining over the girl he had a crush on as a tiny child.

My answers:


well, shit.

I shouldn’t have said anything about me feeling infodumped on, because now I’ve colored how everyone else is going to look at things. damnit.


I really loved how Chains is both mentor and parental unit in this section. He teaches hard lessons, but then he also apologizes for mistakes. He explains things, but also coaxes Locke into explaining things to him – like Locke’s feelings on complicated, redheaded matters. That Kobayashi Maru scene definitely had a lasting effect on Locke. I have to wonder if there is any foreshadowing – if potentially we are going to see Locke or Jean or another favorite character in a hopeless situation about to face a lengthy torture and one of our guys will have to slip someone some mercy.

Total agreement on the world building. Give me some interesting characters, and of course I am going to want to dive into their culture.


In the first two books, I thought of Chains as kind of a Jedi Master. In this one, he becomes more human, and more fallible. One of the scenes that stuck with me the most was on the roof when Chains apologized to Locke after realizing what he went through when he thought he was losing Sabetha for the second time. His casual references to what would happen when the Bastards hit puberty were amusing as well.


I agree about Locke being a bit of an attention whore. Even though he’s an extremely intelligent, resourceful conman, he can be such a spoiled idiot. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it – Locke without Jean would be long gone…


So true – they round each other out perfectly.


Oh dear… I hadn’t considered the fact that Sabetha and Locke will be brought up by the same legendary man. That could indeed be very awkward for everyone involved.

I had to laugh at Chains telling him it was a crush though, while Locke is wrestling with serious emotions that he doesn’t even know the word for. Chains is in for a surprise, I think, when he begins to realise exactly how deep Locke’s feelings run.


1. Agreed: I was very happy to return to the Camorr of the past and spend more time with these entertaining characters.

2. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only person who thought of the Kobayashi Maru! 😀 However, I don’t think them being raised together produces ancestral overtones because they are old enough to know that they are not related.

3. Locke is quite a lot of an attention whore in my opinion, so it was a welcome relief when Jean told him some home truths.

4. Trying to be in control is a genetic thing with Locke – he simply can’t not try it, even when he’s nearly dead.

5. I agree with you about world building – that plus interesting characters and great dialogue are essential to a great book.


I’m late but I made it!

Glad to finally see Sabetha, although I feel that putting her back into a narrative where she should always have been present feels a bit awkward. If Locke met her at Shades Hill and that changed his life, why does that not come up in book one? But please correct me if I’m remembering it wrong…

And god, but I love it when Jean puts Locke in his place. Ditto Chains’s lessons.

Anyway, full answers on my blog:

A few randoms:
– Jean and Locke think Patience has a weird name but I wondered if Scott Lynch had some kind of South African influence here – it’s a fairly common name among black South African women who usually have both a traditional name and an English name (same for men). Sometimes their English name is a word like Patience, Precious, Gift.
– Why does Sabetha dye her hair? Is red hair just too noticeable for a thief or is there another reason?


[…] regarding the Eldren? Is this something you’d like to know more about? For part one, Little Red Reviewer said she was wary of Locke’s caveat about having his questions answered, because such an […]


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