Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong Part 1

I recently took part in a readalong for Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora and enjoyed it so much I wanted to read the sequel Red Seas Under Red Skies which has a great title and pirates. To get more info on the readalong, head on over to Little Red Reviewer’s blog – she’s the lynchmob leader! This week’s questions come from My Awful Reviews and here they are.

(For an added sense of piratical action listen to this music whilst reading!)

1. The Sinspire. It looks like our heroes (can they really be called that?) find themselves in search of a way into an unbeatable vault. Do you think they have what it takes to make it happen?

Of course.  The thing that drives these guys is big heists. It’s like an addiction, their religion, so they’ll be dedicated to carrying out this audacious robbery. As we’ve seen in The Lies of Locke Lamora, even when the odds start to count against them they are confident and skilful enough to up their game. From what I’ve read so far it looks like the criminal underworld of Tal Varrar isn’t as organised or competitive as Camorr so Locke and Jean have a bit more freedom. Until some outside forces intervene.

2.  Anyone want to guess how they’re going to make it happen?

They are great at planning their jobs so they’ll have nearly all of the angles worked out and a detailed knowledge of the major players. If they don’t have the lock-picking skills then they’ll charm a solution out of someone – maybe even Requin himself. Locke is a master conman and it wouldn’t be impossible for him to do that. They are running a long con similar to the one in the first book so it will be interesting to see the variations.

3. It’s a little different this time around, with us just being focused on Locke and Jean. Is anyone else missing the rest of the Bastards as much as I am?

Surprisingly no. I’m way too interested in the development of Locke and Jean and how they can get back on an even keel after suffering what they have. The missing Gentlemen Bastards are there for motivation – a driver for Locke. His guilt. Will he ever be able to make it up to them?

4. I love the section where Jean starts to build a new guild of thieves. It really shows just how well trained and tough he is. Do you think the Bastards will end up training others along the way again like Bug?

At the end of the previous book, I wondered how the Gentlemen Bastards would make it to the end of the sequence at the rate they are losing members. It totally makes sense if they train others but I can’t see it happening during this story unless they encounter someone of great skill who can impress Locke enough that he will get over the loss of the other GBs. I think this section expanded our view of Jean’s skills greatly. Towards the end of the last book he was little more than a tank but we see more of the training Chains has given to him.

5. For those of you looking for Sabetha, we still haven’t spotted her yet. Anyone else chomping at the bit to see the love of Locke’s life?

I can see Scott Lynch stringing this out… keeping us busy with the adventures of Locke and Jean before she appears and makes a major impact. She’s being built up as the greatest gal in Locke’s life so she better be spectacular. Emma Stone crossed with Lara Croft spectacular. Better yet, she best be similar to Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell. She’s truly spectacular – a badass existentialist cyber-warrior – … ahem.

6. It’s early on, but the Bastards are already caught up in plots that they didn’t expect. How do you think their new “employer” is going to make use of them (The Archon, that is)?

I was really interested in the Archon – he’s a strategist and not a thug. He has not attained and maintained the position he has by murdering his way there. He’s the Grey King and not Barsavi. His initial appearance was accompanied by an act which struck me as false so when Locke and Jean drank the cider I was surprised that they would fall for it – elite guards of somebody so powerful don’t make mistakes. What makes him more than a retread of the Grey King is the fact that he hinted at a plot against the Bondsmagi and this is very intriguing.

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36 thoughts on “Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong Part 1

  1. Pingback: Red Seas Under Red Skies Read-Along, part one! « the Little Red Reviewer

  2. Pingback: Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along Part I « Darkcargo

  3. Haha, I had to laugh at your “Emma Stone crossed with Lara Croft spectacular.” That’s a good way to put it. And I agree that I don’t think they’ll get another member for this heist, because that would mess up all their planning, and they have enough on their plate already without having to worry about an untrained little brother (or sister).

    1. It would be difficult for them to train up a new member but if this new member offered skills and knowledge essential to their mission I can see them taking that person on board. If nothing else Scott Lynch will have to beef up the gang again so he can start killing them off and making his readers emotional! Also that combination of women is spectacular and kick ass!

      1. I agree. They are still raw from the loss of the other GB’s but if their backs are against a wall and they have no other options they might have to form an alliance with someone.

  4. Ghost in the Shell was such a good series, although it’s been a few years since I watched it.
    Maybe the lack of new GBs means we won’t see as many main characters killed off? Nah, that’s too much to ask, lol.

    1. I haven’t watched the Stand Alone Complex series but I’m a major fan of the two films – I’ve had the pleasure of a cinema screening and they are in my top five anime and Kusanagi is so cool. Mamoru Oshii = genius.

      I would be surprised if Lynch doesn’t kill of likeable characters who seem like they will play major parts. We’re wise to your ways, Mr. Lynch!

      1. It won’t even be the likeable ones so much as whichever I choose as my new favorites. So yeah, guess I should brace myself for Selendri.

      2. The mechanical and clockwork stuff is a fascinating aspect. The mechanical parts have great potential – they can take some damage and are immune to poisons and Selendri seems as tough as nails so I wouldn’t want to cross her.

      3. Mhm. I think it’s a neat touch that sets this book apart from the first one, as well as differentiating Camorr from Tal Verrar. I’d like to see how Selendri would take advantage of her mechanical bits while in a fight.

      4. You’re right there. The way transport has implemented so many mechanical elements while Camorr still uses power generated by humans/animals. There’s a lot of potential. Tal Verrar – the land of clockwork robots? Okay, that’s going too far.

  5. I guess I need to watch me some Ghost in the Shell.

    I too was a little surprised that they so readily drank the Archon’s cider. Why else put them in a sweatbox for hours if not to force a strong biological need to replenish fluids? Even if they had to take a calculated risk, I was still surprised neither thought of it.

    1. It did feel so unlikely. After all of their dealings with alchemists in Camorr and all of their training they fell into that trap way too easily. Hopefully they give the Archon a taste of his own cider. The Ghost in the Shell films are truly awesome. Definitely top ten anime material for me – top 25 movies even.

      1. Ken

        Exactly! I’d thought that Locke and Jean would be more careful in front of the Archon since they already know all about his reputation.

  6. The hint of plot against the Bondsmagi also caught my attention and Lynch once again created a situation where every group seems to be using the other groups for their own purposes.

    I’ve read somewhere that Sabotha will only make an appearance in the next one. I guess she deserves a whole book around her.

  7. Yeah, they did kinda fall for the Archon’s trap a little too easily. . . but it makes for some interesting plot developments later. And if you’ve ever been dry drunk (I haven’t, but I have been close), you are so disoriented you will drink anything, although you may not be able to keep it down. and nothing The Archon does is an accident.

    I think we’ve all got our hopes up for Sabetha. i have heard rumor that she makes Locke’s hijinks look pathetic, so whatever he does, he better not piss her off!

    1. In other words she is a cross between Emma Stone and Lara Croft. I can’t wait to meet her! I think the section in the heat room could have drawn out the physical effects of the heat and the way their minds were affected. Because it was not dwelt on long enough and we were soon met the Archon it was easy to see his scheme. Minor criticism though.

  8. Couldn’t agree more about Archon’s guards making such a mistake. It was so very obvious and we didn’t have to wait for long to be proven right.
    But I’m thinking Redhead has a point, the situation as Locke sees it shows that their brains just aren’t working as they should, which is another benefit for Archon’s ploy to get them to drink the cider.

  9. Yeah, they did fall for the poison plot a little easily but I guess if you were that thirsty you wouldn’t really be thinking straight. The Archon is a very interesting character – he seems to be somebody who is fully incontol. I don’t think he should mess with Locke and Jean though – perhaps he doesn’t understand their characters as well as he thinks. At least the Grey King had the good sense to know he had to kill Locke once he’d finished using him.
    I loved the scene in the market place – it was well creepy and it just gives us this feeling of anticipation now, looking over our shoulders to see when the Bondsmagi will pop up and cause havoc.
    Lynn 😀

  10. You’re right — it’s a sort of religion for them. Locke and Jean can’t help themselves when it comes to a good heist, and as a reader, I’m glad of that.

    I like Tel Varrar but I think Locke and Jean underestimated it at first because it’s not as rough as Camorr. I think The Archon is a bit more conniving than they thought and why did they drink the cider!?

    1. Tel Varrar is a really great setting what with all the clockwork devices operating around the city. If Camorr is all about alchemy and Karthain is all about magic then Tel Varrar is all about human craftsmanship.

  11. I’m almost sad that no one’s really missing the Sanzas and Bug but I totally understand that we’re way to absorbed in the story to think about the missing ones. And it was really a great drive for Locke and Jean, to try and do better and better again. Let’s see how good they can be on that one!

    1. The Sanza’s and Bug may be gone but they are not forgotten – I like the way Locke still uses their names to create fictitious characters as part of his schemes.

    1. The Archon is a very interesting character – very ambitious and cunning. He chafes against the control the Bondsmagi have over the realm and has grand ambitions – will he feature more prominently in the series or will Locke do away with him in this book?

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