Republic of Thieves Read-along Week One Answers

Republic of Thieves Book CoverAfter more than a year we’re back with Scott Lynch and his Gentlemen Bastards in his latest epic tale, Republic of Thieves. Cue equally epic read-along with fantastic book bloggers and me desperately trying to read the book on my commute to work. Thankfully I found it quite easy to get back into things and tore through 140+ pages with glee. It’s interesting to look back on my comments on the last post on Red Seas Under Red Skies and see that I was wrong on some points (believe me, this doesn’t happen often):

“The whole poison thing being a bluff on Stragos’s part seems most likely – how on earth are the guys going to get out of a tailor made poison when the alchemist who cooked it up is dead?”

The poison was real and Locke really is dying. Holy crap! Worse still, there weren’t any clockwork maids! DAMN!

Anyway, here’s my answers to this week’s questions as posed by DabOfDarkness.com

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

I think it was a sweet seeing the mischievous Carlo and Galdo and the fatherly Chains. A bit of happiness before the tragedy. It was also very necessary for our understanding of how tight knit the GB’s were with each other and what a loss for Locke and Jean it was when the Falconer and company butchered the Sanza’s and Bug. Every fragment of background information helps add context and colours the character’s behaviour so when Locke and Jean say they hate the Bondsmagi we know why.

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? 

Sabetha’s character was as expected. Beautiful, intelligent and mature and stronger than Locke and it leaves him trying desperately to appeal to her. No surprises there.

I was sort of disappointed. My whole notions on romance and love are different so I like it when there’s something new or unexpected plus I have come off the back of watching lots of anime/films with many very different and sophisticated takes on the subjects. You can tell from the get-go that she’s going to be in charge. I had to keep reminding myself that Locke was a child/teen in a fantasy world where men generally lack the artfulness, wit and intelligence of women. I like strong women so if Locke’s romance is going to be the hapless male/strong female dynamic I hope she’s as cool as the girls’ in Black Lagoon:

Nah, not a chance.

I think the general course of their relationship will be her dictating the course of action, taking charge as she is focussed on the job and Locke trying to get her attention/inadvertently foiling her and berating himself, and her being hard on him, even though she likes him. Sort of like a tsundere character.

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’s ability to play the suffering hero and man of self-sacrifice must be grating for Jean. Even I was getting irritated to the point where I was thinking,

“Locke, your back is against the wall! No other options! Choose Patience’s offer and see what you can improvise out of it.”

I think Jean’s talk shamed Locke into seeing how stubborn and self-destructive he was being after the sacrifices made by Ezri and others like the Sanza’s and Nazca. It was gratifying to see him swallow his pride and shut up. After seeing all of these flashback passages in Red Seas Under Red Skies and in this one we can see how close he and Locke are and that if Locke were to go then Jean would truly be all alone in the world…

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? 

Locke is angry and hurt and desperate and as he says to Jean, he figures this whole thing is a set up and the Bondsmagi are pretty much holding all the cards so this is him trying to reassert control.

If I could ask Patience anything it would probably be related to how the Bondsmagi get their powers. My theory is that it’s related to the Eldren. Perhaps they discovered something which allowed them to take a technological/magical leap ahead of other cities/states. Failing an answer to that, I would like to know when the f*ck we’ll see Clockwork Maids. Is it too much to ask? They’ll be easier to deal with than real flesh and blood women like Sabetha.

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? 

Patience probably does not know about this plot surrounding Locke and Jean but she will when it begins to interfere with their mission to rig the election. The Bondsmagi are shifty as hell and love plotting and playing long games so it wouldn’t surprise me if there were some internecine bickering in her faction or supporters of the Falconer who are willing to try and outmanoeuvre her. This will push Patience away from the Bondsmagi and closer to Locke and Jean so they will more together as allies rather than employer/employees…

17 thoughts on “Republic of Thieves Read-along Week One Answers

  1. Pingback: The Republic of Thieves read along, part 1 | the Little Red Reviewer

  2. You’re spot on with number one. It’s a bit like Lynch, by showing the gang together again, gives us a chance to see just how much Jean and Locke have really lost.
    Yeah, Sabetha – I just can’t make my mind up yet about how I feel for her character. She’s definitely smart and savvy but at the moment she’s not quite clicking for me. I wonder if that’s because she spent such a lot of time absent and so I don’t really see her as part of the gang. Not sure.
    Aww, imagine how bad it would be for Jean to lose his one remaining family member! No wonder he shamed Locke into the right decision. What’s up with him anyway – if he lives he can wriggle out of the agreement in the way he does best.
    Haha to clockwork maids – you’ve moved into Stepford momentarily! I bet Patience could deliver you a few fembots if she really put her mind to it!
    MMmm, very crafty answer to No.5 – I like it!
    Lynn 😀

    1. I find the self-destructive Locke difficult to read because it goes against his very nature – able to improvise his way out of anything. Even if he were bleeding out of every orifice and pore and in constant pain I would have thought that he would be desperately thinking up schemes.

      So far Sabetha is perfect so I can see how the imperfect Locke could push her away. If she has a lot of pride you can imagine her thinking, “How can some puppyish blundering fool like Locke unravel my plots and beat me?”

      I’m not advocating the need for Stepford wives, just clockwork maids with weapons and cakes concealed on their bodies!

      Women can have clockwork butlers! See, I’m equal opportunities 🙂

  3. I loved seeing the Sanza boys and Chains again. And I love how Lynch does so much character building and world building through flashback. I’m always wanting to know why certain characters are the way they are, what was their childhood like? well, now I know!

    Locke and Sabetha, neither of them ever want to lose, anything, ever. If she’s not in charge, that means she’s losing, and she won’t have that! but wait, he doesn’t want to lose either, except that he pretty much does anything he asks her to do. I wonder, if Sabetha asked him to lose some important game, would he do it?

    Ooh, I like your answer to #4! how did they get their power, and what’s the deal with the damn Eldren? LOL about the clockwork maids, maybe if you tweet Lynch he’ll put it in a future novel. 😉

    1. It was great to be reunited with the Sanza’s and Chains. It lets you know where Locke and Jean come from and it’s always a comfort and laugh especially in a world as dark as Camorr.

      Your point about Sabetha and Locke and the way that neither of them ever want to lose is bang on. She must be driven to distraction every time some hair brained scheme of Locke’s manages to equal or outdo what she’s working on so I can see how it would push her away from him. The whole priesthood scene seemed to indicate that!

  4. Oh, I’m a bit worried about the Sabetha-Locke love dynamic as well. He seems like such an intelligent fellow and then she comes off as the one who gets him to behave stupidly while he likes it. Aaargghhh!
    I do hope it levels out (I got rather further along and I’m still waiting for it).

    Good thinking about the question for Patience! I would like to know that as well.

    1. I figure that Sabetha knows how Locke feels about her and will exploit it when necessary – which makes for great potential in plot-twists!

      If nothing else, I just don’t see the romance blossoming in this book. They have spent a long time apart and it seems like they are being set up to fight against each other.

  5. tethyanbooks

    I was just assuming that the hapless Locke/clever Sabetha dynamic was because she was older and more experienced at that point. I hope that levels out when they reach teenagerhood. I really hope she doesn’t end up as a tsundere character–that’s one of my least favorite anime clichés. Thus far, I think she’s been mostly kind towards Locke, but more distant and indifferent than he would like. I am really nervous how this dynamic is going to shape up, too.

    1. The way I’m reading the relationship is that she is the superior of the two in terms of intellect and maybe even in terms of some physical qualities – this is partly thanks to age as you point out – but in terms of raw talent at being a thief and being able to improvise, Locke is able to edge her out and this will upset her.

      I’ve read more and she is beginning to soften up and become slightly more accessible but I think she’s still going to be somewhat prickly.

  6. Oooh, I’d forgotten all about the Eldren. I could see some sort of relationship between them (or a natural force existing because of them) and the Bondsmagi. Very interesting…

  7. suecccp

    This is one series where any added detail is gratefully received. There are so many things I want to know about the characters and the world that I am quite happy to go back in time to learn more. I love that we know so little about the Eldren because they died out so long ago, but I would also be happy to know everything about them.

    I also wonder if Patience is turning her back on the Bondsmagi a bit – after all, she isn’t all that upset about what happened to the Falconer even if he is her son.

    1. From the memories that Locke and Jean saw it seems that the Exceptionalist faction are willing to exercise Bondsmagi power in what may be considered an excessive way by Patient’s faction. No doubt, if Falconer is anything to go by, there are plenty of bad characters willing to do bad things and we will get more insight into the splits in Bondsmagi society because of this!

      Anything about the Eldren is cool. All this forgotten civilisation stuff reminds me of Lovecraftian fiction, which I like, so I’m totally on board for that.

  8. The Black Lagoon ladies have some kickass boots! I expect you are right in that Sabetha will have control of their relationship, whatever it is. Perhaps she will be frustrated that Locke never seizes the helm and takes charge or where their relationship should go for fear of pissing her off so severely that she walks out of his life.

    Haha! Yes, I too vote that Locke should ask Patience about Clockwork Maids. Not only would ‘relationships’ be easier for much of the male population, but the ladies could have nice clean homes without lifting a finger.

    1. I’m pretty interested in finding out why Sabetha left Locke. I see Sabetha being way too frustrated with a helpless guy beating her so their romance should be interesting to put it mildly. I hope Locke gets a spine because it will get tiresome if he’s constantly tongue-tied and in Sabetha’s thrall.

      I cannot think of any robot butlers in anime so here’s some flesh and blood ones… flesh and blood animated ones:

  9. Pingback: The Republic of Thieves read-along part 1 | Violin in a Void

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