After 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…