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.

Continue reading “Republic of Thieves Read-along Week One Answers”

Blogger Interrogation Game Answers

Hyouka Reading ImagesWhen Annoying Dragon over at Everworld tagged me for the Blogger Interrogation Game I was a bit surprised. I’ve taken part in 7×7 and Liebster and even Book Tag but I have never heard of the Blogger Interrogation Game. Sounds scary but it involves anime and books so I am more than game because those are two of the most important things in my life and they are pretty important to Annoying Dragon so I think we’ll get along charmingly. Thank you for putting me in such a scary situation, Annoying Dragon

Here are the rules:

  • Each person is supposed to follow the rule of fives. You are allowed to ask 5 questions, after which you can tag up to 5 bloggers by hyper-linking to their blog; 5 questions because it’s not too many to flood another blogger and occupy too much of his/her time, but yet a large enough number to ask your most important questions, and 5 bloggers to avoid spamming. Hence, prioritize your questions, and who you wish to ask!
  • Those tagged are obliged to answer the questions in a blog post, and after which, they are entitled to create their own 5 questions and tag 5 other bloggers, so on and so forth. You should answer your own 5 questions as well. You are allowed to tag the person that tagged you in the first place. Also, copy and paste this section on your blog so others can understand how the game goes.
  • In the case where a blogger strongly refuses to answer a question, he/she must instead post a nice anime image, wallpaper or cosplay picture, et cetera in response to that question.
  • To make things interesting, a blogger can include wildcards in his/her 5 questions by placing an asterisk, (*), after which those tagged are obliged to reveal something interesting about themselves that others did not previously know. There is no limit to the number of asterisks one can place (which means there can be up to 5 wildcard questions).
  • Anyone can feel free to start the game; you don’t necessarily need someone to tag you. Just create your 5 questions and tag your 5 people of choice. However, the catch is that you must answer your own 5 questions as well.
  • To potentially prevent an endless game, this round of games will end on the 8th September 2012, 12pm JST (GMT +9). After which, no more bloggers can tag others to answer their questions.

Alas, I was awfully busy this week and so the deadline is too close for me to tag others and I follow movie bloggers with only a few anibloggers. That said I will answer Everworld’s questions and post cool anime images.

QUESTIONS:

1) If you could pick a book/anime to have with you on a desert island, what would it be?

Wait a second… How long are we going to be stuck on this desert island? Please say a couple of days! Anyway I would pick Kino’s Journey for my anime because I can, and have, watched it repeatedly. I still discover new things in the anime and I love the art/music of the show.As far as books go I would either pick Murakami’s After Dark or David Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film or Kim Newmans Nightmare Movies. I can read those a lot.

2) What book/anime universe would you like to live in?

I would like to live in the world of Kino’s Journey. It is set in a mittel-European like setting Kino (キノ) and Hermes and their Optionsand it is made up of a patchwork of lands which have different features – one kingdom can be a futuristic place while the next one over could be Edwardian or Victorian. Life is deceptively simple and if you want a change, just jump on a motorrad and ride off over a hill and through a field of red flowers. I would probably end up working in the same type of place I work now but the possibility of escape and change on a daily basis is always there and the idea of going on a journey of self-discovery is kind of cool. Just make sure you have your persuader.

3) Who is your fictional soulmate?

Patlabor the movieNoa Izumi from Production I.G.’s Patlabor franchise. I love Patlabor. It’s the one mecha anime I really enjoy watching. Part of it is down to the realistic portrayal of the uses of giant robots, another part is the down to earth but charming characters. Noa is good-natured, perky and a red-head. We are both good natured but she is much more out-going than I am which I like. I think we would complement each other well as I am a bit more reserved and a thinker and she would push me into doing things while I could support her… I’m thinking about this a little too deeply but I genuinely like her as a anime character and a person. I was tempted to put Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell in here but I think Noa is more my level since we have a similar morning routine. I said that before in the book tag post but it still rings true.

4) Why do you like anime and what are some aspects of anime that you could do without?

I love the imagination in anime and the ideas. The medium is so stylish and when it is coupled with the slick animation, great character designs and the different but interesting stories and characters that western animation houses and television shows would never dare touch it makes the whole medium interesting. I love the aesthetics whether it is the exaggerated facial features and worlds or the way that a story can progress and I love the way we get a glimpse into Japanese culture.

We’re quite fortunate in the U.K. in the sense that the distributors here do get quite a few interesting titles. The one title I really wanted to see get a release in the U.K. and didn’t expect for it to happen was Mawaru Penguindrum and that was recently confirmed for release some time next year – that was a major surprise and a welcome one. I assumed it was too different to get a release but much like The Tatami Galaxy and The House of Five Leaves, the distributor Kaze is taking a risk on it. The only anime I can think of would be Mōryō no Hako which is the sequel to the story, The Summer of Ubume which I have the book of. I would like to wrap the two together.

I hate fan service and ecchi.

5) And because I am really curious and sometimes a bit strange, what’s your favourite food?

I like Chinese/Asian food. I have recently enjoyed Singapore fried rice and sweet and sour chicken. That and cheesecake. Can’t beat cheesecake especially when my mother and sister make it.

I would like to thank Everworld for tagging me. It was fun.

Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along Part 5

It is the final part of the Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along and as we prepare to bid farewell to Locke and Jean I think I know what lures sailors to their doom in the Parlour Passage – not rebel bondsmagi but sexy mermaids.

Anyway I have had another great time conversing with book bloggers and I would like to thank the #lynchmob leader Little Red Reviewer for organising the whole thing. This week’s questions come from Lynn who told me that mermaids are dangerous last week which saved my life on a recent coastal walk. Anyway these readalong have been a lot of fun thanks to the exciting books and the book bloggers who offer up a variety of weird and wonderful opinions.

1.       Oh my god, such a lot going on I thought the showdown between the Poison Orchid and the Sovereign was brilliantly written and they were holding their own until Utgar and his nasty device turned up.  Well a lot of you had kind of predicted it, and I suppose we’d been let off too easy so far in terms of deaths of well-liked characters  – but come on,  did you expect something like that?  And how on earth will Jean ever recover?

Talk about nerve wracking battle – kids in danger, ship could sink while there is a sea-monster swimming around, half the crew dead, and evil birds flapping about pecking eyes out. I did not see the situation with Utgar coming up – his alchemical  device was really evil and ingenious. I honestly thought that the situation might have evolved differently. I thought Jean might save the kids and the whole crew would surrender to Rodanov and get sent to prison. When Ezri sacrificed herself it was horrific. Like others I felt that Ezri and Drakasha were marked for death because they occupied a similar position to Nazca – strong characters who have a major influence on the GB’s. Will Jean recover? Not entirely. It will haunt him. Perhaps make him more reckless and nihilistic.

Continue reading “Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along Part 5”

Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong Week 3

Week 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 ship. This week’s questions come from Ashley of SF Signal who is available on twitter at @ohthatashley.

Was anyone else tired after reading this section?

No! I’m a veteran of the Monkey Island campaigns! I made the mistake of watching one of those awful Pirates of the Caribbean films which never seem to have a beginning or end. Or good story. Or acting.

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?

Locke and Jean’s abilities to get stuck in a huge mess is where the entertainment comes in. The fact that the people involved in these schemes have audacious plans make the adventures so exciting. I’m beginning to wonder whether Stragos wants them to be successful pirates or if there’s something else afoot. Is there something up with the ship that Drakasha now owns? A concealed bomb?

 

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

Didn’t I say there was something suspicious about her last week? My opinion is split as to whether she’s an agent of the Bondsmagi or she’s loyal to Selendri (sisters in arms as members of the Archon’s eyes) which would make Requin and Selendri much more devious and better connected than Locke and the Archon have given them credit for and much more formidable.

3. Does anyone know why having cats aboard the ship is so important?
As Allie and I both discovered last week, cats on ships was quite common in the past since they were used to kill vermin.

Continue reading “Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong Week 3”

Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong Week 2

This is the second week of the Red Seas Under Red Skies readalong and this week’s questions come from our host and leader The Little Red Reviewer. Here are my answers.

Now that we know a little more about Selendri and Requin, what do you think of them? I worry Locke is suddenly realizing this con might be a bit tougher than he expected.

I like the relationship between Selendri and Requin. It seems to be one with strong loyalty and love and they seem devoted to each other. There backstory was really well laid out and I can see why Selendri would stick closely to Requin. I cannot see how Locke can come between them at the moment but the fact that she used to be one of th Archon’s minions might come into play – let’s hope that Locke’s silver tongue keeps him ahead of her mechanical arm.

Isn’t the Artificers’ Crescent just amazing?  If you could purchase anything there, what would it be?

A clockwork automaton monkey butler. Or maybe a clockwork automaton maid like Nano in the videos below who is weapons-grade cute with a gun arm who can cheer me up when I’m feeling down and blow stuff up on request.

 

You said I could purchase anything.
Continue reading “Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong Week 2”

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.

Continue reading “Red Seas Under Red Skies Readalong Part 1”

The Lies of Locke Lamora Part V

The final week of the awesome Lies of Locke Lamora Readalong sees the group answering Lynn’s questions. I don’t really do book clubs or anything similar so this has been a really new experience. The book has been great and so have the discussions. I’ve come across a lot of good bloggers and enjoyed reading their answers which you can check out at Little Red Reviewers blog. Here are my answers.

1.       The Thorn of Camorr is renowned – he can beat anyone in a fight and he steals from the rich to give to the poor.  Except of course that clearly most of the myths surrounding him are based on fantasy and not fact.  Now that the book is finished how do you feel the man himself compares to his legend.  Did you feel that he changed as the story progressed and, if so, how did this make you feel about him by the time the conclusion was reached?

Locke is nothing like the myth of The Thorn of Camorr. He does not have many of the skills associated with the myth, doesn’t know what to do with the stuff he steals and is complacent when we first meet him. He is then pushed to his limits by the Grey King and is reduced to nothing so he has to dig deep to get past his complacency and find a new level of strength and direction. He knows his weaknesses and plays to his strengths which are deception and thinking on the fly which he uses brilliantly in the final battle. He also acquires a new level of bravery and ruthlessness considering the final series of confrontations and fights could have gone disastrously wrong. Interestingly the Grey King is what Locke might have become if he alone had survived and lost everything he loved.

2.       Scott Lynch certainly likes to give his leading ladies some entertaining and strong roles to play.  We have the Berangia sisters – and I definitely wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of them or their blades plus Dona Vorchenza who is the Spider and played a very cool character – even play acting to catch the Thorn.  How did you feel about the treatment the sisters and Dona received at the hands of Jean and Locke – were you surprised, did it seem out of character at all or justified?

The women in this world do not take a back seat to men and are believably strong. They have established themselves in their professions through hard work and natural skills and by playing on the weaknesses of others.

The Dona has used intelligence and deception to maintain her position. Like Locke she has a degree of complacency and underestimates how desperate or devious her foe might be so when she is overcome by brute force it was absurd but believable and I must admit to finding it amusing (すみません!). I was expecting a conversation so the right hook caught me off-guard but then how else was Locke going to escape Dona Vorchenza since she had outwitted him?

As for Berangia sisters they were the natural equals of Jean and they went out fighting which is how they lived. I had little sympathy for them since they knew exactly what they were getting into and were confident that they could take him. I kind of liked them and so I felt that their fight was a bit of a let down since I wanted something more spectacular than a dust up in a warehouse.

Anyway, I prefer my girls tough.

Continue reading “The Lies of Locke Lamora Part V”

The Lies of Locke Lamora Readalong Part 4

This section of The Lies of Locke Lamora was intense. I read most of it in two sittings and was totally floored by what took place. In other Locke Lamora news I got my hands on a copy of Red Seas Under Red Skies. Check out the other conversations taking place.

1.      In the chapter “A Curious Tale for Countess Amberglass” we
learn of the tradition of the night tea in Camorr. I found that not so
much fantastical as realistic – how about you?

It was interesting to read about the whole tradition of night tea and it seemed believable. Real life aristocracy have indulged in all sorts of crazy fashions so the effort made to bring together a night tea complete with overly stylised cakes is not so far fetched. The difference between reality and this book is the fact that this particular tea party takes place at the top of a high tower. The length of the journey up the tower just reinforces the power of the person you are going to meet.

Continue reading “The Lies of Locke Lamora Readalong Part 4”

The Lies of Locke Lamora Readalong Part Three

The third week of the Lies of Locke Lamora readalong is upon us and I’m ahead of the game for once. I was tempted to read ahead but decided to rein it in and watch some movies because I’m behind on my viewing… Anyway check out Little Red Reviewer, the lynch mob leader, for more information and opinions.

1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage’s powers?

I found the introduction of magic very intriguing. The Bondsmagi are NOT glass cannons. They seem over-powerful and I love the way that they have seemingly created a monopoly over magic. They even manipulate the genetics of creatures which means they breed interesting beasts. I want to find out how they do these things! Overall to get around the Bondsmage they’ll need one of their own.

Continue reading “The Lies of Locke Lamora Readalong Part Three”

Lies of Locke Lamora Part Two

Well things are certainly picking up in the Lies of Locke Lamora especially with the author Scott Lynch taking part by offering his notes from the creation of the book. Little Red Reviewer is herding an epic number of us so visit her blog for more opinions!

1) Do you think Locke can pull off his scheme of playing a Midnighter who is working with Don Salvara to capture the Thorn of Camorr? I mean, he is now playing two roles in this game – and thank goodness for that costume room the Gentlemen Bastards have!

Locke and his cohorts should have no problem pulling off his scheme since they seem to have trained extensively for this whole deception and disguises sort of thing and their smart control of the sitatuion – appearance at the dead of night – and method-acting is both bewildering and convincing. Anyway by adding layers of intrigue to the whole Lukas con he can confuse Don Salvara all the more. Unless somebody tells the Don about the deception. I liked the extensive wardrobe and make-up materials!

2) Are you digging the detail the author has put into the alcoholic drinks in this story?

A lot of effort has gone into the drinks and it adds to the world building but overall I’m not too interested in it. That said I do like the way that the properties of drinks can be manipulated by alchemy and I expect it to play a greater role in the plot.

3) Who is this mysterious lady Gentlemen Bastard Sabetha and what does she mean to Locke?

I have no idea who Sabetha is but she and Locke are in love with each other and it is one of those relationships where they will spend more time tearing bits out of each other rather than being honest. She’ll probably turn out to be a tsundere. I wonder what her part is in making the Secret Peace go up in flames. Chains has primed her for a crucial role.

4) Are you as creeped out over the use of Wraithstone to create Gentled animals as I am?

I thought it was a really nice detail and a substance that can present a great threat to anybody and everybody by robbing them of their will and personalities. And yes, I do find the stuff creepy but I can see its uses in a place as chaotic as Camorr. Just imagine the chaos an untamed animal might cause.

5) I got a kick out of child Locke’s first meeting with Capa Barsavi and his daughter Nazca, which was shortly followed up in the story by Barsavi granting adult Locke permission to court his daughter! Where do you think that will lead? Can you see these two together?

I would like to see them get married just to see how it complicates things. Although I didn’t detect any feelings beyond friendship I’m not sure how resistant Nazca is to the idea. Nor can I see how they can get out of the whole courtship/marriage thing as long as Capa Barsavi is alive. The two getting married would add a new layer of complication to things.

6) Capa Barsavi is freaked out over rumors of The Gray King and, in fact, us readers are privy to a gruesome torture scene. The Gray King is knocking garristas off left and right. What do you think that means?

This scene had blood. The situation gets “real” whenever blood appears.

7) In the Interlude: The Boy Who Cried for a Corpse, we learn that Father Chains owes an alchemist a favor, and that favor is a fresh corpse. He sets the boys to figuring out how to provide one, and they can’t ‘create’ the corpse themselves. How did you like Locke’s solution to this conundrum?

Very funny and inventive. A prelude to the sort of chap he’ll be. I’d add more but I’ve got to dash to another post.