3.5 Stars for a Long-Awaited Installment
The Republic of Thieves
is the third installment of Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastards
series. As the previous novel was published in 2007, many of us have been waiting for long time to continue the story. I did not read this book as soon as I got a copy as my expectations were so high, I was too afraid of being disappointed. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed. My star rating reflects my dislike of the type of story that and less to do with writing, characters or any major flaws.
The story picks up right where we left off in Red Seas Under Red Skies
. Locke Lamora has been poisoned and lays stubbornly dying while his best friend Jean Tannen scours the city looking for a cure. When all hope is lost, Locke is offered a cure in exchange for his involvement in the "Five Year Game", a quinquennial political election where the two factions of Bondsmage hire human tools to sway the elections to their team. Running parallel with the present story, is a backstory that introduces us to famous but not yet introduced Sabetha. We learn of her involvement with the Gentlemen Bastards and learn of her relationship with Locke.
Most of the elements that make the previous two novels so compelling, remain present in the latest novel. Scott Lynch uses the past/present story combination very well and we learn more backstory while we learn how past decisions effect their current predicament. The backstory brings us back to the days with Father Chains, which, in my opinion, was the most interesting of the storylines. All of this plays well with a new con for our favorite thieves. Locke and Jean delve into some political wrangling and use their wiles to fix an election with tricks and threats.
We finally meet the mysterious Sabetha and she does not disappoint. Additionally, we learn about the Bondsmage while their own story is revealed. Theses two new additions come together to set us up for exciting possibilities in future novels.
I do not like romance in novels. While I don't mind romance as a side story to the main plotline, I don't enjoy romance as the centrepiece. This novel has far more romance than I care to read. If you generally read books with titles like "Ravaged by a Highlander", "The Dukes damsel for a Day", or read books with shirtless, muscled men on the cover, you would probably mock me for considering romance to be centrepiece of this novel. A major focus of the story was Locke and Sabetha and their very complicated relationship. So much time was devoted to this that it took away for the more interesting components like thieving and trickery. Had this been the first book in the series, I may not have finished it. I give it a passing grade because I really wanted to know who Sabetha was and I am now interested in the characters. While I enjoyed the fact that Locke and Jean were using their skills in a political arena, the storyline was often hijacked by the romance elements.
Again, Michael Page is the narrator of the Novel. He won award for his narration of the first book and does not disappoint the third time around. While his narration is bit annoying at the beginning, he quickly brings it around for another 5 star narration. Content Advisories
It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as
I read so I am simply giving approximations.
Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest
Sex - 3
There are maybe 3 or 4 sex scenes in the book but they are not explicit. The scenes are are short and there is more description of the emotion of the act than the mechanics. There are several references to character employing the services of prostitutes
Language - 3.5
There seems to be less adult language than previous novels. There is moderate use of the f-word and moderate use others. There are many religious exclamations but all such statements refer to one of the Gods in the story.
Violence - 3
There are at least two descriptions of rape. The second instance is only discussed after the fact. The first a reference to a custom that involves rape and the mutilation. It is moderate graphic and may disturb some readers. Both are very short in length and are not needlessly drawn out. There are multiple instances of minor fights and several deaths. Most of the deaths are not explicit and one is moderately explicit.