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review 2016-10-02 18:41
Republic of Thieves doesn't live up to the legacy of the Lies of Locke Lamora
The Republic of Thieves - Scott Lynch

I loved LLL but hated Red Seas Under Red Skies. It's rare that my husband Dorian loves a book that I don't, but that was the case this time, unfortunately. Maybe it's because I had high expectations, but it was only because I loved LLL that I kept reading at all.

First, every other chapter is set in the past, when the Gentlemen Bastards learn to act. And we already know how all that turns out. It's also the foundation for the strong romantic subplot in this book, which relies heavily on the usual romantic tropes that I dislike so much... Two people who have their heads up their asses but ultimately belong together can't stop tripping over themselves long enough to make their love last.

There are long passages where we're literally just reading a play within the book, which might be fun for thespians, but was uninteresting for me.

Additionally, between chapters there are sometimes real-world quotes or poems or song lyrics, which bumped me out of the world each time.

And finally, we spend about 10% of the book watching Locke wallow in pain, and then refusing to live. Their hatred and fear of the bondsmagi makes sense, but when they realize Sabetha is playing for the other side, they never once wonder what they may have on her that would've compelled her to be the bondsmagi's puppet.

But apparently neither does the author, because while they're warned not to collude, there's no punishment for their continued romance.

This book lacked all the clever thievery and heist themes of LLL. What you have are thieves who aren't thieving, bondsmagi who aren't doing much magic, and the lack of any true antagonist. It just fell flat for me, even the explanation of what Locke really is. It didn't live up to the legacy of The Lies of Locke Lamora.

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review 2016-05-19 00:00
The Republic of Thieves
The Republic of Thieves - Scott Lynch greatly disliked the sabetha/locke plot, as much as I loved sabetha.
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review 2016-05-19 00:00
The Republic of Thieves
The Republic of Thieves - Scott Lynch greatly disliked the sabetha/locke plot, as much as I loved sabetha.
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review 2016-03-10 00:00
The Republic of Thieves
The Republic of Thieves - Scott Lynch Oh well, that dragged.
This mostly served to set the scene for the following books in the Gentleman Bastard series and to introduce Locke and Sabetha's relationship - at great lenght, with Locke being a doormat and Sabethe being... not half bad, actually. I liked her much more than I thought I would after reading the reviews. While she's not exactly a likeable character, I can understand her motivations, as little as those motivations are shown.

However, I'm not exactly sure if I like the direction in which Lynch seems to take this series. A bit too melodramatic and mystic for my taste. But - it could all be lie, after all.

That's two stars for Jean Tannen, who quickly became one of my favourite fictional characters ever, although Lynch stressed his mother-hen tendency towards Locke a bit too much in this installment; and an additional star for the brief but fun reunion with Chains.
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review 2015-12-23 00:00
The Republic of Thieves
The Republic of Thieves - Scott Lynch The Republic of Thieves is the third book in Scott Lynch’s ongoing Gentleman Bastard series. Wait! Where you going? You don’t need to be familiar with the series to read this review. All you need is some tolerance for paragraphs of prattle.

The series (so far) is basically about the adventures of Locke Lamora and his BFF Jean Tannen. Both are super-skilled thieves whose gang has been destroyed in the first book [b: The Lies of Locke Lamora|127455|The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)|Scott Lynch|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386924569s/127455.jpg|2116675], in the second book [b: Red Seas Under Red Skies|887877|Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2)|Scott Lynch|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1426312779s/887877.jpg|856785], they have moved to a city called Tal Verrar where they swindle a casino owner and also become involved in piracy. At the beginning of this third book, The Republic of Thieves, Locke is still suffering from an extremely rare poison administered to him during his casino rip-off project. No antidote exists and his only chance for survival is with the help of a “Bondsmagi” (sorcerer), he will, of course, have to render them a service.
What the Bondsmagi want is for him to rig an election to ensure the victory for a party chosen by their faction (of the Bondsmagis). The trouble is Sabetha — the love of Locke’s life — is working for the opposing faction, and she is just as devious as he is.

Scott Lynch likes his current and flashback alternating timelines, here he uses the same structure that he used in his previous books. I think he likes to tease the reader with a little cliffhanger at the end of each chapter then jump to the other timeline. I don’t really see the charm of it myself, the two timelines are independent of each other and they have no connecting point. I think the story’s momentum would be better maintained if he just put the chapters of each timeline in a different division of the book (like Book 1 and Book 2 you know). There is also a little separate plot stand — set in the “present day” — where the Bondsmagi are up to no good.

Since the first book of the series Lynch has been teasing the details of Sabetha, Locke’s love interest. She is mentioned in passing and is clearly a significant figure in his life, and the breaker of his heart. Beyond those little hints throughout the previous volumes, we don’t know anything about her. In The Republic of Thieves she is finally revealed in all her badass redheaded glory. After all the built-up she does not disappoint, her character is very well developed and vivid.

Some parts of the book are a little disappointing, however. The main plotline about the election rigging is amusing at best, but it is not very exciting compared to the life and death crises of the previous books. The flashback is not much better, most of it is based around putting on a theatrical play. The stakes of each plotline just seem to be a little inconsequential. However, some unforeseen plot twists do eventually liven up both plot strands towards the end of the book. In fact, the very dark and foreboding epilogue leaves the series in a thrilling place.

So I am a little disappointed with how less than thrilling much of The Republic of Thieves is, but Lynch’s narrative is always very readable and often humorous, and the dialogue often sparkles. The next book in the series (to be published next year) promises great things so I am looking forward to that.

3.5 stars then (rounded up to 4 because I’m a glass half-full kinda guy)
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