I love these books.
I’ll give Red Seas Under Red Skies (hereafter referred to as RSURS because I have the same amount of patience as my cat, who thinks right now is too slow) a 4.5 stars out of 5 because the first half was not my favourite, but, DEAR LORD, that second half.
Don’t get me wrong, the first half wasn’t terrible , but The Lies of Locke Lamora had me adding it to my all-time favourite books a hundred pages in, so the bar was set very, very high. The first half simply didn’t have the same page-turning-probably-going-to-shit-yourself level of action that TLoLL had. It introduced an interesting new setting – Tal Verrar, which is to Las Vegas what Camorr is to Venice – and had plenty of fun Locke-Lamora-isms. (Side note: these books have some of the most hilarious dialogue I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering.) But the first act felt kind of rudderless without the relentless forward motion of the first book.
And then Locke and Jean went to sea.
The book picked up for me the second Locke and Jean stepped on a ship. Part of it was because I just really, really love sailing ships (I actually spent a whole weekend on a brig once and it was probably the best time of my life), part of it was because it had dialogue like this:
I swear, Je… Jerome, the next person who tells me something like, “Squiggle-fuck the rightwise cock-swatter with a starboard jib,” is going to get a knife in the throat.
Part of it was the fact that it finally felt like things were really happening, and part of it was the sheer amusement of seeing Locke so out of his element. Especially with the whole cat thing.
I loved the secondary characters we met in this book. Zamira Drakasha was a complete fucking badass and I wish she could be my mum (seriously, how cool would that be), and Ezri was almost as awesome and adorable with Jean (view spoiler) One of my (very few) complaints about the last book was the lack of female characters, especially since it seemed to be set in a pretty non-sexist world, but I was not disappointed here. Awesome female pirates? YES PLEASE MORE OF THIS.
And that ENDING? Seeing all of Jean and Locke’s plans finally come to fruitation was amazing – think major mic drop, but with more illegalness. I love seeing Locke just outthink everybody and be a cocky bastard about it. It’s so entertaining. It still wasn’t quite as epic as the end of the last book, but it’s a very, very close second. In all honesty, if the first book hadn’t been so amazing, this would probably be a full five stars from me.
But, aaahh, did it hit me in the heart. I’m not going to recover. Well, until I get to Republic of Thieves. Luckily for me, I literally have the next book in my backpack because I knew I was going to finish this an want more.
Seriously, I cannot recommend this series enough. If HBO is looking for another awesome fantasy series to turn into a huge budget TV show, could they do this one? I would literally sell my soul for that.