I will sell my soul for the next book in this series. Just thought I’d throw that out there in case there are any takers.
My God , I love this series. I have come to the conclusion that I just must not have been in a reading mood when I was reading the second book because supposedly this book isn’t as good (I’ll get to whether or not I agree with that in a moment) but I essentially read everything but the first fifty pages in one day, and this is a seven hundred page book. I love the characters Scott Lynch writes, I love how he writes (especially dialogue), I love the settings he creates. I can go on. Can Scott Lynch do wrong? Probably not. (Well, except for this annoying little habit he has of taking my heart and BREAKING IT INTO A THOUSAND FUCKING SHARDS OF PAIN.
‘False names are fun,’ said Calo. ‘Call me Beefwit Smallcock.’
‘These are aliases, not biographical sketches,’ said Galdo.
This book brings flashbacks back with a ferocity, but, surprisingly, I really enjoyed them. Camorr remains my favourite setting in this series, and it was so great to get to return there and spend more time with the Gentleman Bastards (even if that’s really only for the first half of the flashbacks).
The second reason I enjoyed the flashbacks was because I genuinely enjoyed Sabetha and Locke’s relationship, so let’s use that as a segue to dive right into that. While I didn’t like that it literally started with five-year-old Locke deciding he was in love with Sabetha for ever and ever (Seriously? I thought I was going to marry a boy when I was five. I changed my mind about thirty-seven minutes later.) I don’t seem to be as indifferent to it as a lot of other reviews I’ve read. I thought it was well developed and the two of them did seem to have complimentary skills. The two of them together are like flint and steel and I loved whenever they were together. The best ships (in my opinion) are the ones where you could totally see them burning down a city for funsies, and that was Locke and Sabetha. Besides, their banter was On. Point. (Good! Relationships! Have! Good! Banter!)
‘Are you smarter than a pig, Locke?’
‘On occaision,’ said Locke. ‘There are contrary opinions.’
I kind of sympathize with Sabetha’s reluctance with Locke. I’m not particularly attractive, but I definitely understand her motivations. The world feels a lot more sexist in this book, and it’s the kind of sexism we still face today. Girls can theoretically become anything, but they have to deal with people who feel entitled to their bodies and their attention just because of their gender.
Also, little aside: if Locke gets over Sabetha, I’m single. He’s a criminal genius who can cook. I don’t have red hair but I am so pale a bunch of Spaniards mistook me for being ill.
Really, I think how you feel about the Locke/Sabetha thing will decide how you feel about The Republic of Thieves . The plot of this book is not nearly as edge-of-your seat adventure as the first two, and really does frequently feel like it’s just an excuse for Sabetha and Locke to do their version of what us normal folks would call flirting, which I found very entertaining, but I’m sure it won’t be to everyone’s taste. There’s still some action, but this is a book about two people competing to do a better job of fixing an election while also trying to either get into or avoid getting into the other’s pants. (Neither of them seem to be completely clear about which option they’re aiming for.)
We also finally learn some stuff about Locke’s past, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I like Locke as a normal person who happens to be really smart, but I trust Scott Lynch, so I’ll see where it goes.
Is this book better than the first? No. The first is perfection.
Is this book better than the second? Objectively, probably not, due to the lack of heists and pirates.
Is this book still amazing?
Yesyesyes. The couple who slays together stays together, and I strongly hope this is not the last we see of Sabetha. It’s nice to see Locke reduced to a blithering idiot every once and a while.
Now, WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO TELL ME WHEN THORN OF EMBERLAIN COMES OUT?