Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, readalong week 3

So, just finished reading this week’s installments for our weekly readalong of Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies.  This readalong is being hosted by the Little Red Reviewer and this week’s questions were provided by Ashley at SF Signal and on twitter at @ohthatashley.  For those of you not reading along you should join in the fun the discussions are great and it’s still not too late!  However, if you haven’t read either The Lies of Locke Lamora or Red Seas Under Red Skies then you should probably stop reading now because there be spoilers ahead!  So, without further ado, brace the mainsail and shiver your timbers (or something like that).

Was anyone else tired after reading this section? (This wasn’t really one of the questions but I couldn’t help answering anyay)
I was exhilarated strangely enough.  I felt like making a head long charge, waving a sabre whilst laughing uncontrollably, at a bunch of huge kick ass warrior types.  I don’t think that would probably work out too well for me, hell it probably wouldn’t work out well for anyone who didn’t have Jean at their back!  But, it’s the way I felt.

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?

I love the fact that they’re always in a mess.  It seems to me to be the fundamental brilliance of this series.  The essence of everything it’s about really.  No, I don’t think Stragos will get a return – or at least he will, but just not the one he wants or expects – and I can’t wait!

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

I won’t really comment on this because I actually do remember this part of the story and whatever I say will either look as though I’m trying to be terribly clever (LOL) or as though I’m dropping hints.  So, stepping away from the question before I say anything else……

3. Does anyone know why having cats aboard the ship is so important?

Well, I was actually a bit intrigued by this and thought about looking it up and trying to have a proper answer (as oppose to all the above) but, pah to that.  I think the cats serve a basic need – they kill any pesky varmints on the boat that might be eating the food.  I know plenty of people who are superstitious about cats so it seems almost contrary to have them on a ship for that very reason.  So, I just think it’s practical.  Actually, the building I used to work in is a very large Gothic structure, basements, spiral staircases and the like – and I never realised for years, but they actually kept feral cats – as a basic prevention to other vermin.  However, as they were feral there was a slight problem with fleas – mmmm, feeling itchy anyone!

4. The word “mutiny” creates a lot of mental pictures. Were you surprised? Why or why not?
No, I don’t think I was surprised.  It all comes back to No.1 above – of course things weren’t going to go smoothly.  Locke was completely out of his element and even he couldn’t completely act his way around all the superstitions of the others.  Frankly, if he’d have been a hardened sea-farer he would have known about the cats, and the women – so basically he almost spelled his own doom.  He scuppered himself!

5. Ah, the Poison Orchid. So many surprises there, not the least of which were the captain’s children. Did you find the young children a natural part of the story?
No, I sort of had mixed feelings about this one.  Part of me thinks good on her, she’s out to sea all the time and when else will she see her children.  But, then I have to weigh that against the certain sort of selfishness of it.  Yes, she wants to see her children, and I’m damn sure they would sooner be with her.  But, is a pirate ship okay for them.  Regardless of the language, etc, what about the danger – of sinking, of being at battle, so far they’ve been lucky enough to be on the winning side – but what if the tables were turned.  Her heart would break if anything happened to them in that situation.  I’m not sure if it would make her and her crew fight harder in certain circumstances or whether it would be their undoing.  Plus, she leaves herself open to all sorts of ‘I’ve got your children so put down your weapons’ scenarios.  And, she seemed to be making the point during her interview with Locke that it was quite well known that her children travelled with her – surely that’s the place that any enemy of hers would head straight for??  I think the bad outweighs the good to be honest.

6. Jean is developing more and more as a character as we get further in to the book. Ezri makes the comment to him that “Out here, the past is a currency, Jerome. Sometimes it’s the only one we have.” I think several interesting possibilities are coming into play regarding Jean and Ezri. What about you?
Oh, my, god, I don’t know if I can talk about Jean and be sensible.  He is IT.  The end.

Okay, so, obviously he’s very interested in Ezri and the fact that he wasn’t following Locke, during the fight to capture the ship, was a bit telling – as Locke himself realised.  There’s no reason why Jean shouldn’t have ‘another’ interest.  It does divide his loyalties slightly I suppose.  You can see that Jean and Locke are totally dedicated to each other – but throw another element into the mix.  I dunno.  I hope it’s going to be okay for them.

7. As we close down this week’s reading, the Thorn of Camorr is back! I love it, even with all the conflict.  Several things from their Camorri background have come back up. Do you think we will see more Camorri characters?

I loved that the Thorn was back.  Bloody brilliant.  Basically, I’m not going to answer the question in great detail because of potential spoilers so I’ll just say – let’s hope so!

Great questions.  Thanks. 😀


30 Responses to “Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, readalong week 3”

  1. Ken

    My thoughts of the children are exactly opposite of yours. I was thinking if she left her children on land, then anyone can get to them and use them to blackmail her to give up her ship. Whereas if she brought the children with her, she can keep an eye on them and make sure they’re ok.

    • lynnsbooks

      I know. That’s why the ‘mixed feelings’ comment! Jason raised a good point about potential kidnapping if she left them back home. I guess it’s a definite case of swings and roundabouts and potential danger no matter which option she chooses so under the circumstances having them with you probably does seem the lesser of two evils.
      I’ll stop there before I change my mind again!
      Lynn 😀

      • RealBooks4ever

        I think she was irresponsible to bring children into the world if she wants to live the life of a pirate.

  2. Red Seas Under Red Skies read along, part 3 « the Little Red Reviewer

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  3. nrlymrtl

    I wonder if Drakasha has taught her kids to swim? They are small and probably couldn’t go far, but it is a very useful skill when residing on a pirate ship.

    I really want to see some flames between Jean and Ezri…. and not just for my voyeuristic side. Jean deserves some love.

    • lynnsbooks

      Jean – deep sigh!

      • Genki Jason

        Drakasha’s kids can be great swimmers but the denizens of the Sea of Brass would devour them sharpish.

  4. Genki Jason

    Locke and Jean will kiss and make up… Not necessarily the best thing to say about some guys on a ship at sea… I think it’s about time that Jean got a little action of his own. Then Scott Lynch can have her die in an epic way which will turn Jean into a monster and have him out for revenge.

    As much as I don’t trust Merrain I picture her looking like Jaime Murray (from Hustle):

  5. Ines

    Can I just say that your answer to question no. 7 has me optimistic some other Camorri will appear? 🙂
    I keep thinking that the situation with Ezri might endanger their friendship. It just seems Jean is falling hard and she also seems to be returning his feelings.

    • lynnsbooks

      I think you have a good point about Jean and Ezri but Locke will just have to get over himself. Like Jean himself said, he has other needs. LOL

  6. Allie

    I came down on Drakasha’s side, for the kids, mostly because I couldn’t see what the alternative would be. From what we can tell so far, the father’s not in the picture (I wonder what happened to him), so she probably doesn’t have anyone else to leave them with. The way she described their life, she’s on the sea about 99% of her time, too, so the only other option I could think of would be effectively giving them to someone else (and probably not someone savory, from the rough descriptions of Port Prodigal). Of course there’s a lot of information about the situation that we don’t know, though!

    • SueCCCP (@SueCCCP)

      I also wonder if it is a cultural thing: it could due a perfectly acceptable way of life for someone from her background.

  7. Redhead

    Oh, my, god, I don’t know if I can talk about Jean and be sensible. He is IT. The end.

    le sigh! so true! and poor Locke, now that Ezri is in the picture, he’s no longer the center of Jean’s life. hello, jealous much? and YES, Jean deserves some love and some happiness!

    I am completely on Drakasha’s side about the kids at sea thing. I think it’s brilliant. If she were to leave them with someone on shore, she’d be effectively abandoning them. This way, she can have her career and be a good mother, all at the same time. If only life/work balance in real life were that easy!

    I’m cracked up that these discussions are pretty much all about parenting.

    • lynnsbooks

      I think it’s great that Draksasha has her children with her too. And, in her line of work how could she leave them. I work and have children, but I don’t take them into work with me and it would be highly frowned upon if I did! But, I think she had little choice. It’s one of those situations where you keep your children close and try and protect them or leave them to a strangers care. She did what she had to do. I loved the side of her that it showed. She was ruthless but caring. Yes, I think It’s a difficult choice but if I could have found a way to have my children with me whilst working I would have taken it. However, I still think her choice did have a lot of danger attached. But. at least she would feel like she was there to protect them.
      Enough of the children, they are dominating!
      Jean is IT – I can’t help it I have a total crush on him. I could try and dislike Ezri but I like Jean so much that I actually dont! Ew, pukes into a bag!!!!!
      Actually he can just stay bloody single!!!!!!
      By the way, did I mention that I love Jean?
      I do…..
      Aaahhhhhh….. le sigh!!!! J’adore
      Lynn 😀

      • Redhead

        aawww, you’re so adorable!! and good thing for him (and us) that he hooks up with a girl we like, otherwise us fangirls would probably have to beat her up.

        and yeah, but you don’t work three months away from where you live. you work for 8-9 hours a day, and then go home to your family (and maybe your kids spend some hours at babysitter, day care, school, etc). Drakasha works for 8-9 months at a time, and then maybe goes back to Port Prodigal, maybe doesn’t. so, totally different situation. also, I think she’s fricken’ awesome.

  8. lynnsbooks

    Like, I said, I had mixed feelings.

    But, did I mention that I love Jean:D

  9. kaitharshayr

    Having read some other responses now I think I also agree that Drakasha is doing the right thing, She’s giving them a loving environment and isn’t that what’s important? Yes there are dangers, but aren’t there in any way of life? Its just that her culture is different to ours and in a way in our world it hasn’t been that long since even children were working for a living from a young age.

    Also I think Locke needs to learn to share. 🙂 He can’t have Jean to himself forever.

    • lynnsbooks

      Absolutely agree – on both points!
      Lynn 😀

    • realbooks4everstephanie

      You’re right – there will come a day when they will need to part from one another. They’ll get older and then they might want to settle down somewhere.

      • lynnsbooks

        I suppose it must be really tough though. To be so close to someone and to have grown up in such a way together that you can pre-empt and second guess the other! It’s a lot to give up – I’m sure they can work through this thing though.
        Lynn 😀

    • RealBooks4ever

      You’re right. There will come a day when Locke and Jean will have to go their separate ways. They’ll get older and then they might want to settle down somewhere.

  10. Froggy

    Ok, time for some Jean fangirl moment together: he is totally IT! Oh my, he deserves the love, and screw Locke if he feels jealous and alone for a while. Plus, you know then end, I know the end, we won’t talk about it but I was so MAD! Oh, well. Lynch is such a bad guy sometimes…
    The fleas! I didn’t thought about them but yik, being itchy and stuck on a boat must be a nightmare!! Maybe a bit of forceful cat washing would do the trick… 😉

    • lynnsbooks

      Argh, fangirl moments – nothing like em to realise how cool Jean is!
      Lynn 😀
      P.S he really is IT – Lynch better just stay away!!

  11. Grace

    It was so interesting to see Jean leave Locke alone in a battle. I didn’t expect him to do that no matter how head over heals for a girl he might be. I think it’s a sign of future trouble between them…

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I felt almost sad for Locke at that part – simply because Ezri is actually pretty handy and seems capable of taking care of herself. Whereas Locke is useless – lets face it – he survived in the most comical caper fashion ever!
      Lynn 😀

  12. TBM

    I haven’t been reading your answers since I don’t want to ruin the story. But I do have a question: Should I track down a copy of this book? Is it good?

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, I really like both of these books and think it’s a great series – I think the only real criticisms I have seen about either is that Lynch can go into quite a bit of details – personally, I enjoy that aspect of his world building but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Otherwise I would recommend. Thinking of the differences between Lynch and Sanderson I would say Sanderson is much more of a straight into the plot with no messing type of author and he world builds as he goes along. Lynch does take more time and like I said he is more elaborate.
      Lynn 😀

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