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

And so we come to the final chapters of our Red Seas Under Red Skies readalong hosted by Andrea at Little Red Reviewer.  This has been a great experience and I’ve really loved reading both books again but doing so as a group as it changes the whole experience.  Listening to everyone’s else’s conjecture just makes it such a different experience.  So, thanks to everyone who took part, thanks to Andrea and the other hosts (nrlymrtl from Dark Cargo,  My Awful Reviews,  @ohthatashley at SF Signal) and I hope we all get to read something else together soon.  Now to the final week’s questions and for anyone reading this post who hasn’t read the book please stop reading now as there will definitely be spoilers:

1.       Oh my god, such a lot going on I thought the showdown between the Poison Orchid and the Sovereign was brilliantly written and they were holding their own until Utgar and his nasty device turned up.  Well a lot of you had kind of predicted it, and I suppose we’d been let off too easy so far in terms of deaths of well-liked characters  – but come on,  did you expect something like that?  And how on earth will Jean ever recover?

Okay this is a reread so I really can’t act as though I didn’t know what happened.  I think though that I was expecting for Ezri to maybe die in a fight or somebody to do a backstabbing number on her.  I never saw the whole self-sacrificing thing at all.  Even now I keep thinking surely there must have been another way, but then even as I sit and dwell on it I know that there wasn’t.  What was she gonna do really, look for a pair of oven gloves!  Plus, when you think about it, she didn’t just save Jean and the whole crew but she also saved the children.  I don’t know how Jean will recover – he’s going to blame himself and think that he should have been the one to save the day.

2.       The deceit, the betrayal, first Rodanov and then Colvard.  Even now I’m not entirely sure I understand Colvard – Rodanov was never keen on the oath but Colvard seemed okay with it all and yet in this final deceit she was more devious than Rodanov – what do you think was her motive?

Well, I have to say I was just downright bloody disgusted with Colvard.  What a bitch!  Two-faced backstabbing mare!  Motive, I’m not sure about, maybe she’s jealous of Drakasha or maybe she wanted more from her and was spurned.  I could have slapped her though.  Okay, Rodanov isn’t exactly soft and fluffy but at least he was quite openly unhappy with the scheme in the first place.  I don’t think it made it right the way he then reacted afterwards but he had a certain respect for Drakasha at least (although I thought he got what he deserved!).

3.       Merrain – such a puzzle, no real answer, the mysterious tattoo, the determination to kill everyone to keep her identity and that of her master a secret.  Does anybody have any ideas where she’s from and what she’s up to exactly and who the hell is she working for??

I’ve had a good think about this and in particular her strange tattoo.  It’s very puzzling.  I don’t think she’s working for the Bonsmagi and her actions were a little bit odd at the end.  She’d had plenty of time and opportunity to kill Locke and Jean but then at the end seemed to want them suddenly dead.  It’s as though she was working some strange double game as though she had to play the Archon’s game and help them stay alive when it was the opposite to what she wanted.  Maybe that’s why she killed the Archon’s people when Locke and Jean escaped with the ship originally, perhaps she thought the Archon would just simply kill them and she would be innocent of their deaths.  Which then makes who she’s working for all the more intriguing because whoever it is mustn’t want them dead…  I just don’t know who that would be.  The Bondsmagi would want them both dead, ditto a lot of others from Camorr, maybe the Spider was trying to help them and that’s who she was working for – but that doesn’t seem right either.  It could be his long lost father – trying to protect him – by sending a jealous sister!  Lol.  I give up.

4.       Finally we get to the point of the GB’s latest scheme, all that elaborate planning for two years, fancy chairs, gambling, dust covered cards, abseiling lessons – all for one gigantic bluff. I loved the diversionary tactic here but having finally reached the end of the story and, more to the point, the end result – do you think the GB’s are as clever as they think they are?

I loved the bluff.  All that strutting around, years of planning, all so they could get taken to Requin’s office and rob his precious pictures.  I love the fact that they knew his safe was unbeatable and weren’t even going to go there but they were playing on his own insecurities to get their hooks into him.  I mean, to a certain extent you just can’t help but be impressed by their plans, they seem to have thought of everything.  But if you measure their success in terms of what they have to show at the end of the two years – then it’s fairly small.  Although after the last couple of years they’ve had they probably think they’re lucky to be alive.  It’s made for good reading though.  I suppose if they just made a fortune and retired somewhere quiet to sip on a cocktail it would be a bit dull!

5.       I must admit that I liked Requin and Selendri – particularly at the end – I don’t think Requin will go after Locke and Jean, he was even sort of cool and composed about it all, in fact he came across as a bit pleased with himself because he had the last laugh.  Plenty of good characters this time which did you enjoy reading most about this time?

I couldn’t help but like Requin and Selendri.  I don’t want to make friends or anything but I thought they were good characters and I liked the way that the two of them were like a really good team.  Requin came across as confident in his own set up and even at the end he didn’t seem overly bothered.  He came across almost like an indulgent parent with a naughty boy.  That being said he came out of it all in a much stronger position so I suppose it was easy to be indifferent about it all.

6.       Finally, a triple barrel question, I know I shouldn’t ask this BUT, on reflection do you have a favourite between LoLL or RSURS??  And why?  Are you going to pick up Republic of Thieves?  And, where do you think Lynch will take us to next??

Well, on first reading of both these books I think I would have said without doubt LoLL was my favourite.  This time around though I find it more difficult to choose.  I think the first book in a series like this is always difficult to follow because you’ve lost the element of surprise or the novelty factor but having now reread RSURS I can genuinely say I can’t now decide.  I enjoyed both of them equally I think.  I loved LoLL – such a great introduction to Lynch’s world but RSuRS undoubtedly is an exciting and fun read.  I loved the swashbuckling.  I loved that Jean had a bit of romance enter his life.  The con was great.  Loads of assasins.  What’s not to love?  Of course I will pick up RoT – I just hope it’s out in autumn??  Any news on that anyone???  Where will we go to next.  No idea.  I guess as Locke and Jean are conmen they have to be in a city.  Tempted to say somewhere away from water – perhaps we can go somewhere more mountainous – with dragons!

Loved reading this with you all and look forward to your discussions.

Lynn 😀

Red Seas Under Red Skies

Red Seas Under Red Skies


23 Responses to “Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, readalong, final week”

  1. Ken

    It was great to see everything in the book coming together for the heist. I totally forgot about the relevance of abseiling until the ropes came out of the chair. I just couldn’t believe that after all that planning, Jean and Locke still got fooled by Requin.

    I thought something might happen at the end to split up Requin and Selendri but it turned out to be quite sweet. So now Requin holds the military power, I wonder if he will turn into another Stragos.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, you’re right, everything did come together in the end in a very satisfying way. I mean, we didn’t find out about Merrain but you have to have some things left unanswered at the end otherwise you wouldn’t have them sitting waiting like spiders for the next book.
      I thought Selendri and Requin made a great team, really loyal to each other, in a strange way they remind me of Jean and Locke.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Genki Jason

    I also liked the bluff – the whole thing about the vault was a massive con that tricked the reader as well as Requin. We were so focussed on the vault doors we missed the fact that there’s plenty of money in other parts of the Sinspire. And how would the GB’s carry all of that stuff away anyway? Paintings are perfect. The audacity of the raid and the unexpectedness was great.

    Merrain seems to be working for some powerful organisation which has a long reach, highly skilled and motivated people and money. This means that they may be powerful rivals to the Bondsmagi… Or maybe they are a splinter group of Bondsmagi… The possibilities… I like Merrain a lot now.

    • lynnsbooks

      yep, it was a really good trick on the reader. I really liked it because I never saw it coming and I don’t mind admitting it. At the end of the day that entire place is loaded with money – not just the vault. it makes me think of Pulp Fiction where Tim Roth and his girlfriend are holding up restaurants and robbing people’s wallets instead of going for bigger prey!
      Can’t decide what to think about Merrain. I like that she is capable and a kickass type of character just puzzled about her motives and why she wants Jean and Locke dead????
      Looking forward to the next instalment.
      Lynn 😀

  3. TBM

    I’m impressed by all of the group reads you have been involved in. I wanted to do this one but my plate was full. What’s next on your group read list?

    • lynnsbooks

      I haven’t got anything firm lined up now – just back to solo reading for the time being. I think Carl is going to do something with No.2 and 3 of the Mistborn at some point and i would like to join in with that. What about you? Any group reads coming up? Reading anything good?
      Lynn 😀

      • TBM

        Right now I’m doing the Neverwhere group read and then I’m in for Mistborn 2 and 3. I will be on holiday for part of it so some of my responses will be late. I’m really enjoying Neverwhere.

      • lynnsbooks

        Is this your first time reading Neverwhere – I only read it a few months ago and I really enjoyed it – it’s right up my street really. I would have liked to take part in this readalong but thought I’d have to much to do with the other one as well. Maybe I’ll try and catch up with you all. I hope you carry on enjoying it. I love the world that Gaiman created – he has a great imagination and I would be first in the queue if he decided to write another story based in the streets below London.
        Lynn 😀

  4. nrlymrtl

    Perhaps Drakasha will have oven mitts staged around her ship in the future, just in case some backstabber does pulls something similar in the future. And do you think the good Doc Tregane will stay with the crew (what’s left of it) after her well-intended mistake? That has got to be a hard one to live with.

    • lynnsbooks

      I know! I couldn’t believe it at first in fact I had to do a reread about the Doc’s part in all this – on first reading I hadn’t understood it was a mistake then I went over it again – which was a relief because it was a genuine mistake but then I couldn’t help thinking. Come on. Why do you think everyone was frozen to the spot? Oh well, it’s done now and we have to move on, without Ezri 😦
      Lynn 😀

      • kaitharshayr

        I agree about Tregane, she’s not very observant is she?

      • lynnsbooks

        I know – at first I thought she’d done it deliberately – don’t know why I thought that though, it would be a pretty stupid thing to do! Doh!!
        Lynn 😀

  5. Ines

    Wow, you really do seem to have given Merrain a lot of thought! 🙂

    And dragons? That would certainly be interesting.

    I must say, even though I didn’t like Requin (he’s way too blood-thirsty for my liking), in the end I really did admire his cunning and love for Selendri.

    • lynnsbooks

      Must confess I’m a sucker for dragons – I’m not really expecting any in Locke’s world though, although Lynch has come up with some pretty imaginative creatures. I didn’t like Requin at first and even at the end I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was a lovable charcter but I thought that he and Selendri had a great relationship and he was always confident in his own set up and with good reason really.

      Lynn 😀

  6. Jeremy F

    Hmm… Dragons. Um… yes please!

    Man, I hadn’t even thought of Jealosy as her motivation, but yeah that could make sense.

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, having read a few of the other comments I think her motives might just simply have been self preservation in the most effortless way possible – which kind of makes sense to get two of your strongest opponents to go and fight together thereby making her position so much stronger.

      I do like me some dragons. Don’t think I anticipate them in a Lynch novel, but it made me smile for a moment imagining Jean and Locke’s reaction.

      Lynn 😀

  7. SueCCCP (@SueCCCP)

    I vote for dragons as well! 😀

    • lynnsbooks

      Dragons would be good, like I said, I don’t see them really happening but I do like em!
      Lynn 😀

  8. Michael

    You’re right that the first book in the series can be like the infatuation days of a relationship–easy to overlook flaws because you’re so twitterpated. 🙂 That said, I really think LoLL edges this one out for me simply because I found a lot of the middle of this book to not really do as much to advance the story or characters as we did with Lies. I enjoyed both and am intrigued to see where Lynch goes next…

    • lynnsbooks

      First time reading RSURS I would have completely agreed with you, I liked it, but just not as much. This time around has definitely improved the reading experience. Not sure if it’s because of the readalong and all the discussion but I just had a lot of fun moments reading about the pirates. I’m really keen to see what’s next too.
      Twitterpated – such a great word – I’m going to have to find a way of putting that into a sentence now!
      Lynn 😀

  9. Final Red Seas Under Red Skies read along discussion « the Little Red Reviewer

    […] Lynn’s Book Blog Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers Dark Cargo Tethyan Books Kaitharshayr’s Musings All I Am – A Redhead Hugo Endurance Project Nashville Bookworm Beware of the Froggies Rose’s thingamajig Genkinahito’s Blog Scruffy Fiction Books without Any Pictures […]

  10. Redhead

    my favorite part of this book is the big bluff at the end. what brilliant misdirection! the very first time I read it, I was good and truly pissed that i’d been taken for a ride, but on rereadings, I love the little hints that are given here and there.

    ahh, the mystery that is Merrain. my guess is she’s working for the Bondsmagi. Lynch put so much detail in that tattoo, that I bet we’ll be seeing that on someone else in a future book.

    the poor GB’s, Father Chains really should have taught them the importance of SPENDING their fortunes before it can be taken from them. two books in a row and the boys have ended up with just the clothes on their backs.

    • lynnsbooks

      The bluff was brilliant. I am so looking forward to Republic of Thieves coming out!
      Alas, poor Jean. I would volunteer to try and cheer him up!
      Lynn 😀

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