Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, readalong week II

And so part II commences with Lisa from Overtheefftingrainbow.  As per the first instalment I managed to find loads of quotes that I just loved.  I thought it was very clever the way Lynch managed to get Locke out of a very tricky situation and we managed to travel back into time to check out some more of the Bastards’ experiences.  So, to the Q&A and for those of you not participating (at the moment anyway – because I know you all want to join in really but feel too shy – or maybe you don’t have the schedule – which is here) the rest of the post will undoubtedly contain spoilers.  You’ve been warned.

Blood And Breath And Water: Patience tells Locke that the ritual to save him is serious business. She wasn’t kidding… What did you make of this scene, and do you think any of it might (perhaps literally) come back to haunt Locke?

This was interesting and I confess that I was super intrigued to find out how Lynch would get Locke out of this mess (by the way it only just occurred to me that Lynch and Locke both start with the ‘Ls’ – okay I’m a bit slow on the uptake but he mentions that about Locke always choosing names that start with an ‘L’  in this section so I just thought…. ) Anyway, the whole poison removal reminded me of some type of black magic ritual with the effigy, etc, except it was kind of in reverse so instead of the effigy causing problems it was actually drawing the problem to itself.  About things coming back to haunt him – well, he experienced a haunting from Bug of all people (which was a bit creepy, out of character and also totally Marley like) – perhaps he’s going to have a visitation from three ghosts at Christmas – the Ghost of Chains, Calo and Galdo.  I haven’t made my mind up whether this was just purely hallucination on the part of Locke due to his suffering or whether he really did experience a haunting, and, if so, can we expect more from this quarter?

Orphan’s Moon: Back to the childhood of the Gentlemen Bastards, and here we get another ritual, this one in service to the Nameless Thirteenth. It looks as though it might be Locke vs. Sabetha, round two – but this time Locke seems to be a little slow on that uptake… Who do you think deserves to be given the final oath? Locke or Sabetha?

Well, this is one of those loaded questions.  I mean, on the one hand Locke didn’t seem to have given much thought to being chosen so when he ended up standing up with Sabetha it was almost WTF you doing dude – sit down already!  But, two things, if he’d stepped down and Sabetha hadn’t been chosen, and it’s not certain that she would be chosen just by dint of being the only one volunteering –  how bad would that have felt (at least this way she lost out to another candidate, right?), but, on the other hand she’s just lost out to Locke – who didn’t even want to be chosen.  It just seems to be one of many things where Locke seems to have an easier ride and doesn’t even realise what the hell is going on.

Across The Amathel: This chapter takes a breather for quite a bit of Eldren history, while Locke starts recovering. What do you think of the history lesson, and Patience’s ominous speculation regarding the Eldren? Is this something you’d like to know more about?

I wanted to find out more about the Eldrens and their history so I was probably a bit untroubled by the way Lynch of giving us this information.  Yes, it did feel a little bit obvious, Locke can ask Patience anything so now she gets to tell us everything, but, I didn’t really mind too much.  In fact I wouldn’t have minded finding having a bit more info dump if I’d got to find out a little bit more.  All we seem to have so far is a highly civilised and accomplished race of people who disappeared – hey, maybe they learnt how to time travel.  Or, they’ve been abducted by aliens who want a glass city of their own but can’t figure out how to do it as it’s too simplistic for their massively intelligent brains.  Patience seems to have a theory that drawing too much attention is not good but I’m not quite sure about that at the moment.

Striking Sparks: The gang’s off to Espara, after a bad summer and a pretty thorough dressing-down from Chains, and we finally get to the source of the book’s title – they’re bound for the stage! What are your thoughts on this latest ‘challenge’ and the reasons for it? I think this is brilliant.  It’s like showing us the experience that the gang have to go through in order to make them pull together, and, on top of this it sort of adds a little bit more weight to their overall conman abilities.  They’re going on the stage, they’re going to act!  They’re going to wear costumes and pretend to be other characters.  Awesomeness!  Plus, it feels a little bit like Chains is pushing them out of their comfort zone in order to make them grow up a little bit.  At the moment he’s always there to mediate and set them tasks.  They need to fall out of the nest and find their wings – or come crashing to earth.  Harsh but there it is.  It certainly shut them all up for a few seconds.

The Five-Year Game: Starting Position: The election gets underway with a party (as you do) and before it’s even over, the Deep Roots party has problems – and not just thanks to Sabetha. What do you make of Nikoros and his unfortunate habit?

Nikoros is a bit of a misguided maniac – although clearly he doesn’t know who he’s dealing with yet.  Nothing misses Locke and Jean’s attention and obviously the gig is up and they’re on to him but they need to deal with it!

Bastards Abroad: The gang arrives in Espara, and already they’ve got problems (nicely mirroring the Five Year Game!)… This aside, we’ve also seen some more of what seems to be eating at Sabetha. Do you sympathise with her, or is Locke right to be frustrated with her?

Oysters and Snails – what?  Fucking slimy … oh!!! Well, ew!  Anyway, I sort of see things a little bit from both sides and that is usually my problem to be honest.  Yes, I can see that Sabetha’s nose was put out of joint a little when on returning home a new leader had assumed her former role.  However, it’s not really Locke’s fault – especially as he wasn’t even aware of her existence at that point (or more to the point thought she was dead!).  She comes across a tiny bit jealous but I don’t think it’s that.  I think it’s like I already said that she finds it more difficult to fit in with them all.  I don’t think the rest of the gang really understand this and naturally see her as part of their little group but she doesn’t see it in the same way.  I think really it’s something that Sabetha has to come to terms with herself to be honest.  What I did pick up from all of this is that Sabetha clearly has certain desires for Locke.  She hasn’t outright spurned his advances but she is falling into that age old trap of expecting him to read her mind.  Then, on the back of that he sort of scrabbles around trying to do or say the right thing and usually failing.  I prefer a bit of straight talking personally plus I can’t stand somebody just agreeing with me for the sake of it – they both need a good shaking to wake them up – but maybe trained monkeys will climb out of my ass before that happens (ouch).


25 Responses to “Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, readalong week II”

  1. Lauren

    Orphan’s Moon: I’ve been discussing Locke’s motives with Genki Jason on his blog and mine, and actually Locke has been thinking seriously about the priesthood. He hasn’t completely made up his mind, and it’s ultimately Sabetha’s determination that makes him decides to go for it, but he wasn’t just standing their either. But somehow, most of us in the read-along (myself and those that I’ve read so far) remember the scene as Locke primarily wanting to impress Sabetha and accidentally getting chosen. I wonder why…

    Across the Amathel: I don’t mind the infodumping either; it’s full of things I want to know.

    Bastards Abroad: “Oysters and Snails – what? Fucking slimy … oh!!! Well, ew!”
    I know! What the hell was that?
    Agree – Locke could not have know how his arrival changed Sabetha’s relationship with the other Bastards, and while I think he could have been more sensitive about her feelings, she’s also a bit too demanding about that.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah I was reading all the comments and now I’m totally intrigued. We all seem to have thought the same thing – I’m going to have to break out the Kindle and find out wtf is going on! That Lynch and his mind control!
      I have mixed feelings about Sabetha. Sometimes I really sympathise with her and feel that she has a bit of a raw deal and then at others I wish she’d chill out some! Similarly I swing from thinking Locke is cute with his doting-wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve love but then he goes back to totally annoying and I want to shake him.
      Lynn 😀

      • Lisa (@EffingRainbow)

        I’m in agreement on that last part. I may not particularly like Sabetha, but there are moments throughout the book where I’ve wanted to slap Locke sensible over her! That said, despite all the discussion and the opposite viewpoints that are turning up out of this, I think it’s a mark of a story and characters well written, that we care so much at all! So whatever happens, I think we’ll have gotten our money’s worth. 😀

      • lynnsbooks

        Haha, you’re not wrong. This is the second readalong for Scott Lynch – didn’t do one from Lies of Locke Lamora – which is a pity now I think about it because all this discussion opens up so many other avenues that you might not have explored on your own!
        Still, one readalong at a time hey!
        Lynn 😀

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  4. tethyanbooks

    That would be creepy, if he started having nightmares of all the dead, with their sins written on their eyes.

    I think Sabetha realizes that this is mostly something she has to come to terms with herself. That’s why she hadn’t talked to Locke yet (until now), and why she’d been mostly just focusing on training and not trying to usurp leadership back or start problems in the group. I suppose that’s probably why she wanted to be a priest– she wanted one thing that was hers, that she could be proud of. Maybe not the best motivation, but the rejection has still got to hurt.

    But while I agree that the situation is not really Locke’s fault, it does sort of become partially his problem if they want to start a relationship together. I suppose he could back off and wait for her to deal with these issues, but I don’t think either of them really want to wait the years that could take. I’m guessing that not really dealing with these things might be what causes their split later on.

    • lynnsbooks

      You’re probably right about what eventually causes the split. They definitely need to find a way to communicate better. And, it would probably be better if Locke did back off a little – give Sabetha a chance to chase him for a change.
      Lynn 😀

      • Redhead


        Locke is totally dim about the whole thing. Sure, it’s sort of not his fault, when he first came to the glass burrow, how could have he possibly known he was usurping Sabetha? But yeah, now that he *does* know, he needs to take some responsibility, at least going forward.

        Sabetha chase Locke? She’s way too proud. it’ll never happen.

      • lynnsbooks

        I was thinking about this again, as you do, and I can sort of see why Sabetha didn’t confess how she felt about everything earlier. The thing is that saying something like that is really hard because it kind of looks like petty jealousy so I don’t think Sabetha would have wanted to put her feelings on show and have everyone think of her like that – especially because I don’t think she was being jealous. She’s just honestly feeling a little bit hurt maybe. OMG – I have to stop analysing this now!
        Lynn 😀

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  6. Genki Jason

    Orphan’s Moon: “so when he ended up standing up with Sabetha it was almost WTF you doing dude – sit down already!”

    This made me laugh! 😀

    Locke does want the priesthood, it came across as a secret hope he nurtured whereas Sabetha was more open and bold about her desires so it unsettled Locke. I think Lauren brings up a good point – a lot of the participants women and are seeing things from Sabetha’s perspective and almost forgetting about Locke.

    Across the Amathel: “All we seem to have so far is a highly civilised and accomplished race of people who disappeared “

    The Eldren have all the hallmarks of the Elder Gods from Cthulhu mythos so it makes me think of shoggoths. They are bad news. Sort of like the Xenomorph and those big blue dudes/Space Jockeys from Prometheus!

    • lynnsbooks

      I know, I read Lauren’s thinking about Locke really wanting the priesthood. I must confess that I hadn’t picked up that – probably read it too quickly or something. I sort of just thought he stood in the wrong spot at the wrong time – or more to the point didn’t know whether to stand down or not because he wasn’t sure how Sabetha would feel about it!
      I can’t wait for more information on the Eldren – I have this suspicion that Lynch will have come up with something good!
      Lynn 😀

  7. Redhead

    I love that we’re getting all of this “from Locke’s point of view” and “from Sabetha’s point of view” discussion. we could focus on the banter, on the tricks, on the action, but we’re focusing on the characterization! I LOVE IT!

    I think Sabetha had been planning and studying for the priesthood for a while. And Locke didn’t decide until that moment, that it was something he was interested in. He thought he was showing off for her, she thinks he’s stealing something more from he. Locke is impulsive AND a crappy communicator.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yep he is!
      And, yes, all this focusing on the characters is great. It’s what makes a really good novel for me – the characters and all this discussion just opens it up so much more than individual reading – all these different viewpoints and little nuances that I didn’t pick up but somebody else did. I’ve gone backwards and forwards about how I feel for Locke and Sabetha. So, I’ve decided I’ll just think about Jean for a little bit…. mmmmmm
      Lynn 😀

  8. Amy

    Time travel, I like this theory. I didn’t mind the info dump since it’s something I want to know about. The Eldren are so mysterious and interesting that I can get over it, also I want to know more now!

    • lynnsbooks

      Yes, you can see it’s a bit of a shameless infodump but like you said I didn’t really mind either.
      Lynn 😀

  9. Ines

    I thought I left a comment to your post…
    Oh well.

    You’re right, it is an age old thing women do – supposing men can read their minds while most of the time they aren’t even sure what it is they want.
    Someone mentioned in one of the posts how she feels out of the circle of guys, and I also find it true. I think she loves them all like brothers, except for Locke, but she’s somehow drifting more and more apart from them.
    I can’t help but think we have no idea what drives her because she’s hiding something.

    • lynnsbooks

      You’re right – Sabetha does seem to be an enigma. That’s why I can’t quite decide my feelings for her. It’s also probably why I quite like Jean as he seems so straightforward.
      Lynn 😀

  10. suecccp

    1. There was a kind of voodoo feel to the whole scene, wasn’t there? I was almost expecting a chicken to get sacrificed.

    2. I agree – Sabetha losing out to nobody would have been marginally worse for her, but I can’t help feeling that Chains knows stuff about her the we are not party to because it was a secret from Locke.

    3. The idea that the Eldren drew too much attention to themselves is certainly intriguing, but it does explain why the Bondsmagi are not ruling the world and using magic to do absolutely everything so I am quite happy with it. I didn’t feel like this was too much of a boring info-dump, so I would have been quite happy for more dumping because there is so much about this world that I want to know.

    4. I like your analogy to pushing chicks out of a nest – these guys need to understand how serious life is and start to take it seriously.

    6. I agree that both of them could do with a good dose of relationship advice, but they are young and inexperienced and riddled with hormones, so I suppose we can’t blame them. Plus, it makes them so much more interesting to read.

    • lynnsbooks

      The ‘riddled with hormones’ part definitely makes them interesting to read.
      I seriously hope we find out more about the Eldren and I like the point you make about the fear of the unknown keeping the Bondsmagi in check – I hadn’t thought about that – I suppose they would be absolutely running amok otherwise.
      Lynn 😀

  11. nrlymrtl

    I’ve been making the rounds all week. Finally over here to play!

    I also thought of Lynch and Locke when Locke got called out for always choosing a name that begins with L. Most authors say there is a part of themselves in every character, but I have to wonder if Locke has the most of Lynch.

    I also loved how everyone shut up when Chains told them he was kicking them out one way or the other – going to Espara for a job (temporarily) or going to get kicked out permanently. I bet all their brains were stuttering on that one.

    I had forgotten about the oysters and snails. Hmmm… the biologist in me really wants to picture this, but I am slamming down the iron gate on that image, thank you very much! Also doing the same on those trained monkeys :).

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, the pin dropping moment. I loved that he actually went to the trouble of dropping a pin! He really had had enough of them all.
      Lynn 😀

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