Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, final week of readalong

I’ve had such a lot of fun doing this readalong!  The thing I love about it is it makes you see things in a different way, opens your eyes a bit more and take a proper look around from another perspective or just plain picks up on little nuances that you’ve missed.  The discussion has been awesome and I’m sort of sad it’s over.  But, moving on.  The questions this week are provided by the lovely Allie at Tethyan books and need I point out that plenty of spoilers will be contained below so if you’ve not yet read this book and are planning to do so then please stop reading now! Go on, scoot!

In Espara…

1. The Republic of Thieves:  It’s the first and final performance!  What did you think of the play?  Were you entertained, or eager to get on with the rest of the story?  Also, how do you feel about how the play fits in the novel, in terms of the story and the characters who play the parts?  Well, on the whole I’ve really enjoyed the whole theatre side of the story but by the time it came time for the first performance I was totally wound up about the whole Bouldazi affair!  So, probably didn’t enjoy the show as much as I should have as I was too busy racing ahead to see how they were going to pull it all off.  I think it’s great that Lynch put this story within the story though – just more of what we’ve come to expect about his attention to detail.

2. The Other Performance:  Of course, the GB and company had another important performance to get through—the one that ensures none of them end up hanged!  What was your favorite part of this scheme?  Do you agree with their plan for dealing with Moncraine’s treachery?  I thought it was inspired that they framed Moncraine for the murder – and totally justified.  He left them hanging after all (or he thought he did)!!  Not sure which part was my favourite – it was all a bit fly by the seat of your pants dangerous, I guess I liked having somebody else dress up as Bouldazi and appear on the stage in his clothes and a mask.  When you’re in on the con and know what’s happening you can’t help thinking it just won’t work but if you were watching all this as an innocent bystander you’d have no reason to doubt.  It was also interesting to see that yet again Sabetha played a pivotal role.  You can’t help thinking that’s why Chains admitted a female to the gang (not for this particular scheme of course) but because they needed to be more all rounded – how very articulately phrased! NOT.  I always sort of wondered if Chains meant to take on a female or not.  He didn’t seem equipped to a certain degree and Sabetha was brought up in this all male environment – which was good for her in terms of competition of course – but led to all sorts of complications when it comes to ramant hormones.  If you look at the schemes in Espara though, without Sabetha, everyone would have been in the dirty creek without a paddle!

In Karthain…

3. The Election:  It seems Lovaris was indeed the final trick, and the election is over.  Are you satisfied with how things turned out? Do you wish that the election had focused more on the political problems of Karthain, or are you satisfied with the mudslinging and pranks that went on between Locke and Sabetha? To be honest I’m not really terribly interested in all the politics – I like that it’s included because I think it makes the whole world building more realistic but if it had been any more in depth I probably would have got a bit ‘meh’ about it.  I thought the pranks and mudslinging were the best parts of the whole competition – it’s what I really get out of these books.  All the different ways that Lynch comes up with new ideas for his cons.  I mean, yeah, some of these were greatly simplified compared to previous books but I still loved them and there was this added feeling of camaraderie because it was between Locke and Jean and Sabetha – it just felt more playful somehow, or perhaps just less tense, especially compared with what was taking place in Espara.  I thought it was great that Locke had a scheme that would make the two sides equal.  Of course it would only work if Sabetha topped the poll with one extra vote but it still made me laugh that he came up with that idea – and I thought Sabetha took it really well.  She felt like she’d won – even if only for a few brief moments.

4. The War: Do you have any speculation on what specific issues might have escalated the two Bondsmagi factions rivalry into this kind of violence?  What do you think the surviving Bondsmagi will do next, with all their gathered money and knowledge?  I don’t mind telling you that this part of the story blew me away!  I was like ‘no way’.  What was the competition about then – I suppose it was all just misdirection really.  I think that the more conservative Bondsmagi feel really threatened by this idea that any great show of magic will bring reprisals and they clearly think the Falconer and his following would draw more attention.  It’s going to be so interesting to see what happens next with this.  Plus there was this whole other reference to the lights in the water again – I think when we were looking back at the Falconer as a younger boy and he was looking into the water at one point?  Anyway, totally intriguing and mysterious.

5. Patience: Given the final revelation that Patience does hate Locke for what he did to the Falconer, what do you make of her behavior towards Locke throughout the book?  Do you think her plan of vengeance is well suited to Locke?  What do you make of the Black Amaranth story now, as well as the prophecy she threw on top? She’s basically a bloody raging hypocrite.  Or at least that’s what I thought at first – I figured she was simply mad at him for butchering her son.  There’s no love lost between her and the Falconer though and she wanted him to die –  so I then figured that she was more pissed off at Locke for NOT killing him but simply rendering him powerless.  She even had her little trapdoor to trap the Falconer when he tried to null the pain – so he would be unable to resist?  You have to hand it to her really.  She salved her conscience by telling the Falconer about her little prediction, which she knew he would scorn.  Then she fixed it so that he’d be incapacitated.  Like I say, I think she was simply massively disappointed that he wasn’t dead and was still her problem.  I think she also sees the fact that Locke and Jean didn’t finish off the Falconer as a weakness and one more reason to despise them both.  I just don’t know what to make of the whole prophecy thing.  Part of me thinks she’s just playing with Locke but then part of me thinks she’s just arrogant enough to give him this prediction thinking that he’ll probably decide to ignore it.  Unwittingly of course she could have given him a really invaluable piece of information that could just end up saving him – she’ll be a bit gutted if that turns out to be the case!  And you know that saying about ‘he who laughs last’…

6. The Epilogue: Speaking of vengeance, do you think the Falconer’s vengeance against his mother was merited or excessively cruel, given the circumstances?  On that note, how do you feel about the Falconer’s transformation and possible status as a continuing villain?  I like that Lynch has resurrected the Falconer as the villain again.  He’s a pretty impressive villain.  I absolutely hate the guy – which is what you want from your villains isn’t it.  No sympathy.  The only thing I don’t understand about the scene with the birds at the end is that it made Patience seem weaker than she had done throughout the novel.  Like, when the attack started why didn’t she do one of her mysterious conjuring tricks and simply disappear.  Or, couldn’t she have used the Falconer’s name to stop him – or is it that she really didn’t know it was him behind the attack.  I think that’s probably the only real scene that I had my doubts about.  I wasn’t surprised that the Falconer took the action he did, I was just surprised that Patience didn’t come back with anything – she had five rings after all plus his secret name.

7. Wrapping up:  Thus ends the third book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence.  How do you think it compares with the first two?  In the end, do you prefer the Espara storyline or the Karthain storyline, or did you like them both equally? I don’t know if I could come up with a favourite out of all the books – they all feel so different to each other.  The first was obviously the introduction to them all and it’s just so clever that it’s brilliant.  The second I loved all the pirates and high jinx out at sea.  And now this with two fairly strong stories running parallel.  So insightful into the background of the gang, plus getting to revisit the twins.  I just can’t decide.  Out of the two storylines from RoT I think I probably liked Espara marginally more – I think simply because it had more tension, we got to spend time with the gang again and it was insightful into the Locke/Sabetha situation.

I have to mention the picture at the end – so Sabetha and the woman with the red hair *wiggles eyebrows suspiciously*

And, I loved that little part in the book where the results of the election come in and Losari pulls his rabbit out of the hat and Sabetha and Locke are debating the merits of the situation – I think it’s Locke who says ‘one for the drunkards and philosophers’ (meaning to mull it over!) – it made me laugh because I was thinking obviously we’ll be chewing the fat over this one.  So which are you – the drunkard or the philosopher (or a bit of both, perhaps you only philosophise when you’re in your cups? Or maybe you only drink when you start philosophising??)

So now we have the wait to find out what happens next.  Not that I’m complaining, my mind can come up with all sorts in the meantime and when the books are this good then it’s worth it – all good things to those who wait.  But, if Mr Lynch needs somebody to read over a thing or two in the meantime – well, I’m just saying.  Whatever I’m doing I’ll drop it in a nanosecond.  Yessiree, I’m your woman.

22 Responses to “Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, final week of readalong”

  1. Genki Jason

    1. The whole Boulidazi thing was the exciting part of the Espara timeline. The play just helped in terms of displaying character and world development. It was too dry and formal for anything else!

    2. Yeah, down with Moncraine! I always hated that guy! I think Chains took on the thieves he thought would make an excellent tem. The Sanza’s were great at working the streets and running cons, Jean is brains and brawn, Locke is the face and charisma and Sabetha is highly intelligent, a great all-rounder and has a lot of finesse.

    4. I think we’ll hear less of the Bondsmagi for now but I bet the Falconer will be hunting them down at some point and Locke will team up with some.

    6. I got the feeling from this section that the Falconer had tapped into some hidden power that allowed him to roll over his mother so she would have no response to it.

    • lynnsbooks

      I must admit that I was so surprised when Bouldazi died – I really never saw it coming at all. I thought he would just be around annoying everyone for the duration of the play – which frankly could have become a bit boring.
      Interesting – will the Falconer hunt down the rest of the Bondsmagi or Locke and Jean first. It’ll be exciting to find out. Given his new found invincibility maybe the remaining Magi and the remaining gang will have to club together to stand against him.
      Lynn 😀

      • Genki Jason

        I can see the Falconer hunting down Bondsmagi forcing them to work with Locke and Jean.

      • lynnsbooks

        Well, the thing is, he saw Patience off pretty easily, and he now has the advantage in that nobody knows his true name – which was certainly keeping him in check when Patience was alive. I think he will definitely go after the Bondsmagi – especially after what they’ve done to his own faction. He does seem the type to want revenge!
        Lynn 😀

  2. tethyanbooks

    2. It kind of makes me wonder if Sabetha was more active in getting a place with Chains. She’s definitely ambitious, and would probably have jumped at the chance if she heard what Chains was planning with his new gang. Because it doesn’t seem like he really planned to have a girl. Then again, I think one of them mentioned in this book that what Chains really wanted was a family– so maybe he just picked the kids that he thought would fit with his vision.

    3. I’d agree it was more playful than previous projects we’ve seen! At the end, it seemed that neither Locke nor Sabetha were too concerned by not winning.

    5. That would be amazing, if the prophecy actually allows Locke to avoid some tragic fate. Maybe Patience can be in the afterlife, with her sins written on her eyes, watching Locke succeed, thanks to her useful information!

    6. I assumed it was just too sudden, so she didn’t have time to react. It seems like she could have used his name though, I agree.

    • lynnsbooks

      I can’t help thinking that Lynch is going to use this whole smoke and mirrors thing with us. We’ll all be so busy looking at Locke to see if he’s ‘the one’ that it won’t be him at all – it’ll be Sabetha, or something!
      I hope that Patience has given him some info that he eventually uses – it would be a nice little ‘screw you’ back at her.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Redhead

    1. that has happened to me in every single GB book! I’m so wound up to find out how it ends that I end up reading the last chunk too fast and then have to go back and read it all again.

    4. I had a similar reaction, i was like NO WAY DID THAT JUST HAPPEN! Patience and her faction are really damn serious about making sure the other faction doesn’t do anything stupid. Part of me wonders why she didn’t just kill her son or leave him in the induced coma. Because now he is a massive liability. and an awesome villain!

    6. I too was surprised Patience got taken down by the birds. you’d have thought she would have felt it coming, or felt the magic, or sometimes. Seems like a rather pathetic way for her to die.

    7. I really appreciate that all the books are a little different. Sure, they have similar architecture, lots of flashbacks and such, but in each one the world grows that much larger. One of these days, maybe Locke will notice how big the world is. but i doubt it, he’s too stubborn!

    • lynnsbooks

      1. The thing is – this was my second time reading it and I still raced to the end Doh!
      4. I know – she’s been watching way too many Bond movies – or something – she woke him up so she could gloat a bit and now, well, she’s a bit sorry she did!
      6. It was a pathetic way for her to be taken out. I would have preferred more of a fight between the two but I guess her guard was down.
      7. They’re all similar, and yet all different – I like that Lynch can pull that off.
      I realise this is very early days but I’m so excited about what will come next!
      Lynn 😀

  4. Ines

    1. I also didn’t pay much attention to the play itself, wanted to get to the more thrilling parts. 😉
    5. That is some good reasoning. 🙂 But luckily, we don’t need to care about Patience anymore… 😉

    P.S. Philosophizing when sober just isn’t the same. 😉

    • lynnsbooks

      I mean, I liked the play but once Bouldazi bit the dust I was too interested in how they were going to pull hiding the body off.
      Lynn 😀

  5. The Republic of Thieves read-along part 5 | Violin in a Void

    […] what the rest of the Lynch Mob had to say Tethyan Books Over the Effing Rainbow Lynn’s Books Genki na Hito Little Red Reveiwer Dab of Darkness Theft and Sorcery Coffee, Cookies and Chili […]

  6. Erica Dakin

    I really hope that at some point we’re going to find out *why* Chains got Sabetha in the gang. We sort of know *how* he got her in, but not really why, when it’s been pretty clear for the Sanzas, Locke and Jean.

    • lynnsbooks

      Well Lynch does like to cast us back to the beginning so we could find out – in fact I think we’ll find out more about Sabetha all round. I can’t help thinking she’s got some mysterious past revelation that’s going to sneak up on us.
      Lynn 😀

      • Grace

        Or maybe she saw Chains for what he was instead of who he pretended to be. Once she figured it out, it would put him in a bit of a bind.

  7. nrlymrtl

    Inn the dirty creek without a paddle – ha! Yes, well, we see that Locke and jean have often ended up in that creek since Sabetha left, and in a way, Calo, Galdo, and Bug died in that creek. So, yeah, having a female on the team saved their butts in the past. Maybe Locke and Jean should keep that in mind when and if they take on an apprentice.

    Interesting idea about Patience – is she really pissed at Locke and Jean for NOT killing her son, so that he is still her problem? I like this idea, and it would explain a lot about Patience’s behavior towards them.

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, I never quite picked up that on the first read but on rereading Patience did seem to want the Falconer to meet his end. I couldn’t help feeling that she came across more pissed off that they’d left her still with a problem by failing to kill her son and also maybe she saw it as a weakness?

      I wonder if the books will end with Locke, Jean and Sabetha starting a new gang?
      Lynn 😀

  8. suecccp

    1. I found the description of the play worked really well to ramp up the tension – all those descriptions of the nervous cast and having to wait while they went ahead with the show certainly had my stomach in knots.

    2. Chains always seems pretty liberal to me, so I imagine that Sabetha’s gender had little to do with his choice of her for his gang – he simply picked the best of the best.

    3. I think the playful feeling came from the fact that this was all victimless. In the past they have been stealing or conning someone, but here nobody was actually losing anything.

    4. I can’t help feel in that those lights are significant somehow . . .

    6. I think it showed that Bondsmagi do have a weakness: they have to be prepared for an attack to counteract it. Patience was so surprise by the birds that she had no time to react or plan her escape move.

    7. Yep – I would also be more than happy to volunteer as a beta reader! 😀

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, the play was tense. Even reading it twice I still fairly raced through it.
      You’re probably right about Chains and Sabetha – it probably never even occurred to him that it would round the team out a little. I still can’t help thinking that there was some reason behind her joining though – especially with the whole ‘faking her death’ to get her out from under the hill?
      Good point about No.3 – I never thought about that, but you’re right. No real victims here. In fact the only real losers were the magis whose team didn’t win!

      Lynn 😀

  9. kaitharshayr

    2. You’re right, because we sort of knew what was going on it was very much a ‘but what if someone see’s through it’ situation, but then I guess why would anyone outside think that he was dead. Its a bit of a leap, especially as I’m sure nobles tend to ‘vanish’ for a while as they get busy with some new obsession they have.

    5. I didn’t think about the fact that Patience might be angry at Locke for not finishing the Falconer off. But maybe she also angry at herself too? I mean yes she hates the Falconer, but I think a small part of her could be angry at herself for causing it all and for having to do that to her own son. And its much easier to project you’re anger onto someone else. Its probably all of this and more! A very complex set of emotions there I imagine.

    6. Good point about Patience’s power level and the fact she had his true name, maybe true names only work if the person is present? But the Falconer sort of was present. Maybe she thought she deserved it…? But that doesn’t feel right from what we’ve seen of her. She had so much to do. Also the Falconer? Back on his feet with dreamsteel = terrifying

    • lynnsbooks

      5. Yep, Patience had a heap of hatred going on! The thing is though – she was already planning his downfall before he went – she put the trigger in his brain so that when he tried to stop the pain it would immobilise him and he’d be unable to fight back – at least I sort of read it that way – so she was expecting whoever attacked him to be able to finish the job more easily??
      6. Having thought more about the attack Patience didn’t have any reason to suspect the Falconer so I suppose she wouldn’t have thought to use his name. Plus, she wasn’t expecting an attack, she thought everything would be plain sailing because all her adversaries were eliminated so I suppose she let her guard down. Yes, the Falconer is going to be very dangerous now!
      Lynn 😀

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