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).