This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele - and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior...and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house's cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors...straight to Requin's teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb - until they are closer to the spoils than ever.
But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo's secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough.
©2008 Scott Lynch; (P)2009 Tantor
Audible has opened up a whole new world of reading that I could not make work in the traditional page turning world. I am on a mission to listen to a wide variety of adventures, mysteries, thrillers, classics, etc. Thank you Audible!
First of all Scott Lynch is an excellent story teller. I found both books to be among the best I have listened to. There is significantly strong language, but I found it fit with the characters and the story. The thing I liked best in this series is that the author did not waste the readers time reviewing the story of the first book. Too many authors spend too much time recapping the story line of the past book so people who did not read the first book can be caught up, but not Mr. Lynch. If you did not read the first book you will miss out on a lot and likely find yourself confused at times. Thank you for rewarding those who begin a series at the beginning and know the details. I agree with the other reviews in that the narration by Michael Page is superb and makes the story come to live. I highly recommend and will be anxiously waiting for the other books in the series to be released!
I have been a member on Audible for a very long time and this is the first review I have ever written.
RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES has been one of the best books that I have listened to in years. I personally do not like the use of the "F" word, but in this piece and its predecessor I did not mind it so much. I have stopped reading other books for much less, but once I started THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA I could not stop until I listened to RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES.
Do yourself a favor, listen to both books available in this series and see if I know what I am talking about.
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I had barely finished the first book before I immediately downloaded the sequal, and while it was a good and entertaining listen, it sadly felt diminished by the awesome experience I had with its predecessor. This book is exciting and fun and written and narrated just as well as the first, but there was just something missing that made me love it a little less than the first. I dont know if it was because I missed all the childhood stories, or perhaps I just missed Chains, but I let this story languish a bit whereas with the first one I nearly ended up with my earbuds permanently fixed to my head. Its a good story, and its more of the same, though I have to admit it lost itself in the middle and dedicated a significant amount of time building up story that never seemed to really pan out, but all in all this was still a good listen, sadly, it just wasnt the first.
Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!
Posted under "The Lies of Locke Lamora" and "Red Seas Under Red Skies" (Books 1 and 2 of "Gentleman Bastards").
There are so many good and accurate reviews of both these books, I hesitate to add my 2 cents, but am so enthusiastic about them--and about the imminent release (Fall 2013) of the third book in the series, "A Republic of Thieves"--that I decided to pony up.
The writing is exquisite. It requires concentration. Scott Lynch moves masterfully between characters and time frames. The con games the protagonists play are complicated but ultimately, weirdly believable. There are scenes of surpassing beauty and events of excruciating brutality. These are not books to lull yourself to sleep with (unless you want some real nightmare images floating around your brain).
The narration by Michael Page is first-class. I've listened to a couple of other books he's narrated and always thought he was good, but for these books, he really stepped it up. Writing this good deserves time and thought in the interpretation, and Page delivers. A match made in audio heaven.
"Lies" should be read before "Red Seas," but each is complete and satisfying in itself. This is a good thing, because there have been 5 years between "Red Seas" and the forthcoming volume. Lynch's website lists a proposed 7-volume arc for this series, and he's apparently filling in with some novellas (the first of which are scheduled for publication in winter 2014). I wish Scott Lynch the best. I look forward to a long stretch of enjoying his books, especially if he can maintain the incredibly high writing and plotting standards of the first two.
Scott Lynch's debut novel, THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA, was a rollicking good read with an inventive world, great characters, and its share of poignant moments. Lynch has kept the momentum going strong in this follow-up, following the heroes to a brand new cityscape where new heists are hatched and intrigues plotted. The plot does sag a bit at times, but it's always redeemed by Lynch's powerful writing and witty dialogue.
Michael Page's narration captures the mood and characters perfectly. He makes you forget you're listening to a narration and opens a window directly onto Lynch's colorful world.
Thoroughly enjoyable, gritty adventure fantasy with a couple of hero rogues. The narrator does one of the best jobs of capturing the characters I have heard on Audible. Read the (equally good) prequel "The Lies of Locke Lamorra" first. Highly recommended!
Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide)
I’ve only read two books but this is already quickly creeping onto the list of my favorite series of all time… Oh, who are we kidding. It wasn’t slow and it’s already my favorites list. Scott Lynch is pretty genius when it comes to the Gentleman Bastard series. It has all of my favorite things: humor, heists, capers, bromance, action, friendships, cleverness, wit, fantasy, world building — honestly the only big thing that’s missing is romance and (who would think I’d say this but) I’m not missing it at all! I’m enjoying everything else in this series that I don’t think the books are lacking anything whatsoever.
Okay, so Red Seas Under Red Skies is the second book in this fantastic series and it’s set up just a tiny bit different than book one, THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. In LIES, we mostly get the story of Locke in what is present-day in the book and experience several flashback chapters to get glimpses of Locke’s past and how he ended up where he did. In RED SEAS, the flashback chapters are still present but featuring a different past… The book opens up with a specific scene that leaves the audience on a cliffhanger for ALMOST THE ENTIRE BOOK. (Scott Lynch is also a master at book-within-book cliffhangers soooo. Lovely. But really, I do love it even though it kills me.) The rest of the book slowly works its way forward to the opening scene and the flashbacks divulge what happened in the years and months prior to the current story line. I really love this structure. It adds an element of suspense and the feeling of a cliffhanger without actually cliffhangering readers!
RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES is different than THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. I mean, how can it not be? I was trolling Goodreads trying to figure out exactly what words I could possibly say about this book (since, you know, I didn’t have coherent thoughts) and if I had actually been able to form those thoughts, Patrick Rothfuss would have taken them right out of my head. He said, “… I can see why people in general and me in specific might have been a little ‘meh’ on this book. We were all butterflies-in-tummy tingly after reading Lies of Locke Lamora. We loved it, and we wanted to see the same thing again. Which I now realize is silly. I don’t think I knew that then.” That thought right there is SO true (and really how true of and second book in a series). I fell in love with THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA so I expect and hope for all of those same elements in the next book in the series… But of course the second book has to be different! I think it’s hard for readers to experience those different settings (Tal Verrar and on the water versus Camorr) and characters (well, I won’t mention specifics for fear of spoiling books one AND two, but we do see a different cast of characters as well) and NOT compare all those things to book one. THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA was where we fell in love so why wouldn’t you want to see more of that?
I digress… thankfully, I didn’t feel any “second book syndrome” with RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES. Yes, there were definitely things that were different and I didn’t always fall right into the swing of things because I did miss the old settings and the old characters… But there was always Locke & Jean and there were always capers, heists, plans, and humor abound. I still loved every second of it and I think no matter where Scott Lynch takes this series (please, oh please don’t take it somewhere strange and make me regret saying this), I will enjoy it as long as Locke & Jean stay together and continue planning epic jobs.
The plotting always amazes me with these books. To have story lines overlap, twist and turn, jump forward and backward, and never once do I get confused. In fact, it only heightens my enjoyment of the books and continues to impress me when everything comes back together and all falls into place. The characters are also always outstanding. Locke and Jean continue to grow as main characters and really every secondary character is just so colorful and dynamic. Even the cat gets a bit of character development! (“Your cats! Give us all your gods-damned cats!” Seriously. Always laughing. I love these books. (Just read them and you’ll get it.))
I said before that I didn’t even miss the fact that there wasn’t a romance in THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA and well… there’s a hint of one in RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES. I WON’T EVEN TELL YOU WHO OR HOW so don’t even ask me (honestly, just read the books, people) but that was my ONE minor “complaint” (I’m not really complaining). I just love the bromance aspect so much that I’m like “Pshhhh, romance. Please.” But! I suspect that will have to happen sooner or later! (Look at me, griping about an eventual romance!)
RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES was a second book. Well, it was just a fantastic book in general, but also a great follow-up to THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. True, LIES is where I first fell in love with Locke, Jean, and this whole fantasy world, but I can tell that I’ll grow to appreciate different things in each book and I know I’ll keep falling in love along the way. I’ve read two books so far and I just cannot recommend this series enough. I’m trying to pace myself since book three is out now and book four’s release date is TBD… and then there are more books after that. It’s hard not to dive in all at once, but I will do my best to restrain myself! Hey, I managed to turn this review into something coherent, so that leaves us hope, right?
Red Seas Under Red Skies continues the adventures of Locke and Jean. This novel tells its story through to completion but manages to still feel part of a larger story-arc. It very organically deals with the repercussions of the first novel and sets up some interesting questions for future novels to explore, all while telling its own story.
While Scott Lynch does an excellent job of not pulling punches (he's willing to maim or kill his darlings), I did foresee one death coming from miles away, because it felt like it was necessary to maintain a status quo. Except for that one instance, the fates of the characters were pleasantly surprising and their confidence games, always amusing, created results that I didn't expect but feel completely reasonable.
Michael Page does a wonderful job narrating again, vividly portraying the characters and adding a lot of dimension while not distracting from the story with absurd dramatization.
The second of The Gentleman Bastard series is just as cleverly written as the first! I am duly impressed. Lynch's treatment of the death of very close friends--friends more like brothers--in the first book was very fast-paced. You never really had the chance to see our heroes grieve. But in this book, you get that chance. The characters are still cocksure and invincible, but they've definitely grown through their adversities. The greatest appeal to me is the deep abiding friendship that men seem to be able to maintain in spite of each other. They share strengths and vulnerabilities and accept each other's frailties and faults while simultaneously ranting at each other for them. Yet, they remain true. It's an enviable trait to have that depth of loyalty for one's friends. The same narrator performs this reading, and once again is stupendous! Worth savoring every delicious moment!
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