Audie Award Finalist, Fantasy, 2014
After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover, and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi. It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke's own long-lost love.
Sabetha is Locke's childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke's life, and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds, Sabetha has just one goal-to destroy Locke forever. The Gentleman Bastard sequence has become a literary sensation in fantasy circles, and now, with the third book, Scott Lynch is set to seal that success.
©2008 Scott Lynch (P)2013 Tantor
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
This is not a book which would have demanded my complete devotion had it been the first in the Gentleman Bastard series. [You should not even consider jumping into the series with this book!] The verbal pyrotechnics are as delightful as ever; characters grow in fascinating and satisfying ways, and the whole thing makes perfect sense and amuses throughout. But there is definitely a sense that, after a harrowing ordeal, we are traveling through a transitional adventure in preparation for an exquisite confrontation which is yet to come. The plotting and execution by our beloved ne'er-do-wells is decidedly thin and even uninspired, definitely falling short of the grand and intricate designs to which Lynch has accustomed us. There is very little at stake and one could easily sum up the essential action of the book in a couple of brief paragraphs. As a result I was somewhat disappointed after having salivated a messy little puddle on my desk in anticipation of the new adventure.
Until I reached the afterword. Scott Lynch knows how to twist a plot and, in the process, our guts. Republic of Thieves takes care of a lot of necessary business, embedding it in a great deal of wonderful verbal and operational repartee. It gives us Sabatha in marvelous detail and complication. And then it leaves us with a gasp and a shudder which promises an end to trivialities and easy triumphs. I'm drooling again.
Oh, and Michael Page is superb as usual.
The Scott Lynch/Michael Page combination is outstanding and the first two books of the Gentleman Bastard series are amongst my favorites. I love the dark humor spread throughout the stories and by now both Locke and Jean seem like old friends of mine. I was excited to see this book on Audible and relished the opportunity to catch up with the Gentlemen Bastards and find out what they had gotten themselves into now. Now that I am done, I found that Michael Page was his usual brilliant self but unfortunately, this time around, Scott Lynch's story was not quite up the level of the first two books.
Things start off with Locke in bad shape and Jean doing everything he can to save Locke's life. Locke runs out of options and in the end must strike a deal he is sure to regret in order to save himself. Locke is tasked with influencing the outcome of an election that wasn't very interesting to me. Luckily a lot of the book is also spent on excellent flashback sequences to the early days of the Gentlemen Bastards. These were entertaining peeks into Locke and Jean's younger days and also introduce Sabetha, Locke's childhood sweetheart. We learn a lot about Sabetha and she plays a pivotal role throughout the book, both past and present. The one constant in both the past and present sequences was Sabetha's relationship with Locke, but it just wasn't enough to carry the day for me.
If you love the first two books in the series and you keep your expectations in check then you will find that The Republic of Thieves is a solid, but not spectacular, offering. This is a story stuck between the past and the present and based on the ending is most likely more of a setup for book 4 than anything else.
After the first book in the series I was looking forward to second and third books of the series, hoping for more of what made "Lies of Locke Lamora" so enjoyable - great, enterprising characters, sudden plot twists and schemes within schemes.
Unfortunately second and third books left me increasingly more and more dissatisfied. The plots grew less ... focused ... and characters less likable with every passage.
Oh sure, there were occasional clever twists and surprises. But that doesn't seem to have helped with the overall impression.
At last, Audible has published the third audiobook in the Gentlemen Bastard series, "The Republic of Thieves." It was with keen anticipation that I acquired this audiobook, because unlike many other audiobooks I've listened to, I did NOT read the novel in advance. I was determined to make this a "fresh listen," with no prior experience of the work whatsoever.
Why did I do this? Think Christmas.
Listening to each of Lynch's prior works in the series has been astounding. Each unique. Each a must read, or in this case, a must listen. Read my previous reviews on those audiobooks. You'll get the idea.
Okay, so on to Christmas.
Each of tLynch's works in this series were like a Christmas gift. An unexpected, beautifully-wrapped, rich, textured treat I devoured, and frankly couldn't put down until I finished. Fantastic writing? TONS. Wonderfully-written characters and dialogue that actually make sense? Even MORE. Wait! What's this? Well-thought plots and story lines in abundance, for God's sake! Both were grand listens of fantasy, intrigue, plots within plots, action, twists and turns, and much more.
Christmas. Each audiobook was as if it was a gift straight from Lynch to me.
So, I made sure to steer clear of any advance hardback book of this work, or any online advance reading. I really wanted to enjoy this new gift when I opened it.
Was it worth the wait to open this gift?
Yet again, Lynch gives me an early Christmas present! It was definitely worth the wait. This third in the series carries on grandly, tying in the past two works with this, and it did not disappoint. You already know that I don't give spoilers, nor do I sneak in plot lines. Audiobook reviews can be a veritable minefield, ruining the author's hard work and your initial listening experience by becoming a reader's digest version of the listen instead of a review. A review should only tell you the writer's OPINION of the work. Having said this, please take note of my rating for this audiobook. As I've said before, excellent audiobooks earn good ratings, and this is no exception. I am brutal on lesser works, and if you seen my previous reviews, know this.
So, this is one gift that should stay wrapped until YOU unwrap it. No hints. No peeks. No shaking of the box.
With that in mind, will you put a little trust in me when I say that this is one fantastic listen, without giving away anything? I hope so, because both the author and narrator have done their very best in this third of the series, and I do NOT say this lightly. This will no doubt infuriate some readers of this review. To those wonderful people, I say that there are countless reviewers who will give you everything you want, and ruin the audiobook for you. Again, I simply ask for a small amount of trust.
If you do, you'll be glad you opened this gift yourself.
We're almost done here... A final word, if I may...If you've not read the first two books in the series, read my reviews on them, and start with those two audiobooks prior to acquiring this one. I consider them required reading for any fantasy fan.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
If an author is going to make me fall in love with his writing, his characters, and an ongoing saga, he'd better deliver if he makes me wait SIX YEARS for the next installment. Scott Lynch did NOT let me down. Book 3 of the Gentleman Bastard Series brings back Locke and Jean and finally lets us meet the only female GB, Sabetha, Locke's romantic love interest. In addition, The Republic of Thieves provides much more detail about the Bonds Magi and their magic.
If you've read the first two in the series, you don't need much info beyond the fact that The Republic of Thieves (named for a play that is part of the plot line in this novel) picks up right where Red Seas under Red Skies left off, Scott Lynch once again expertly weaves flashbacks of Locke's formative years into the telling of current events, and all the fun confidence games and backstabbing of the past books are once again flamboyantly displayed. There's a bit more romance and a bit less swordplay in this edition of the Locke Lamora adventures, but the witty repartee has not diminished in the slightest. Ah, and you may want to know that Michael Page (always good) is in TOP FORM here - really great narration!
As usual, Lynch ends this chapter conclusively (and as usual, not totally happily) while twisting the reader/listener up for yet another coming episode. And that brings me to my unhappy realization; there are still FOUR more books to come. I am thrilled the adventure will continue and I'm satisfied to wait for the next to be done well, but I am hoping the remainder may come out just a BIT faster.
If you've read the first two books and liked them, by all means pick up the third. If you haven't read The Lies of Locke Lamora, I highly recommend it - a little reminiscent of The Ryria Revelations, but darker.
Funny, Poignant, Surprising
The banter between Jean and Locke has never been funnier while being filled with anguish giving the best' laughter through tears' moment I've had in years!
No belief system is out of bounds for scrutiny. Mr. Lynch can take as long as he likes to write his books if they are as well written as The Republic of Thieves. The twists and turns of this story is a wild ride that I couldn't put down.
My least favorite of the three books out (thus far), I found myself unable to get into the story or care much of what was happening. Book 1 was fabulous. I'm hoping book 4 will be better than the Republic of Thieves.
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