I’m enjoying his debut right now.
I’m enjoying his debut right now.
The Republic of Thieves is the third book in the Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch, and the last book that is out currently.
Locke Lamora has been slowly wasting away since his last adventure with cohort and best friend Jean Tannen didn’t pan out the way they’d planned. He’s fine with the fact that he’s dying, but Jean isn’t. Much to their horror and surprise a mysterious Bondsmage appears and offers them an opportunity they can’t possibly refuse. After all, Locke Lamora is dying.
I liked the way the book jumped back and forth between the past and the present. In the present we get shenanigans between Jean, Lock and Sabetha, under the watchful eyes of the Bondsmagi. In the past we get to see almost all the Gentleman Bastards from the first book again, accompanied by some new characters in the form of actors.
This is the first actual appearance of Sabetha on the page, in both past and present. We’ve heard Locke and Jean speak of her, but I’ve never really had an image of her in my mind. I also didn’t realise how big a part she used to be of the Gentleman Bastards, and how entangled she already was with Locke.
I’m not sure if I like their relationship. I like their friendship, and the fact that they work well together when involved in schemes. But their “love” relationship seems to be a hurdle race that never ends. Wouldn’t it be better for all involved to just give up? To call it quits? I mean, it must be so exhausting for both of them, this game they are playing. And while I could understand some of the points Sabetha made, in both the present and the past, I’m not quite sure if she believes that Locke actually loves her. I myself am uncertain it’s not just an obsession.
The story itself was captivating, and it kept me guessing who would win the eventual vote up until the last second. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, when it comes out.
Some non-fiction included this time.
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay is the third book by this author that I’ve read so far, and as always, Kay delivers.
Shen Tai has been labouring for two years to lay at rest the bones of the thousands of Kitan and Taguran warriors that lie naked at Kuala Nor, in honour of his late father. He labours day after day, and listens to the angry and sad voices of the ghosts of the slain at night. Soldiers from both sides of the conflict, and both fortresses on either side, honour his hard work, and help by providing provisions and whatever he might need. The official mourning period is almost over, but Shen Tai has not yet thought of what he would do when it is. Then a princess of Kitan, now one of the Tarugan leader’s wives, gifts him with 250 Sardian horses. A most dangerous gift that causes Tai’s world to change forever.
Vincalis the Agitator by Holly Lisle is the prequel to The Secret Texts trilogy, consisting of Diplomacy of Wolves, Vengeance of Dragons and Courage of Falcons. It’s been a while since I read the trilogy, but I remember I enjoyed it, and Vincalis the Agitator had been on my TBR list for a while.
Two boys from very different backgrounds meet and become friends. Unbeknown to them, their friendship will change the very world they inhabit, which can be felt even 1000 years in the future. Their names? Wraith and Solander. One is immune to magic, and one has the ambition to become the ruling authority on magic. Together they set forth to do good, but trigger something much bigger than themselves.
This book was an entertaining one; I was never forcing myself to read it, but there was something missing for me. Maybe it felt like that because the writing is a bit aloof, distant. Although we are always in the heads of the characters, good and bad, we aren’t in their hearts. We understand their feelings, but don’t feel their feelings. Still, it didn’t keep me from reading it.
Wraith and Solander are both compelling characters, and I like how Holly never forgets how they met and why Solander decides to let Wraith into his life. He has a use for him, and even when they forge their strong bond, that is always in the background. Solander is always studying Wraith, and Wraith lets him. Wraith has lofty dreams of freeing the Warreners, who are being kept as literal fuel for the magic of the Dragons. The ruling class of the Empire, to which Solander and egotistical Luercas both belong. Even when they were growing apart, I could still imagine them coming through for each other. And they did, in more ways than one.
Jess was….well…at first I disliked her infatuation with Wraith a lot. I mean, I never came around to her LOVE for him, but she did try, at least when she was older, to be a good friend to him. And I like that she had a period of growth, that she came to see his dream of saving the Warreners as not just a pipe dream, but a necessity. Velyn on the other hand, man. I liked her at first, but as soon as she showed more and more of her real self, I couldn’t help but want her to disappear of the stage. Not dying or something like that, because I did feel some empathy for her plight – suffering abuse in a marriage you can’t escape – but just going into hiding for all eternity or something. She got on my nerves the way she just kept blaming Wraith for all the bad things in her life when it’s literally all her own damn fault.
The Hars Empire was a good reflection of what would happen when society decides that comfort and security are more important than the lives of “undesirables”. To use not just innocent people’s bodies, but also their souls, to power magic to keep your subjects’ lives comfortable? It evoked the painful history of our world, in which certain peoples were seen as lesser, as subhuman, as not worthy of life itself. Hell, there are still people who believe that about others who don’t look, sound or think like them.
This prequel can be read as a standalone; you need no previous knowledge of The Secret Texts trilogy. But because I missed a certain spark, I don’t rate this book as highly as I might’ve otherwise. There were times where I almost didn’t dare read on, because I didn’t think there was going to be a good ending, but it kept calling me back. So it’s not a bad book. Just not as good as I hoped it would be. Either way, it was still an entertaining read.
The first new additions of 2019.