Review: The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

The Republic of Thieves is the third book in the Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch, and the last book that is out currently.

Plot:

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.

Opinion:

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.

Rating:

8.7/10

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Review: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

I had only read Deerskin by Robin McKinley previously, and I bought The Blue Sword because I liked her writing style and storytelling. It was a very good decision on my part, if I do say so myself.

Plot:

Harry Crewe is an orphan of high standing who is sent, by her brother, to live in Damar, a desert country shared by the native Hillfolk and the Homelanders. Her life there is quiet, and somewhat dull, but she grows to love the land even so. Then, one night, she is taken from the home of her caretakers in the night, by Corlath, the Hillfolk King. She knows not his purpose, and neither does he. All he knows is he’ll need her in the war to come. Continue reading

Review: Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay is the third book by this author that I’ve read so far, and as always, Kay delivers.

Plot:

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.

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Review: Vincalis the Agitator by Holly Lisle

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.

Plot:

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.

Opinion:

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.

Rating:

7.8/10 

Review: Uncharted – Thief’s End

I like the Uncharted games. I don’t necessarily love them as much as I love, for instance, The Witcher III or God of War, but I will happily devote some hours of my time playing as Nathan Drake. So it was only natural that I bought the final instalment (featuring Nate at least).

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Review: Aquaman

I’ll be honest, I’m not really interested in DC content. Probably because I grew up with Marvel related things a lot more. I didn’t read the comics, but I did love the Animated X-men series and knew about more of the characters of the Marvel universe than I did about the DC universe. Sure I knew who Superman and Batman were, and I remember watching Smallville for a few episodes before I missed another few and didn’t know what the hell was going on when I got back to it. But the DC universe just never really had any pull on me. But the trailer for Aquaman caught my interest, so I decided, why not?

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