Publishing Info: July 31, 2007 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 30, 2014
Related Posts: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1), The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard #3)
Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, target 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.
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.
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?
I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Locke Lamora // Character Obsessions: Jobs, capers, money, friendship.
Locke is just absolutely wonderful. He’s loyal to his friends & crew, absolutely hilarious, and somewhat ruthless. I love that he’s an expert grifter and his friendship with Jean is always top notch.
Jean Tannen // Character Obsessions: Protecting, brute force, friendship.
I still love Jean but I think I was more about Locke in this book whereas I LOVED Jean in book one. I feel like he played more of a supporting role to Locke, which he still did in LIES, but in the first book we got to know so much more about him. It was also harder since Locke really took the lead on so many things here. But sigh. The bromance.
Kept Me Hooked On: Pirates! I actually realized I haven’t read very many pirate books… The pirate section doesn’t happen until a little later in the book but it was really a lot of fun! Of course I ended up picturing Locke with a Captain Jack Sparrow flair every once in a while. Can’t help it!
Left Me Wanting More: Heist. RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES was definitely a bit more playing with identities, feeling people out, working plans that take a very long time… So not as much immediate thievery and heists. That was maybe one thing that I really missed.
I absolutely, positively love this series. (Well, so far from what I’ve read in two books.) I can’t recommend it enough!
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(Click the cover to see my review!)