Publishing Info: October 8, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Amazon, Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 24, 2014
Related Posts: The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1), Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard #2)
With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.
Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body - though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean's imploring - and the Bondsmage's mention of a woman from Locke's past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.
Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha - or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.
To kick off this review, I just need to say that I adore these books. They’re so rejuvenating for me and SO much fun to read (listened to this one entirely on audio. Love Michael Page). I loved every single book so far and things are getting curiouser and curiouser as we delve into each character more and learn more of the history of this world. That being said, THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES so far is my least favorite of the series… but it’s kind of like saying Chamber of Secrets is my least favorite Harry Potter book — I love each and every book in this series, they’re wonderful to read, and I always want to learn more about It’s very different from the first book and also from the second in a couple ways.
THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES has quite a few new things going for it. We still get a taste of Locke’s past in the interludes, but in this book it’s MUCH more prevalent… in fact, it’s an entire half of the book complete with a full plot which goes from start to finish. I wasn’t as much of a fan of that because as much as I learned about Locke and Sabetha (YES, we finally get to see her both in the past and in the present), I really felt like we spent more time in the interludes than the actual current timeline and that left a bit to be desired. RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES left us with SO many questions, urgent anticipation of what would happen next, and more hints at Locke’s past so although I don’t need ALL of the answers in one book, I had kind of hoped for a bit more of those things spaced throughout book three. Instead it seemed like interludes and pieces here and there of Locke’s current story and then BAM. Last quarter of the book we get tons of info! But it was very interesting stuff.
I also was er… NOT a fan of Sabetha and mostly that’s Locke’s fault, actually. She was everything I look for in a badass lady except the back and forth with Locke bothered me. It was a bit too much toying (and hesitation on both sides) that drew out this non-relationship over several years so the reader experiences it in both past and present. I don’t usually mind that but I felt like Locke pined a bit TOO much and the fact that I only got to know her through Locke’s eyes… it sort of tainted her character. She was up on a pedestal in Locke’s eyes and so I wanted to knock her down. She really did deserve some of the praise but it was overkill and it made me annoyed. I wish I could have seen her in action and gotten to know her beforehand so I could have witnessed how amazing she was firsthand. Locke was so in love with her that I chalked any greatness Sabetha may have held to Locke’s fascination and I felt like I didn’t really get to know her in the best way I could. 3
I also really, really missed the capers and heists and all that is thievery, etc. Yes, they are still working on a job but alas. It’s not really a main focus… It is but it isn’t. The jobs featured in THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES are definitely more long cons or don’t really kick it into high gear until the end so I felt like I was left wanting so much more trickery and cleverness throughout the whole book.
The good news is that we definitely get to learn more about Locke and his mysterious past. The bad news is that it’s literally the last few chapters. I enjoyed it and holy cow do I need book four now, but I also felt like it was a bit rushed. Especially seeing how the book ends, I wished for much less time in the interludes (which even after the book ends seem somewhat pointless other than to show Locke and Sabetha’s relationship) and a whole lot more time in the present story line. I felt confused that the interludes were a totally separate plot and didn’t seem to have importance to the main story line of Locke, Jean, and the debt they are now in. The reveals and details at the end were really interesting but I would have liked to have been set up more for them and had that little taste earlier instead of just a series of reveals all at the end.
The review may seem a bit harsh, but I really did still love THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES. I think things get difficult as a series goes on because you don’t want to repeat the exact same story or structure in each book and have things feel boring and predictable but at the same time, I’m not good at adapting to change within a series. I’m assuming we’re going to see more of Sabetha in future books so I hope we’re past this irritating longing stage and the character relationships can really being to develop again (it was to have those same anxious feelings repeat themselves over and over again throughout the book). That being said, I’m just in love with Scott Lynch’s writing and his books and you better believe I am dying for the fourth book (whose pub date has yet to be determined. GAH).
“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! 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 // Character Obsessions: Health, debt, loyalty, trickery, Sabetha.
Well. Locke. I knew the obsession over Sabetha was coming but boy, it was still not easy to read. It could have been worse but it was hard to see him going so mad over a girl. Blegh. ALSO? These things we learn about Locke at the end? I’m not entirely sure how I feel about them. There’s still a lot more to discover and sort out but it really did kind of throw me for a loop. I guess we’ll have to see how everything shakes out!
Sabetha // Character Obsessions: Strategy, honor, pride, winning.
Oh, dear Sabetha. I knew going in she probably wasn’t going to be my favorite but — Locke? Lynch? — really sort of set it up so that she was hard to like. There are plenty of ways I can see liking her… Like for instance, maybe if I could read from her POV (not saying that should be in the book, but it would help me get to know her)? Or maybe the general audience isn’t supposed to like her because it seems like no one I know who reads this series does. She actually is pretty badass and I don’t hate her but I’m having a hard time feeling more than meh.
Kept Me Hooked On: Adult fantasy. Even though it’s the third book, I’m still impressed with how into this series I am! Aside from some mysteries here and there, I haven’t read adult books in forever and I love that I’m getting into fantasy even more. The variety is awesome!
Left Me Wanting More: Bromance. Always more bromance!!! Especially when I’m not thrilled with the love interest. More friendships, less pining, please.
If you’re already a fan of this series, you should definitely read the book, of course. If you haven’t started it yet, don’t be put off by the review! I did have my gripes but the series is soooo much fun!
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(Click the cover to see my review!)