The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

The Republic of Thieves, published by Del Ray in October 2013, is the third book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence, written by Scott Lynch. BEWARE, there be spoilers here. If you haven’t read the first two, I would recommend either not reading this review or not caring about spoilers.

The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3)

The main plot of the novel deals with Locke, who was poisoned at the end of book two, and Jean trying anything and everything to find a cure to the poison. Awesomely, they turn to the dangerous and exciting Bondsmagi to help cure him–in exchange for a political stint attempting to keep their government power. So, while the magic and Bondsmagi are cool, the political aspect is less interesting, except, of course, for their silly and dangerous shenanigans keeping things interesting.

Where Red Seas Under Red Skies had a fun naval aspect, this installment has a fun dramatic aspect. The Interludes, or flashbacks, tell the story of Locke’s troupe being sent to Espara–and where Locke Lamora took place in a quasi-fictional Venice, Espara could be a quasi-fictional Spain–to learn how to act in one of Chains’s friends’ acting troupes. They also learn how to perform in a real life situation of nobles and commoners, which validates their knowledge in the first novel.

Something that I’ve been looking forward to since the first book is the appearance of Sabetha, Locke’s long-lost-lady-love. Her presence in The Republic of Thieves opened up drama and character development for Locke, although leaving Jean a little to the side for the first half of the novel. Sabetha is sneaky and fun, and the flashbacks with her are incredibly revealing to her and Locke’s messed up relationship. However, Jean even comments to Sabetha how he feels left out and not really like he is her friend. I would really like to see their relationship expand in the next novel, The Thorn of Emberlain. 

Most everything that was excellent about the first two books continues to be excellent in book three. The characters are interesting, Lynch’s worldbuilding is great, and the flashbacks are superb. Sabetha was an interesting addition, but I preferred the female characters in book two (pirate women, strong, all-around badasses). Overall, this wasn’t my favorite book in the series, but it was definitely a strong addition. If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, it’s not a waste to continue reading it. The end of the novel did open up some really interesting possibilities for book four–I don’t know where Lynch is going to go with it, but I suppose that’s half the fun!

One AWESOME thing I must note is that I went to CONvergence 2014 in Minnesota this summer and met Scott Lynch. He was doing a signing for the book, and I just got Red Seas Under Red Skies signed because that’s my favorite Gentleman Bastard book so far. I learned that Scott is the nicest guy ever and is really hilarious and talks just the way he writes–in extended narrative.

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