So, just finished reading this week’s installments for our weekly readalong of Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies. This readalong is being hosted by the Little Red Reviewer and this week’s questions were provided by Ashley at SF Signal and on twitter at @ohthatashley. For those of you not reading along you should join in the fun the discussions are great and it’s still not too late! However, if you haven’t read either The Lies of Locke Lamora or Red Seas Under Red Skies then you should probably stop reading now because there be spoilers ahead! So, without further ado, brace the mainsail and shiver your timbers (or something like that).
Was anyone else tired after reading this section? (This wasn’t really one of the questions but I couldn’t help answering anyay)
I was exhilarated strangely enough. I felt like making a head long charge, waving a sabre whilst laughing uncontrollably, at a bunch of huge kick ass warrior types. I don’t think that would probably work out too well for me, hell it probably wouldn’t work out well for anyone who didn’t have Jean at their back! But, it’s the way I felt.
1. Locke and Jean’s ability to find themselves at the center of a serious mess seems unparalleled. At this point, do you think that Stragos will get the return he expects on his investment in them?
I love the fact that they’re always in a mess. It seems to me to be the fundamental brilliance of this series. The essence of everything it’s about really. No, I don’t think Stragos will get a return – or at least he will, but just not the one he wants or expects – and I can’t wait!
2. Merrain’s activities after our boys leave Windward Rock are interesting. What do you think her plans are?
I won’t really comment on this because I actually do remember this part of the story and whatever I say will either look as though I’m trying to be terribly clever (LOL) or as though I’m dropping hints. So, stepping away from the question before I say anything else……
3. Does anyone know why having cats aboard the ship is so important?
Well, I was actually a bit intrigued by this and thought about looking it up and trying to have a proper answer (as oppose to all the above) but, pah to that. I think the cats serve a basic need – they kill any pesky varmints on the boat that might be eating the food. I know plenty of people who are superstitious about cats so it seems almost contrary to have them on a ship for that very reason. So, I just think it’s practical. Actually, the building I used to work in is a very large Gothic structure, basements, spiral staircases and the like – and I never realised for years, but they actually kept feral cats – as a basic prevention to other vermin. However, as they were feral there was a slight problem with fleas – mmmm, feeling itchy anyone!
4. The word “mutiny” creates a lot of mental pictures. Were you surprised? Why or why not?
No, I don’t think I was surprised. It all comes back to No.1 above – of course things weren’t going to go smoothly. Locke was completely out of his element and even he couldn’t completely act his way around all the superstitions of the others. Frankly, if he’d have been a hardened sea-farer he would have known about the cats, and the women – so basically he almost spelled his own doom. He scuppered himself!
5. Ah, the Poison Orchid. So many surprises there, not the least of which were the captain’s children. Did you find the young children a natural part of the story?
No, I sort of had mixed feelings about this one. Part of me thinks good on her, she’s out to sea all the time and when else will she see her children. But, then I have to weigh that against the certain sort of selfishness of it. Yes, she wants to see her children, and I’m damn sure they would sooner be with her. But, is a pirate ship okay for them. Regardless of the language, etc, what about the danger – of sinking, of being at battle, so far they’ve been lucky enough to be on the winning side – but what if the tables were turned. Her heart would break if anything happened to them in that situation. I’m not sure if it would make her and her crew fight harder in certain circumstances or whether it would be their undoing. Plus, she leaves herself open to all sorts of ‘I’ve got your children so put down your weapons’ scenarios. And, she seemed to be making the point during her interview with Locke that it was quite well known that her children travelled with her – surely that’s the place that any enemy of hers would head straight for?? I think the bad outweighs the good to be honest.
6. Jean is developing more and more as a character as we get further in to the book. Ezri makes the comment to him that “Out here, the past is a currency, Jerome. Sometimes it’s the only one we have.” I think several interesting possibilities are coming into play regarding Jean and Ezri. What about you?
Oh, my, god, I don’t know if I can talk about Jean and be sensible. He is IT. The end.
Okay, so, obviously he’s very interested in Ezri and the fact that he wasn’t following Locke, during the fight to capture the ship, was a bit telling – as Locke himself realised. There’s no reason why Jean shouldn’t have ‘another’ interest. It does divide his loyalties slightly I suppose. You can see that Jean and Locke are totally dedicated to each other – but throw another element into the mix. I dunno. I hope it’s going to be okay for them.
7. As we close down this week’s reading, the Thorn of Camorr is back! I love it, even with all the conflict. Several things from their Camorri background have come back up. Do you think we will see more Camorri characters?
I loved that the Thorn was back. Bloody brilliant. Basically, I’m not going to answer the question in great detail because of potential spoilers so I’ll just say – let’s hope so!
Great questions. Thanks.
Welcome to this weeks question and answers for the Lies of Locke Lamora readalong. This readalong is being hosted by some lovely and impressive bloggers as follows:
The questions this week are brought to us by SFSignal and are below. If you haven’t read the book then I suggest you stop reading now as there be spoilers below! Also, if you haven’t read the book but have a love of fantasy then I strongly recommend Scott Lynch, I love this series.
1. In the chapter “A Curious Tale for Countess Amberglass” we learn of the tradition of the night tea in Camorr. I found that not so much fantastical as realistic – how about you?
I definitely found it had a ‘real’ feeling. Dona Salvara going to see the Countess for some ‘tea and sympathy’ not to mention a bit of gossip! What could be more normal than that. I think the normal elements are what grounds the book – it almost feels in parts as though it’s a parallel universe, things that you’re familiar with and then things that are fantastic. The tea party is definitely very normal but then there are other elements that bring it back to fantasy. I suppose the setting was rather fantastic, sitting on a glass balcony above the clouds! Probably not my ideal spot with a fear of heights! Then we move on to a rather elaborate cake that sounded a bit amazing – packed with goodies (and calories!) So a good mixing of fantasy and reality. Then on top of that we have yet another of Locke’s plans thwarted. It seemed like such a good ploy by Locke and he seemed to have almost pulled it off! Makes you wonder what else is going to go horribly wrong.
2. When Jean meets with what will become the Wicked Sisters for the first time, the meeting is described very much like how people feel when they find their true work or home. Agree? Disagree? Some of both?
It was like he’d found his soulmate! LOL. I thought that little story was brilliant, like finally Jean had found something that had been missing.
3. Salt devils. Bug. Jean. The description is intense. Do you find that description a help in visualizing the scene? Do you find yourself wishing the description was occasionally – well – a little less descriptive?
No, I didn’t want less description – particularly in this instance! Okay, I can hold my hands up and admit there’s a lot of description in this story, personally, I really enjoy it, however, okay, you could probably lose a bit of detail about the food/drink/clothing – and it wouldn’t be detrimental – but to lose the description on something like the Salt Devils – it would be criminal to have cut that down. It was such an exciting scene – massive, spider like creatures, Locke stuck in a barrel (feel like there’s a pun flying around in that statement somewhere), blue ick flying about all over the place and Jean being brilliant slashing and hacking – no, I thought it was just the right amount of detail. (Was anybody picturing Shelob from LOTR when the salt devils appeared!)
4. This section has so much action in it, it’s hard to find a place to pause. But…but.. oh, Locke. Oh, Jean. On their return to the House of Perelandro, their world is turned upside down. Did you see it coming?
Oh, this is such a sad scene – I was already prepared for it, but, and even though I hadn’t formed a real connection with Calo and Galdo, it still made me very sad. In a way yes, I did see this coming. They were out of the way, the Grey King was at large – he’d clearly been following them and knew where they lived and so it’s not rocket science to assume he’ll want to get his hands on their dosh – after all he thinks Locke is dead – and best irony of all is that he can now use the Bastard’s money to pay the Bondsmage for his services – perfectly despicable methinks.
5. Tavrin Callas’s service to the House of Aza Guilla is recalled at an opportune moment, and may have something to do with saving a life or three. Do you believe Chains knew what he set in motion? Why or why not?
I just think that Chain’s wanted his GBs to be prepared for all eventualities. You never know when something will be useful and so he’s given them a bit of a grounding in all things. And, as we can now see, its paid off.
6. As Locke and Jean prepare for Capa Raza, Dona Vorchenza’s remark that the Thorn of Camorr has never been violent – only greedy and resorting to trickery – comes to mind again. Will this pattern continue?
I think that things have the potential to become much more violent at this stage! It’s personal now!!
7. Does Locke Lamora or the Thorn of Camorr enter Meraggio’s Countinghouse that day? Is there a difference?
I think Locke Lamorra enters the counting house. I think the Thorn of Camorr no longer exists. And I think this is seen in the way that Locke has to make a few attempts before he finally succeeds in obtaining a set of clothes. He’s not being calm and collected, he’s not taking the time to study his opponents, he’s just hellbent. The Thorn of Camorr was a conman – almost playing with the rich and flaunting his brainpower, ‘look at me, look at how easily I walk among you and deceive you’ and actually not just deceiving them but also pulling the wool over the eyes of the rest of the criminal element. I think from now on we will only see Locke, I think he will still be clever, and come up with plans, after all he did succeed in the Countinghouse, but he now has a different motivation. Let’s hope he doesn’t resort to his previous reckless self – revenge is a dish best served cold (or something like that!) or – another quote – fools rush in.. etc. etc. That was very rambling and incoherent – for which apologies. Basically, I think the Thorn has now gone and Locke is in the building!
Thanks for the questions
Okay, we’re on to the third week’s readalong of Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora. This week we stopped at a particularly tense part of the book – and can I just ask who the hell came up with that stopping point!!! You raging maniac you! I have managed to not read on, but I have read this before and I want to take my time with this readalong. This readalong is being hosted by some lovely and impressive bloggers as follows:
If you haven’t read this book – then really, I would recommend it m0st heartily. Plus, come and join us all, we’re having a great time. If you have read it and want to readalong then get in touch with one of the lovely people above and they’ll add you to the info. And, be aware, ‘there be spoilers ahead’.
1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage’s powers?I guess I would say I’m more puzzled, or intrigued, by the magic we’ve seen used. There isn’t much of an explanation this far into the story about ‘why’ the Bondsmage can use magic or where they draw their power from – although I could be missing something here! I enjoyed Chains story about the Bondsmage and how they became such a force to be reckoned with. It’s all part of the world building that I enjoy so much about this book.
2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here. Even though I seem to have forgotten such a good deal about my original reading I’m not going to take a guess because if it turns out to be in any way remotely connected it will look like a big fat spoiler (or as though I’m trying to be a tremendous smartypants)! I am intrigued though (and I have really not a clue – how is that even possible?)
2.5 (since 2 wasn’t really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would) Again, I would love to speculate about the crazy turns in store – but spoilery! Dang!! And, believe it or not I’d forgotten about Nazca – I knew in my tiny brain that her and Locke were not going to get it on, but I had forgotten about her being murdered. Strangely enough I remembered the whole scene with the barrel full of horse urine – what is up with me, really? The other thing about this is – I was really quite enjoying the character of Nazca and here she is getting bumped off – I think that’s a really difficult thing for an author to do and I really respect it. I’m not saying I enjoy losing the characters that I like but sometimes it is necessary and it’s a hard decision. Big respect for not being too precious to lose a character if the plot needs it.
3. When Locke says “Nice bird, arsehole,” I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway? I have been laughing out loud a lot – but I think you probably hit on what was, for me, the funniest scene – when Locke met the Grey King and his bondmage for the first time. ‘Nice bird, arsehole’ is pretty hilarious! I always feel really odd about using ‘asshole’ – just the whole ass/donkey thing! I did think of a couple of lines I really enjoyed: “When you don’t know everything that you could know, it’s a fine time to shut your fucking noisemaker and be polite.” and the story about the half crowns where Tesso says “because I can’t imagine that you shit-wits would really be sitting there right where we beat the trouser gravy out of you just yesterday”. Trouser gravy? LOL! There are others, but I’ll leave it now (it could become an essay!)
4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they’re “cleverer than all the rest?” Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage? Well, as much as I hate to say it, I feel that they’ve been ‘bested’ at this point. The Grey King knows exactly what they’re up to and how to turn the screw. They are between a rock and a hard place and don’t even have the option to run because they’ll never get away with it now. I suppose if they’d got out of there years ago – and it seems like they probably had enough money to do so, but they kept just wanting to put in one more job – then they wouldn’t be in this mess – but hindsight is a thing of beauty! (I wonder if you can buy hindsight glasses – I want a pair of those)
5. I imagine that you’ve probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the “present” storyline, but I’ll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead? Won’t elaborate on this as I have already read. Also, can’t remember and haven’t actually read ahead! And, I don’t have the first bloody clue.
6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking? I really enjoy the characters so far, we get little glimpses into the history behind the relationships and I think that slowly but surely we have a world being developed with really easy to picture characters. To be honest, I think Jean may be my favourite character – I’m not sure why. I like his nature, he’s very real. But I also like that he can just totally look after himself!
7. Now that you’ve seen how clever Chains is about his “apprenticeships,” why do you think he’s doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge? Ha, I can’t actually remember whether Chains had any other goal such as revenge. I like Chains and I like the way he sometimes doles out his lessons – like the way he taught Locke a bit of humility when Jean first came to stay! I feel as though he thinks he’s like a master tutor and he’s giving his apprentices the best, the fullest, the most comprehensive education in how to be a trickster – he’s like the Ivy League of conman tutors!
Comments from other bloggers:
March 09th: Chapters 6-10 hosted by On a Book Bender
March 16th: Chapters 11-15 hosted by Smash Attack Reads!
March 23rd: Chapters 16-20 hosted by In the Closet With a Bibliophile
March 30th: Chapters 21-25 + epilogue hosted by The Unread Reader
April 06th: Special interview with Kevin Hearne
5. Laksha is a witch, a truly evil one at that for many of the things she’s done in the past. However, she’s supposedly seen the error of her ways. Do you think she really has? Would you be willing to trust her? Do you think Atticus is smart to have decided to trust her to help him with the “other” witches?
I think Laksha can be trusted to an extent! But with a large “Caution” stamp!! She is old – she’s been around and seen a few things, and basically although she’s trying to atone for some of her past misdeeds I wouldn’t say she’s a totally ‘soft and fluffy’ character. I like the fact that she seems to make a pact and stick to it and she’s certainly powerful and useful to have when in a tight spot! I would not want her to become an enemy that’s for sure.
Thanks for the questions
And, so, moving on to week 3 of the readalong for Hounded by Kevin Hearne. Schedule and questions/answers below – but if you havent already read this beware of spoilers.
April 06th: Special interview with Kevin Hearne & announcement of winners!
1. I love Leif Helgarson, Viking Vampire, Esq. I have to say that combo makes a pretty cool attorney. If you could have a paranormal/mythical beastie (or combo) covering your tuckus in court, what would you choose and why?
I like the vampire attorney – I suppose the drawback is that he isn’t available 24/7 and I don’t think I would be totally happy to pay him in blood. But he has been a pretty good attorney so far. I think on the whole I would probably choose a member of the fey (provided I know their real name of course) they’re very twist and turny after all!
2. The police show up to question Atticus about his Irish Wolfhound, Oberon. If you could own any dog breed, what would it be and why? (P.S. Oberon is going on my list of favorite sidekicks!)
I love dogs and I love most breeds even lovely Heinz 57 (which in my country means a mongrel). Currently I own a Fox Hound and a Lakeland Terrier and they are both total maniacs but prior to this I have owned Irish Terriers (Winny and Molly) and two Elk Hounds (which are beautiful spitz dogs, high in stature with a tail curled over their backs, silve coat and black muzzle called Sabre and Ragan). If I was going to choose what to own next I don’t know how I would pick! Maybe a husky.
3. Malina Sokolowski and the other Sisters of the Three Auroras coven have my antennae up. What is your opinion of them?
Being ahead with the books it’s difficult to answer this one without looking like a smartie pants. I’d like to say that I don’t trust the witches but did I really feel like that before I knew what I now know? I dunno!
4. Brighid, goddess of poetry, fire and the forge, gave Atticus the power of Cold Iron, which can be used to fight off that nasty lilttle hellspawn. If you could wield one magical power, what would it be and why?
I can’t decide between being able to fly in order to beat all the traffic on the way to work or having the ability to set things up to clean my house – like the vac automatically working or the dishes being washed – a bit like in Harry Potter. I would love to say I’d like to get all my cleaning done but to hell with that – on the whole, I’d like to be able to fly and the cleaning can wait!
5. The cops show up at Atticus’ shop to search for poor Oberon, who remains magically hidden throughout the ordeal. What is the one thing you would do if you could remain hidden from sight? I want to hear some good answers for this one!
I suppose if you were hidden from sight you could hear and see such a lot of things. It’s difficult to choose. Maybe you could listen in to some examination questions beforehand and be clued up to pass your test. Or you could follow people around and get to hear if they discuss you. Or, you could watch somebody put in the code for their safe or [password for their computer!!! Oh, it’s all a bit horrible. I’m trying to think of something good about being hidden from sight but it all seems a bit sneaky so I’m not sure I can come up with anything good – although I suppose you could travel for free, you could probably get in to watch the movies for free, you could probably eat for free just walking in and out of restaurants picking things up and you could probably sleep for free – so, fairly carefree existence. (although still all a bit sneaky!)