And so we come to the final chapters of our Red Seas Under Red Skies readalong hosted by Andrea at Little Red Reviewer. This has been a great experience and I’ve really loved reading both books again but doing so as a group as it changes the whole experience. Listening to everyone’s else’s conjecture just makes it such a different experience. So, thanks to everyone who took part, thanks to Andrea and the other hosts (nrlymrtl from Dark Cargo, My Awful Reviews, @ohthatashley at SF Signal) and I hope we all get to read something else together soon. Now to the final week’s questions and for anyone reading this post who hasn’t read the book please stop reading now as there will definitely be spoilers:
1. Oh my god, such a lot going on I thought the showdown between the Poison Orchid and the Sovereign was brilliantly written and they were holding their own until Utgar and his nasty device turned up. Well a lot of you had kind of predicted it, and I suppose we’d been let off too easy so far in terms of deaths of well-liked characters – but come on, did you expect something like that? And how on earth will Jean ever recover?
Okay this is a reread so I really can’t act as though I didn’t know what happened. I think though that I was expecting for Ezri to maybe die in a fight or somebody to do a backstabbing number on her. I never saw the whole self-sacrificing thing at all. Even now I keep thinking surely there must have been another way, but then even as I sit and dwell on it I know that there wasn’t. What was she gonna do really, look for a pair of oven gloves! Plus, when you think about it, she didn’t just save Jean and the whole crew but she also saved the children. I don’t know how Jean will recover – he’s going to blame himself and think that he should have been the one to save the day.
2. The deceit, the betrayal, first Rodanov and then Colvard. Even now I’m not entirely sure I understand Colvard – Rodanov was never keen on the oath but Colvard seemed okay with it all and yet in this final deceit she was more devious than Rodanov – what do you think was her motive?
Well, I have to say I was just downright bloody disgusted with Colvard. What a bitch! Two-faced backstabbing mare! Motive, I’m not sure about, maybe she’s jealous of Drakasha or maybe she wanted more from her and was spurned. I could have slapped her though. Okay, Rodanov isn’t exactly soft and fluffy but at least he was quite openly unhappy with the scheme in the first place. I don’t think it made it right the way he then reacted afterwards but he had a certain respect for Drakasha at least (although I thought he got what he deserved!).
3. Merrain – such a puzzle, no real answer, the mysterious tattoo, the determination to kill everyone to keep her identity and that of her master a secret. Does anybody have any ideas where she’s from and what she’s up to exactly and who the hell is she working for??
I’ve had a good think about this and in particular her strange tattoo. It’s very puzzling. I don’t think she’s working for the Bonsmagi and her actions were a little bit odd at the end. She’d had plenty of time and opportunity to kill Locke and Jean but then at the end seemed to want them suddenly dead. It’s as though she was working some strange double game as though she had to play the Archon’s game and help them stay alive when it was the opposite to what she wanted. Maybe that’s why she killed the Archon’s people when Locke and Jean escaped with the ship originally, perhaps she thought the Archon would just simply kill them and she would be innocent of their deaths. Which then makes who she’s working for all the more intriguing because whoever it is mustn’t want them dead… I just don’t know who that would be. The Bondsmagi would want them both dead, ditto a lot of others from Camorr, maybe the Spider was trying to help them and that’s who she was working for – but that doesn’t seem right either. It could be his long lost father – trying to protect him – by sending a jealous sister! Lol. I give up.
4. Finally we get to the point of the GB’s latest scheme, all that elaborate planning for two years, fancy chairs, gambling, dust covered cards, abseiling lessons – all for one gigantic bluff. I loved the diversionary tactic here but having finally reached the end of the story and, more to the point, the end result – do you think the GB’s are as clever as they think they are?
I loved the bluff. All that strutting around, years of planning, all so they could get taken to Requin’s office and rob his precious pictures. I love the fact that they knew his safe was unbeatable and weren’t even going to go there but they were playing on his own insecurities to get their hooks into him. I mean, to a certain extent you just can’t help but be impressed by their plans, they seem to have thought of everything. But if you measure their success in terms of what they have to show at the end of the two years – then it’s fairly small. Although after the last couple of years they’ve had they probably think they’re lucky to be alive. It’s made for good reading though. I suppose if they just made a fortune and retired somewhere quiet to sip on a cocktail it would be a bit dull!
5. I must admit that I liked Requin and Selendri – particularly at the end – I don’t think Requin will go after Locke and Jean, he was even sort of cool and composed about it all, in fact he came across as a bit pleased with himself because he had the last laugh. Plenty of good characters this time which did you enjoy reading most about this time?
I couldn’t help but like Requin and Selendri. I don’t want to make friends or anything but I thought they were good characters and I liked the way that the two of them were like a really good team. Requin came across as confident in his own set up and even at the end he didn’t seem overly bothered. He came across almost like an indulgent parent with a naughty boy. That being said he came out of it all in a much stronger position so I suppose it was easy to be indifferent about it all.
6. Finally, a triple barrel question, I know I shouldn’t ask this BUT, on reflection do you have a favourite between LoLL or RSURS?? And why? Are you going to pick up Republic of Thieves? And, where do you think Lynch will take us to next??
Well, on first reading of both these books I think I would have said without doubt LoLL was my favourite. This time around though I find it more difficult to choose. I think the first book in a series like this is always difficult to follow because you’ve lost the element of surprise or the novelty factor but having now reread RSURS I can genuinely say I can’t now decide. I enjoyed both of them equally I think. I loved LoLL – such a great introduction to Lynch’s world but RSuRS undoubtedly is an exciting and fun read. I loved the swashbuckling. I loved that Jean had a bit of romance enter his life. The con was great. Loads of assasins. What’s not to love? Of course I will pick up RoT – I just hope it’s out in autumn?? Any news on that anyone??? Where will we go to next. No idea. I guess as Locke and Jean are conmen they have to be in a city. Tempted to say somewhere away from water – perhaps we can go somewhere more mountainous – with dragons!
Loved reading this with you all and look forward to your discussions.
Just finished read Chapters 11 through 13 for this week’s installment of Red Seas Under Red Skies. I think this covers some of my favourite parts of the book. This challenge is hosted by Andrea at the Little Red Reviewer check out her post this week here . The questions were provided by nrlymrtl from Dark Cargo. other read along co-hosts, My Awful Reviews, and @ohthatashley from SF Signal
So, lets get straight to this week’s questions:
1) I was much relieved when Jean and Locke made up, which started with Locke’s gesture of a cup full of honesty with Cpt. Drakasha. Do you think that was hard for Locke? Or was he using this bit of honesty like any other weapon in his arsenal to get what he wants in the end?
I liked that Locke told Drakasha the truth although I suppose he didn’t have too much choice without giving up completely on his mission. The thing with Locke is that you would never be able to totally trust him. I’m sure Drakasha must be wondering whether he’s given her the full version or not.
2) The Parlor Passage: We still don’t know Locke’s true name, but whatever was in that mist does. What do you think it is?
The thing in the mist is just plain creepy – I don’t really know what it is to be honest, something supernatural. A bit like mermaids that lure sailors to their death. Only this isn’t mermaids its something more sinister.
3) There was an interesting section of the book that started about where Locke assisted Drakasha in selling the Red Messenger; he put on the persona of Leocanto Kosta and used the alias Tavras Callas and then Drakasha was still thinking of him as Ravelle….. Did using all those various aliases in such a short amount of time have your mind spinning a little? Do you think Lynch did this on purpose to give the reader a sense of Locke’s mind?
I suppose Lynch used this to show us of how tricky Locke’s mind really is. I think Locke used those personas because he was already comfortable with them and could fall right into the parts with ease – he didn’t have enough time to come up with different identities after all.
4) That was a sweet little kiss between Cpt. Zamira and Cpt. Jaffrim at the end of the Captains’ Council. Do you think they have some history, or is it just innocent flirting that’s been going on for some time?
I wondered if they had had a previous history. They seem very comfortable with each other in a way that seems to demonstrate more than just friendship – although I suppose they could have been friends for a long time.
5) Jean and Ezri. Cue dove-cooing and little winged hearts with sparkles. Do you think Jean will stay with the Poison Orchid or that Ezri will leave her ship to pal around with Jean and Locke?
I think Jean would try and persuade Ezri to leave the ship, he likes the life they’re leading but pirates out at sea or thieves on dry land I think Jean thinks its similiar. I don’t think he would want to leave Locke completely and he would probably want to show Ezri some of their tricks.
6) What is Utgar up to? What are his motivations?
I know what Utgar is up to so I won’t answer this one as it will contain spoilers.
7) So last week we hashed over that Merrain killed some of Stragos’s guards on Windward Rock. But when Jean and Locke visit him, he doesn’t mention it. What is up with that?
I think he’s saving it for a better moment. He still wants Jean and Locke to work for him and do his bidding but I don’t think he’s forgotten. Nope, just biding his time for the right moment when he can then use it to justify some spiteful behaviour.
8) This week’s section left us where the book began – Jean pointing a crossbow at Locke’s throat. Do you think Jean knows who sent these crossbowers? Is he on their side? Is it a clever ploy to get him and Locke out of this predicament? Did you find it excruciatingly hard to stop here?
Yes, it was very hard to stop at that point and I did feel really sorry for Locke.
That’s it for this week – looking forward to the discussions. Thanks to nrlymrtl for this week’s questions.
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.
Just finished reading the second installment of Red Seas Under Red Skies. This week’s reading was pretty impressive – more quotes than you can shake a stick at – ‘bend over and bite your own arse’ is my particular favourite (plus ‘haven’t you ever had a lady tell you to get down and use your tongue!!). What about that wasp fighting scene – it gave me the heebeejeebys – I got stung by a wasp a couple of days ago and it’s still itchy, maybe it’s imagination but I could swear it was worse when I was reading that bit. The readalong is being hosted by the Little Red Reviewer who this week also provided the questions and it’s not too late to join the fun. So, let’s begin.. (oh, beware yee who enter here there be spoilers ahead!)
1. Now that we know a little more about Selendri and Requin, what do you think of them? I worry Locke is suddenly realizing this con might be a bit tougher than he expected.
I think they’re a very professional hard assed pair! Funnily enough I don’t dislike them at all. I mean I don’t love them but I do like the parts they play. Particularly Selendri – she’s a real no holds barred don’t suffer fools type of gal! Locke has certainly found himself in a couple of tricky positions up in the tower and facing a potential shortcut to the ground floor. Luckily, he’s a quick thinker! I was wondering what game exactly he was playing with Selendri – is he trying to schmooze her – I don’t see that working particularly as her and Requin seem very loyal.
2. Isn’t the Artificers’ Crescent just amazing? If you could purchase anything there, what would it be?
A Ginger Scald. Only kidding! Gods, this is a tough one, I think ‘ll have a slightly amended version of the poison that was referred to where you can eat whatever you want but not take any nourishment – okay I want to take the nourishment (obvs) but maybe not the fat! I feel like a kid in a sweet shop. I don’t know what to answer this one with and when I read everyone’s else’s answers I’ll be like (doh) ‘why didn’t I think of that’. I’m going to think on it a bit more… actually, not to appear like a raging lush, but I wouldn’t mind a bottle of that wine that Requin poured that keeps changing flavour and colour, one minute drinking a ruby red and the next a sparkling white, yum!
3. What did you think of Salon Corbeau and the goings on that occur there? A bit crueler than a Camorri crime boss, no?
Oh my god – it’s absolutely awful. I felt exactly like Locke standing on the edge watching in horror, can’t drag my eyes away from the book and basically just thinking ‘wtf’. I had just such mixed feelings about the whole affair. On the one hand these people willingly go there and undergo this abuse, on the other hand we have these nobles who think this is entertainment, then we have Locke and Jean who are pulling these complicated heists, basically throwing money around as though it’s going out of fashion – so you have all these different angles to it. I can see the horror, but then I can’t help say what are these people thinking of putting themselves through this – and lets face it they’re not all desperate. It’s all like different levels of greed and desire or something. Still very uncomfortable to read about and here’s to hoping that Locke and Jean knock it on the head!
4. The Archon might be a megalomaniacal military dictator, but he thinks he’s doing right by Tal Verrar: his ultimate goal seems to be to protect them. What do you think he’s so afraid of?
I think he’s scared of not being remembered. He thinks he’s going to make a difference and probably sees everyone remembering him as the ‘one’ who started to make the difference. He’s clearly got some sort of deep rooted dislike of the Bondsmagi – all will eventually be revealed!!!!
5. And who the heck is trying to kill Locke and Jean every few days? they just almost got poisoned (again!)!
Strangely enough I do remember what’s going on here and I’m finding it difficult to answer without being a spoilery so and so. I tell you what though – these two walk on the wild side. They are constantly being attacked. But it makes for some damn fine reading.
6. Do you really think it’s possibly for a city rat like Locke to fake his way onto a Pirate ship?
This is going to be hilarious. Locke has no sea legs at all and gets sea sickness. Jean is just going to chill and get on with it. But, Locke is going to hate it. He is going to be out of his element but he is the consumate actor and his experience will come through.
So, onto the next chapters – I’m looking forward to getting out to sea!
Thanks for the questions Andrea
And so we come to the end of our readalong and what an amazing experience this has been. Brought to us by some really amazing hosts and involving so many brilliant bloggers. It’s been great:
Even though this is the final week – you’re never too late to join in (well, you’re a bit late but you can still go back to the readalong and check out the questions) and pick up the threads of discussion. More to the point, you’re never to late to pick up this book and be lost in the world of Camorr and the lives of the Gentlemen Bastards. So don’t wait any longer. The following will however contain spoilers so if you haven’t read the book you might want to stop reading now! This week’s instalment brought us constant tension and laugh out loud moments. Personally I loved the whole scene with Locke in the Tower – firstly coming face to face with Merragio whilst wearing the clothes he’s stolen from him and then bumping into the Grey King as well. Without further ado the questions and discussions follow. The hosts for this blog are below:
1. The Thorn of Camorr is renowned – he can beat anyone in a fight and he steals from the rich to give to the poor. Except of course that clearly most of the myths surrounding him are based on fantasy and not fact. Now that the book is finished how do you feel the man himself compares to his legend. Did you feel that he changed as the story progressed and, if so, how did this make you feel about him by the time the conclusion was reached?
I think to an extent the legend that surrounds the Thorn is one of those typical snowball type of theories which gathers size and momentum as it goes downhill. You could argue that Locke is useless in a fight and also that he doesn’t give his money away to the poor – all of which is true. But, you could also say that he’s never shed blood in any of his jobs, he’s a really big softie (as the Spider herself acknowledged after he returned to the Tower to save the nobility), that he managed to defend himself quite well against the Grey King and also that he paid rather a huge death offering by having the plague ship with all his stolen talons on board (which he could have kept). So, really his reputation is not that far from the mark. I did think he changed as the story progressed. I think at the start of the story you didn’t get too much of an understanding for the feelings he had for his fellow GBs but by the end you could certainly feel the strength of feeling and the regard he held them in. He called them his brothers – which I thought was really rather touching! By the end of the story I definitely liked him, a lot. He proved that as well as being able to plot elaborate cons he was able to think on his feet, act under pressure and show that he cared not only for his own little select gang of bandits but also for many more people as well. Funnily enough I think by the end of the story he fitted the description attributed to the Thorn much more than at the start.
2. Scott Lynch certainly likes to give his leading ladies some entertaining and strong roles to play. We have the Berangia sisters – and I definitely wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of them or their blades plus Dona Vorchenza who is the Spider and played a very cool character – even play acting to catch the Thorn. How did you feel about the treatment the sisters and Dona received at the hands of Jean and Locke – were you surprised, did it seem out of character at all or justified?
I really liked both of the above characters to an extent. They’re certainly not soft and fluffy and I don’t think we’d ever be friends. But, I had a certain type of respect for the Berangia sisters and the way they were so kickass. And, the Spider, playing at Locke’s game really and allowing people’s own misconceptions to hide her secret identity for this length of time. All that being said, I felt no sympathy for the Berangias. They knew what they were doing. They plotted to catch and kill Jean and they were completely confident in their own abilities. The fact that they lost is just really too bad! I know who I preferred to win! I did have a certain sympathy for Dona Vorchenza when Locke socked her in the jaw, but he had the decency himself to feel bad for his own course of action and really I can’t see how he could have done any differently. She shouldn’t have under-estimated him but she made the mistake of thinking of them both as intellectuals. But, if Locke had remained trapped – she would undoubtedly have made him suffer and would not have shown sympathy. Plus, if you trap something in a corner it’s going to lunge at you eventually.
3. Towards the end we saw a little more of the magic and the history of the Bondsmagi. The magic, particularly with the use of true names, reminds me a little of old fashioned witchcraft or even voodoo. But, more than that I was fascinated after reading the interlude headed ‘The Throne in Ashes’ about the Elderglass and the Elders and why their structures were able to survive even against the full might of the Bondsmagi – do you have any theories about this do you think it’s based on one of our ancient civilisations or maybe similar to a myth??
Well, the most obvious comparison that I could come to with this would be the Roman Empire. The Roman’s went all over conquering and ruling – but they didn’t always stay and yet they left a legacy behind wherever they went. But, the thing I was thinking about most when reading about the Elderglass was the City of Atlantis – and don’t ask me why – I can’t explain myself but I’ve always pictured Atlantis as being contained in a huge, glass bubble!
4. We have previously discussed Scott Lynch’s use of description and whether it’s too much or just spot on. Having got into the last quarter of the book where the level of tension was seriously cranked up – did you still find, the breaks for interludes and the descriptions useful or, under the circumstances did it feel more like a distraction?
I actually still enjoyed the interludes and the description. I did have a moment towards the end where I was almost cursing and thinking ‘not bloody now for godssake’ but then as usual with these little mini stories I got sucked in. To some extent I do think it lessens the tension but on the plus side it felt as though it made me slow down and think a bit more than I otherwise might of and so I accredit this with stopping me from just simply racing ahead and finishing as quickly as possible.
5. Now that the book has finished how did you feel about the conclusion and the eventual reveal about the Grey King and more to the point the motivations he declared for such revenge – does it seem credible, were you expecting much worse or something completely different altogether?
I really enjoyed the conclusion – particularly the whole Grey King and Locke fighting to the death scenario (which does make me sound a bit bloodthirsty!). Just, they both had their own individual reasons and at that particular juncture they both pretty much hated each other – Locke because of the GBs and all that he and Jean had also been put through and the Grey King because of his sisters, his plans being thwarted and the sinking of his means of escape together with all the money which he thought he’s gained! It’s difficult to remember how I originally felt about the motives of the Grey King, I think what he and his family suffered was terrible but I kind of lost all sympathy for him because he didn’t care who he affected in his plans for revenge. He just went hell for leather and swept everyone up in is plot. The GBs had never done anything to hurt or offend him and look how badly they fared in his scheming. I suppose it would be childish to say he was unfair – but he was!
6. Were you surprised that Locke, being given two possible choices (one of which could possibly mean he would miss his chance for revenge on the Grey King) chose to go back to the Tower – especially given that (1) he would have difficulty in getting into the building (2) he would have difficulty in convincing them about the situation and (3) he would have difficulty in remaining free afterwards? Did anyone else nearly pee their pants when Locke and the rest were carrying the sculptures up to the roof garden?
I actually was surprised that Locke returned to the Tower to rescue the nobility but I think it’s one of the finer turning points of the story which helps to emphasise the true nature of the man. And, I was so tense when they were all carrying the sculptures up to the top – even though I knew the ending. That whole wraithstone thing was so nasty!
7. Finally, the other question I would chuck in here is that, following the end of the book I was intrigued to check out some of the reviews of LOLL and noticed that the negative reviews mentioned the use of profanity. How did you feel about this – was it excessive? Just enough? Not enough?
I really didn’t find the swearing a problem at all, in fact, on rereading I was surprised because I thought it seemed that there was less of it than I remembered! I probably wouldn’t mind a bit more – it makes me laugh when they’re all cussing at each other and the air turns blue!
8. Okay one further, and probably most important but very quick question – having finished, will you pick up the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies?