Red Seas Under Red Skies, Scott Lynch

rsursAfter a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long — and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.

This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. lts 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.

Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors… straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb — until they are closer to the spoils than ever.

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…

Find the book on Goodreads.

Okay, yes, last year I posted several discussions about reviewing books in a series and how I generally avoid doing it.  But last week you had book two in The Raven Cycle and this week you’ve got book two in The Gentleman Bastard Sequence.  I can’t help it.  And I don’t care that no one is going to read this review because it’s for me.  It’s for me to go back and read and remember how this book made me feel.  So forgive me, but I just bloody love this series and I don’t know that I have ever been more pleased to see the words Seven Book Series attached to a book.

My only niggle with The Lies of Locke Lamora was that I sometimes found the backstory arc to be a little slow.  This time around the flashback arc lasted only until halfway through the book (at which point the backstory caught up with the main storyline) and was great, and hilarious (the abseiling scene!), and necessary.  And then, as with TLoLL, there are storylines nested within one another.  It’s a little while before the ships on the front cover start to make any sense (I deliberately avoided reading the blurb before starting the book) but when it does… trendy thieves masquerading as pirates despite having no knowledge of ships/the sea/piracy in general.  I love it, and I personally believe that Captain Orrin Ravelle is the part Locke was born to play.

And that brings me to Locke and Jean.  I love them separately and I love them together – completely platonically, though I don’t doubt there are some shippers out there.  Their relationship and their banter and their loyalty/stubbornness.  I take it if you’ve made it this far through the review, you’ve either read the book yourself or don’t mind being spoiled, but I’m putting the warning out there anyway – SPOILERS.  That scene that opens the story, you know the one, that betrayal scene… when I finally got to it I had all but forgotten it existed and it killed me.  I wanted to believe it was all a ruse, but there was a part of me that was steeling myself for it to be an honest to God blindside.  It killed me.  Those two pages killed me.

I laughed out loud so many times reading this book that I’m sure my upstairs neighbour thinks I’m insane, and when I wasn’t laughing I was grinning from ear to ear because, god damn, I loved this book.  Pirates!  Thieves!  Loyalty!  Betrayal!  And good old fashioned Bromance.  So much action, and so much adventure and did I mention the banter?  Brilliant.  If I had more stars to give, this book would get them.

five - Copy


2 thoughts on “Red Seas Under Red Skies, Scott Lynch

  1. Interesting review. While I really enjoyed this book I felt that Lies was WAY better. I felt that the world of Camorr was much more intricate and more fleshed out, but I’m a nerd for good world building, so that’s just me. I felt that the flashback scenes in this book were just kind of there because they had to be, as if Scott Lynch figured that he had to have flashbacks because they were in the first book. I felt that, in Seas, they didn’t add much to the story. In regards to the flashbacks in Lies, I really enjoyed those and felt like they really contributed to the story.

    In general this is one of my favourite fantasy series out there at the moment but Lies is definitely my favourite out of the three so far.


    • By the time I read Seas I was convinced my love for Lies had been exaggerated, so my love for Seas might be a little more than love for this particular book and more a re-enforced love of the series as a whole. Objectively speaking. I agree about the world building – I guess there isn’t a lot of world to be built when boats are the main focus though. And yeah, the flashbacks did seem like they were there purely because, as you said, the first book had them. I feel like I need to reread Lies, but rereading book one seems a bit odd, when I haven’t got to book three just yet.

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