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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Adventure: Better than Book 1
Unlike many reviewers, I enjoyed this sequel significantly more than book 1. Although I enjoyed the characters and plot complexity in The Lies of Locke Lamorra I felt Scott Lynch struggled to get the balance between world building and action/characterisation. Not so in this novel: the pace is perfect. Jean and Locke continue their adventures, though not unscathed, in Tal...
Published 10 months ago by lyra

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite sure...
After reading the first book in the series I was gripped and couldn't wait for the second; unfortunately I was left a little unsatisfied with this instalment. The plot twists and characters of the first book weren't quite as clever this time round and the parallel plots could have been better linked. Towards the end of the book (last couple of chapters) things seemed to...
Published on 1 Sep 2008 by Mr. S. C. Hillier


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Adventure: Better than Book 1, 17 Nov 2013
By 
Unlike many reviewers, I enjoyed this sequel significantly more than book 1. Although I enjoyed the characters and plot complexity in The Lies of Locke Lamorra I felt Scott Lynch struggled to get the balance between world building and action/characterisation. Not so in this novel: the pace is perfect. Jean and Locke continue their adventures, though not unscathed, in Tal Varrar. Locke's recovery is convincingly painful. Split narratives are dealt with much more effectively and Jean is developed more thoroughly as a character in his own right rather than just as a foil for Locke's plans. There a hint of romance, and a masterplan which kept me guessing, and I liked the fact that Locke is fallible.

As many rewiers have commented, there is a seismic shift in the plot line half way through the book, but much to my surprise, I enjoyed the pirate scenes. There were some moments reminisceent of Pirates of the Caribbean, but they made me smile and there was easily enough in there that belonged to Scott Lynch. The narrative shift changed the pace, flow and brought in new characters. It also prevented a simple rehash of Book 1's tricks in a new setting, which was where I was worried we'd end up.

Lynch breathes life into his new characters and I was drawn into their relationships and intrigue despite reading a spoiler. As for being less credible than book 1 - umm, really? How can you even peer into Locke's world without suspending your disbelief...I for one have no hesitation in diving straight into Book 3.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bastards are back, 17 Oct 2013
By 
L M Hughes (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
So you've just finished reading 'The Lies of Locke Lamora'. You loved the devilish characters, witty dialogue and clever plotting. You can't wait to read the next instalment in the series, yet at the same time you're thinking to yourself: it can't be as good as 'Lies'. Can it?

It can indeed. And it's not only just as good: it's better.

'Red Seas under Red Skies', the second instalment in the Gentlemen Bastard Sequence, is everything that the first book is and more. The central characters are much more fleshed-out and complex, their interaction with each other is more diverse and entertaining, and the plot - involving the usual schemes within schemes within schemes - is unbelievably elaborate, and yet somehow never confusing. Lynch has an incredible knack for keeping details from the reader, feeding us just enough information to make us feel complicit with the grand plans of our favourite thieves, yet at the same time keeping us ignorant of their final twists of genius until the time comes for the great unveiling.

The book has a much closer focus than its predecessor on the relationship between Locke and Jean, which is being sorely tested by the fallout of the events from Lies. Their loyalty is heart-warming, their banter is (as always) natural and funny, and their disagreements, while hurtful, seem to make their friendship that much more realistic. Their schemes are also much more ambitious, this time involving card tricks, pirates, unbreakable vaults and the most powerful figures in the city of Tal Verarr, as well as a few hidden players to complicate matters. The plotting is nothing short of brilliant.

As with 'Lies', though, the payoff comes at an enormous cost. Lynch never lets our heroes simply walk off into the sunset unscathed, and there's pain and heartbreak here that somehow feels more personal than the characters' losses in 'Lies'. The characters - all of them - are so well-written that it's difficult not to empathise with them (or hate them).

'Red Seas' contains many of the same elements as 'Lies' - daring cons, gallows humour, loveable rogues and complex opponents - and yet has a very different feel. This is largely to do with its setting. Choosing to set a large amount of the book at sea creates a completely new atmosphere and works as a brilliant mechanism to illustrate that our two thieves are perhaps, figuratively and literally, out of their depth. It allows for a novel source of humour, particularly Locke and Jean's sea-training and the shambles of their fraudulent `captaincy', and also endows the story with a fresh new feel rather than simply recycling the ideas of the first book and placing them in a different city.

I also take pleasure in noting that the author is very skilled at including certain ghoulish elements to his stories, elements that work to create an amazingly macabre backdrop for otherwise ordinary events. Some of these grim little touches are the Midden Deep (a bottomless hole into which prisoners are thrown, possibly to fall forever), the death-lanterns (boat-sized jellyfish that absorb your blood through your skin), and of course the eerie Ghostwind Isles (a pirates' haven consisting of volcanoes, jungles, suicide-inducing fog and mysterious forces that can cause entire villages to disappear).

I first read this book around six years ago and remembered it as being very good; I've read it again now and realised that it's actually brilliant.

(I first reviewed this book over at the Half-Strung Harp.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite sure..., 1 Sep 2008
By 
Mr. S. C. Hillier "SChillier" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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After reading the first book in the series I was gripped and couldn't wait for the second; unfortunately I was left a little unsatisfied with this instalment. The plot twists and characters of the first book weren't quite as clever this time round and the parallel plots could have been better linked. Towards the end of the book (last couple of chapters) things seemed to come too quickly to a conclusion which was a shame given the early promise. I can't give this any more than three stars although I would like to. Verdict is still out, hopefully the next book is as good as the first.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A solid follow up to his debut novel., 29 July 2009
By 
Kenneth G. Perepelkin (London UK) - See all my reviews
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Having just finished this book I checked online to see if the sequel had been released yet and was surprised to see some foolish criticisms listed in these reviews.

I have been reading Sci-Fi/Fantasy for about 30 years, and quality writing like this is rare. The lead characters are all well fleshed out, displaying many credible traits and foibles - even more so than Fritz Lieber's thief heroes, Fafner and Gray Mouser, who they vaguely resemble. Cocky, irrepressible and always denying authority to authorities, they weave elaborate confidence schemes, which are so grandiose and complicated that they scramble to keep up with all the consequences.

This dealing with the out of control consequences of their con games is what this book is all about, to answer a criticism from a previous reviewer. If you believe they had ample control of affairs in the previous book you've neglected to consider the loss of their friends in that story.

The well thought out and completely appropriate use of plot twisting keeps this story from being too predictable. The only (mostly!) sure thing is that those who have offended our thieves will receive their comeuppance. The flow of the book is near perfect and I had a hard time putting it down.

I don't mind the author's use of "visual tricks" as mentioned by Laz below. I agree it's a bit of a guided tour bird's eye view tour but it has a "real sitting around the fire listening to a story teller talk feel" which leaves the reader with a vivid impression of the local geography and continues to develop the idea of a people living on the ruins of an alien civilization. Describing these odd locations by any other technique would pose a challenge and I prefer the author use a descriptive style they're obviously comfortable with to limit ambiguity and vagaries.

I admire Scott Lynch's style of writing, and for me, the most enjoyable component of the book is the witty dialog the characters engage in. The author probably keeps a notebook full of such blurbs and insults, frequently adding more to his impressive pile as new ones reveal themselves.

I didn't grant this book the full five stars. It may be ungenerous of me, especially since I thoroughly enjoyed this book (and its predecessor, which were the best books I've read this year.) I just feel that the author has it in him to step it up a notch and release a really mind-blowing piece of literature.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not quite on the same par as LoLL, 18 Sep 2007
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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The Second Installment of Scott Lynches Gentleman Bastards series. Storming onto the fantasy scene a year ago, has led to perhaps one of the darkest horses to emerge from the shadows. Whilst the first instalment had the world grasped by the nether regions and the fans wondering if he was a one trick pony, this one took a slightly more sedate pace and eased the readers into the world anew through a different culture and city. Locke Lamoura and Jean Tannon manage not only to grow but add new larcenies to their already sizeable reputations even accepting another into their ranks. A cracking tale of villainous double-dealing, blended alongside plots within plots where even a spiders weaving looks simplistic.

This tale proves that Scott Lynch is definetly here to stay cresting the new wave of the fresh talent to the genre that will keep many spellbound in the coming years as well as rejuvenating what many were beginning to think of as a clichéd field. Long may Locke and Tannon march on and I have my diary set for next year's release.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The troubled second release, 7 Jan 2008
By 
PB (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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The Lies of Locke Lamora is a fantastic novel. It reads like a Summer movie blockbuster - very very showy with something pretty spectacular in every scene, but no bad thing for that. TLoLL is a pretty relentless ride and one which you feel exhilirated to have taken. Red Seas, sadly, is not quite in the same vein. A more considered pace would never kill this tale, but I believe the book takes its turn for the worse mid-way, when the main protagonists hit the high seas. It seems to me that Scott Lynch is as uncomfortable with pirates as Locke and Jean. It's not quite "AHAR! Avast!" and "shiver me timbers", but it's just not very convincing.

I don't want to be unkind to Lynch as TLoLL is the first fantasy novel I truly enjoyed. He drew some good characters and a superbly paced plot in that book. Here, Red Seas seems like a stretch, and the introduction of the hitherto unacknowledged guiding principles of Locke's religion seem rather shoe-horned in, rather like the existential theories (poorly) shoe-horned into the Matrix sequels. Perhaps later novels will build on those principles further, but I felt that that two jarring dimensions - the pirates and the religion - was one too many to fully forgive.

Red Seas is OK, but it doesn't live up to the huge expectation I had following Lies of Locke Lamora.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but a disappointing sequel, 7 Mar 2008
By 
B. Abbott - See all my reviews
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After reading the Lies of Locke Lamora which i found to be one of the best books i've ever read i had to read this book.
The style of this book is different to it's prequel, where the first one is about scams and comararderie this one is more piracy and not so much scullduggery, what the first book was so brilliant at.
In itself the book is ok but as a sequel to LoLL i found it a bit wanting.
I was disappointed at the end when it seems the author kind of thought (without giving anything away) 'hmmm, that idea won't work so let's do this completely random thing instead.'
I'll definitely continue with the gentleman bastards series but hope it picks up in the next one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good characters equal good read., 7 Sep 2014
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Not as enjoyable as the first as the stakes didn't feel higher in this story it seemed. Would of been best to start with the flash backs rather than have flashbacks. The characters you can not enjoy Locke and Jeans love for one another and some of the banter is great. The payoff at the end was rushed and the lack of threat from their previous lives was a shame. Still looking forward to reading the next instalment.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boldy different to the Lies of Locke Lamora, 25 Aug 2009
By 
Mr. R. D. Turner (Derby, UK) - See all my reviews
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Red Seas under Red Skies is the sequel to the acclaimed The The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gollancz S.F.). It does not require you have read the first book but you probably should do or you might be a bit lost. This is the second in a planned series known as "Gentleman Bastard" and has to carry the weight of being a sequel and indeed a link to the next book when it arrives. The danger of any book in such a series is avoiding being just a soap opera episode. It is a big ask and in this case is achieved.

This is a long book and picks up where the first left off with Locke and Jean in a new town trying a new scam. In contrast to the first novel, the details of the con are not revealed early on but left hanging until the final pages. We know who the target is, but not how the heist will be achieved.

Other reviewers seem disappointed that just as the story gets going it heads out to sea with Locke and Jean tasked with becoming pirates. At first I was a bit dismayed with this, after all I wanted more of what I expected not some pirate yarn. However, I came to the previous book from a Sci-fi background having been recommended it by readers of The Dreaming Void (Void Trilogy) series by Peter F Hamilton so I went with it. I am glad I did because actually it really works. At sea, Locke discovers that his talents have limits and we find out more about his nature in this alien environment than we do when he is in control and in his comfort zone on land. We also get more time with Jean which is important as his role is bigger than in the previous outing.

The first book was amazing, no doubt about it but there was a lot of back story and scene setting. This second in the series is faster paced and seems to have more balls in the air at any one time. 50 pages from the end I had no idea how it would play out - and that is a good thing.

One thing of note is the rich dialog throughout. It is frequently very funny, although the swearing is just as gratuitous as in Lies of Locke Lamora. At sea, the swearing makes sense, with the nobles, less so. The author is quite a young guy and his love of swearing can easily be forgiven compared with the richness of his imagination and the world he has created.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weighed Down by Too Much Ballast., 14 Nov 2008
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
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With the opening novel of this sequence 'The Lies of Locke Lamora' The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gollancz S.F.) Scott Lynch created something fresh and original. Strong characters, cracking dialogue and a use of language hitherto unknown in the fantasy genre. In my opinion 'Lies' is one of the best fantasy books ever written.

So, a lot to live up to then. I opened the second book with trepidation, surely it couldn't match it's predecessor? Well, sadly, it doesn't. Things start promisingly, Locke and Jean have moved on to another city, and are planning another audacious heist. The same rapid fire dialogue is present, and in the opening chapters, Lynch's descriptive powers are at their strongest, but before long things start to go awry.

The main weakness of 'Skies' is that rather than the main characters controlling their destiny, which was the strength of 'Lies', events beyond Locke and Jean's control, all to often dictate what they do next; so just when the reader is comfortable with the where the story is going, the plot suddenly veers dramatically elsewhere. The schemes within schemes that worked well in the first novel, here seem too elaborate and complicated.

Whilst reading the novel, I felt very much that some editorial pruning was in order; there are many unnecessary bits of padding, particularly on the open seas and in places, Lynch gets rather carried away with the details of the world he created. Every setting and scene in the book is super-elaborate, with alchemical this or clock-work that; Lynch clearly enjoys writing this stuff, but after a while it starts to detract from the flow of the story. Sadly, midway through the book, this superfluous filler, made it feel like I was reading just another run-of-the-mill fantasy novel; trying to make up for too little plot, with too much description.

That said, despite dragging in the middle, the first and final thirds of 'Skies' is pretty good stuff. If I wasn't comparing it to the quality of 'Lies', I probably wouldn't have been half as disappointed. The last third, may be slightly rushed, but it's compelling writing, and I read through rapidly, desperate to know how the novel would end. The book finishes, as you might expect, with a couple of neat twists and a strong (if contrived) cliffhanger to take us into the next book. 'Skies' is disappointing after 'Lies' but still worth reading; hopefully Lynch will back on top form for number 3.
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Red Seas Under Red Skies
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (Hardcover - 31 July 2007)
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