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1 of 1 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 7 months ago by lyra

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weighed Down by Too Much Ballast.
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...
Published on 14 Nov 2008 by Quicksilver


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2 of 2 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
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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21 of 25 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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1 of 1 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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1 of 1 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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but a disappointing sequel, 7 Mar 2008
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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 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 10 Feb 2008
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Mr. C. J. Andrew (LONDON) - See all my reviews
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when it ended, as I was with the first - great characters, well developed an d although I would love to have had Locke and Jean develop accomplices again! NEXT? please????
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2.0 out of 5 stars starts strong, then falls off a cliff, 9 July 2014
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The first book in the series is superb, and the second starts in a similar vein, with a great set up and a continuation of the jumping back and forward between past and present narrative structure. Things go badly wrong in the final third of the book, where characters begin behaving in ways that simply don't make any sense given their histories and personalities....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full of twists and tense moments, 21 Jun 2014
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I really loved this book after reading the "Lies" and couldn't wait for the republic of theives to come out so I bought it on Kindle.
Brilliantly written a real "page turner" very rare these days!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The story continues, 16 Jun 2014
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fantastic second instalment in a completely new world but the manipulative ways of Locke Zamora still stay strong. also some very interesting new characters of which we are sure to hear more from as the saga goes on.
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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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