Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the triumphant return I had hoped for, 17 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The Republic of Thieves (Hardcover)
*I will endeavour to keep any spoilers to a minimum*

I have enjoyed the preceding two Locke Lamora stories immensely. Lynch has created some fantastic characters in an engaging backdrop, and had them romp through two really clever and inventive plots. Great dialogue, plenty of action, and storylines that keep moving quickly and are never predictable.

Lynch has had a lengthy time out due to personal issues between Red Seas and this, his latest, so you can imagine that I have been counting off the days until I read it. Sad to say, I have walked away from this particular outing feeling let down.

Put simply, in comparison to the preceding books, this one is decidedly weak. The story is split into two halves, one about the younger Gentlemen Bastards helping a friend of Father Chains by performing a play and saving the drama company in doing so, the other is working to rig an election on the part of the Bondsmagi of Karthain.

The whole book serves to introduce Locke's paramour Tebetha to the series, after many references in the preceding tales.

Unfortunately both halves of the tale are mostly weak, albeit that there are flashes of the inspired writing that characterised the first two books.

The Play:
The story of the young Gentlemen Bastards organising a troupe of fading players to restore their fortunes is the weakest part. Locke and Tebetha fumble around one another, with Locke stripped of all of his usual guile and cunning simply by being in her presence. Worst is the play itself though - great swathes of the verse of it are included in the book, and it comes across as pretty naff wannabe Shakespeare. This, coupled with all the fluff about rehearsals, techniques, publicising the play, espousing the overall plot of the play etc add very little to the actual story that you are reading. I suspect that Lynch is a fan of amateur dramatics and has tried to pull this into his story - it really does not fit.

The Election:
This is the stronger plot thread, but again it lacks the pithy style of the first two books. The Bondsmagi are converted from terrifyingly omnipotent and implacable adversaries into a fragmented committee. The premise of the two halves of the surviving Gentlemen Bastards playing opposite sides of the electorate, trying to out-scam one another in order to have their respective side win the eventual election, had a lot of promise. Unfortunately only a few minor tricks and scams take place before the slowly rekindling romance once again takes centre stage. The election story feels like it is hurriedly wrapped up, almost an afterthought.

All in all, this was a disappointing read. Hopefully it will be a blip on Lynch's career, for as I have said the first two novels are mesmerisingly good, but this one falls a long way short of where he has set the bar.
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