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on 3 February 2014
While the first two books were full of intrigue, plots, lies, twists and surprises, this book feels sort of one dimensional in comparison. The plotting and scheming take second place to a character background saga which does not fit with the other two books. I should have realised it was going like this when fully 30% of this novel deals with how Locke gets out of the certain death he faced at the the end of the second book. The remaining two thirds is split between his present 'adventure' and a historical background about his early life. This does not leave any time for the complex scheming and surprises found in the first two novels and so it turns out to be just a quite well written story which seems to be a link to the next book.

Overall, I was expecting more. I am now wondering whether to read the 4th book when it comes out - I will probably wait to see the review comments
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on 24 November 2013
Suffers from the same problem as Red Seas... in that it does not hold a candle to the original book. The revelation of Locke 's past and the return of an old enemy during the epilogue seem shoe-horned in as an excuse to extend the series. Each book loses more of what made the first so awesome. The flashback is more interesting than the actual continuation of the present day plotline, but there were whole chapters dedicated to the characters performing a play. This is a book that seems to go nowhere but is still recommended for the interaction between Locke, Jean and Sabetha.
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*** This review contains potential spoilers if you haven't read books one and two in this series ***

The Republic of Thieves is essentially two books for the price of one.

The first follows on directly from the events of Red Seas Under Red Skies. Locke and Jean are on the run, attempting to avoid the fallout from their last scheme that went slightly awry. Becoming powerbrokers in the political arena seems a sensible idea, at least at first. The arrival of an old friend however adds an unexpected wrinkle to their latest "fool proof" plot.

The second narrative strand goes back in time and follows the teenage Gentleman Bastards as they take to the stage. Their ever-enigmatic mentor, Father Chains, demands they leave Camorr for the summer and assist an old acquaintance with his troupe of slightly deranged actors.

For a while now Mr. Lynch has lead us a delightfully merry dance. The character of Sabetha Belacoros has been mentioned in passing multiple times, but has never really been fully explored. Sabetha has been the lingering shadow that has hung over Locke's past. She's the one that got away, as it were. Finally meeting her has been a long time coming, and her introduction is handled wonderfully.

I've been trying to think of the best way to adequately describe the connection that exists between Sabetha and Locke. The closest thing I can equate it to is the relationship that Sherlock Holmes has with Irene Adler. The verbal sparring, where they continually try to outdo one another is a joy. Locke has more than met his match and I reckon, much as he would try and deny it, in his heart he knows it. To use a more modern analogy, if I was to try and describe what was going on with them both on Facebook, the status of their relationship would be "it's complicated". Their interactions fill in many of those lovely little deliberate blanks that appear in previous novels. Knowing Sabetha helps the reader to better understand both Locke and also Jean.

There have also been fleeting glimpses of the Bondsmagi in the past but their murky motives have never really been revealed. In this book we finally get to learn some of the inner workings of this most secret society. Turns out that magical practitioners are a tricky bunch, who'd a thunk it?, and the Gentleman Bastards feature heavily in their plans. Poor old Locke and Jean, they can't catch a break.

It appears that those carrot-dangling days of teasing us aren't over quite yet. It's true that some of secrets we've longed to discover finally see something close to daylight, sort of but there are still many more mysteries that are not yet resolved. Locke's mysterious origins and his ultimate fate are danced around but it appears that Lynch ain't done messing with our heads.

In The Republic of Thieves, it feels like Locke, Jean and company have finally come of age. We get to see them as awkward teens and then as the more confident adult versions of themselves. Lynch's writing excels when it comes to character evolution. It's so fluid and natural you're never going to question it.

I'll happily come clean and admit overt fanboyishness when it comes to this particular series. I've been waiting for this novel and now that it's here it doesn't disappoint. The Gentlemen Bastards have finally returned and I couldn't be happier.

I'll finish with a personal plea if I may - Mr. Lynch, ignore any of the haters out there. Like most readers, I'm a patient soul. You take as long as you need for your next book. All us true fans will be here waiting, because we know it's gonna be worth it.
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on 15 July 2016
So, I'm finally caught up and book 3 did not disappoint!

After two books of Sabetha being mentioned only in pained whispers it was nice to finally find out more about her, in fact I think her story really made this book. Firstly it was ingeniously cruel to begin with a flashback when clearly everyone was desperate to find out what happened to Locke following his drinking of the poison at the end of the previous book. But it was also a really interesting flashback as we got to learn more about Locke's origins and also about Sabetha which is a mystery we've all wanted to know more about since the first book. So whilst the first few chapters were really interesting and enjoyable, I for one was still desperate to get on to present day.

Once the present day plot started, the flashback plot was very neatly interwoven with the current timeline, so that their first coming together in the flashbacks nicely reflected their reunion in Karthain.

The heist aspect of this book wasn't as strong as in the previous books, however learning more about the magi and apparently about Locke's origins (is it true or not?!) more than made up for the slightly simpler plot that ran through most of the book. It did get very fun towards the end of the flashback plot with the ridiculous lengths they went to in order to get away with their latest disaster and try to blame other parties for it all at the same time. Good fun!

Although the culmination of the present day plot was definitely a surprise, I couldn't really have expected that the election finished and they all just went home happy! Luckily not long to wait till the next one...
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on 6 November 2013
Having reread the first two books in preparation for the third adventure of Locke and his best friend Jean Tannen, I was left feeling a bit disappointed by this latest tale.
In the first two books Locke is portrayed as a loveable scamp, But in this book I found him to be a bit of a wet blanket. he only really came to life in the scenes with his long lost love Sabetha. Here. the dialogue was crisp and witty, sometimes laugh out loud. But through the rest of the book I wanted to shake him out of his self indulgent introspection. His best friend had just lost the love of his life, and I know that Locke was suffering the effect of the poison given him in book two, but really he offered no support to poor Jean.
I think that what I am trying to say, is that until this book I genuinely liked Locke, but now I don't. And it is difficult to get enthusiastic about a book when the reader finds the main character unsympathetic and unlikeable.
The large indigestible chunks of 'faux' Shakespearian style play were also boring to read and in my opinion added nothing to the book.
I wasn't to keen on the switching back and forth from the present to the past either. Though it did make the story a little more interesting. because the plot of this book which dealt with rigging an election was a bit thin.
I will read the next book but I'm not waiting with such eager anticipation as I was for this book.
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on 17 December 2013
*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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on 24 March 2015
When I first read the first book in the 'Gentleman Bastard' series, 'The Lies of Locke Lamora', I was stunned to say the least. Here was a book that was set in an alternate history to our own - maybe 17th century but with a goo deal of mysticism and a little sorcery thrown in for good measure. It had the feel of a great Dickens story but with the modern language and ballsy characters that wouldn't be out of place in a Guy Ritchie flick and a dash of Oceans Eleven's heists. The story is smart, original and fun to read. I immediately pre-ordered the second book but when I had finished that I was left underwhelmed and a bit cheated. It felt like it was trying to get on the Pirates Of The Caribbean band wagon and wasn't nearly as pacy or enjoyable as the first. With some trepidation I bought the third (and very long awaited) book. It seems Scott Lynch has been paying attention to what his readers have fed back, as this book is a brilliant return to form. The pace and the slow reveal of the larger story arch are very intriguing and the characters of Locke and Jean are just as loveable and their antics will have fans and newcomers alike grinning at the audacity of their exploits. Highly recommended!
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on 9 June 2014
In the third outing for Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen the bondsmages finally catch up with them, but not in a way Locke was expecting. Instead of instant death he finds that the immediate problem he was left with at the end of the second Gentlemen Bastards book is solved by none other than the mother of his old enemy The Falconer.

Much against their will, Locke and Jean are hired to fix an election in Karthain to the benefit of one faction of bondsmages. There are rules. They have funds, which they must spend or lose, and they are to stop at outright murder. All other dirty tricks are allowed.

There is a problem, however. There always is when Locke's around. The opposing faction has hired Sabetha, Locke's lost love, previously mentioned, but never met. Sabetha, like Locke and Jean, was brought up as a Gentleman Bastard by Father Chains. She has all of Locke and Jean's skills and a streak of utter ruthlessness. What's more she's not tongue tied and helpless in Locke's presence as he is in hers.

It's an interesting situation. While Sabetha gets the jump on them, initially, Locke is vividly reminded of their shared past and so we get two stories: the election and the rekindling of Locke and Sabetha's relationship, and the story of their childhood and the first flowering of shared passion.

And who wins the election in the end? You'll have to read the book to find out, but suffice it to say there's bound to be another book – which is good news.

Highly recommended.
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on 23 April 2014
Third in the series, the long anticipated return of Jean Tannen and Locke Lamora.

Following directly on from the last book, Locke is poisoned and near death. Salvation comes from a strange source the BondsMagi - with which the pair have a grievance. The sum of the matter is that the Bonds magi sponsor competition in the form of rigging the election in their home city as a means of airing their own internal struggles.
In typical mage fashion the pairs competition is one of their own close friends - Sabetha - Lockes long lost eternal love.

The story progresses in typical flashback sequence - with the past focussing back to all their time together as wayword schemeing teens.

To be honest, the entire story seemed lacking some crucial element. The narrative in the past seemed rather flat until close to the end and the main storyline seemed mostly a facade for the final (no spoilers ) reveal of a secret form Lockes past.

The entirely of the book serving as a scheme to reveal lockes past should have been a massive buildup and then - Bang - big reveal. IMHO there wasnt enough going on to completley suck you in to the main storyline - so the reveal was telegraphed and not at all unexpected by the end.

Still a good book - but not quite the masterpiece i was expecting - definitely a little flat compared to either of the previous two installements.

However the secret out I expect the next book to be a complete zinger.
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on 26 October 2013
I really enjoyed the book - very much in keeping with the quality of the previous 2 with the added bonus that the author has had more experience and his writing style has smoothed out.

My only problem is that the kindle version had a problem where the word "stories" was replaced with "storeys" throughout the entire book. Very jarring and I suspect that it'll be my lingering memory rather that the story itself!
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