The Republic of Thieves (Gollancz) Hardcover – July 16, 2009
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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About the Author
- Hardcover : 488 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780575077010
- ISBN-13 : 978-0575077010
- Product Dimensions : 6.42 x 1.61 x 9.57 inches
- Item Weight : 2.01 pounds
- Publisher : Gollancz; Hardback Edition (July 16, 2009)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0575077018
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Red Seas was a step down, but lower quality isn't unheard of in middle volumes of a trilogy, so it gets a pass.
Now we come to the conclusive crescendo: Republic, which should have been amazing. Instead, the series hit a new low. The "romance" was lifeless and unbelievable, the excuse provided for Locke's stalkerish obsession came way too late, the characters acted uncharacteristically, Sabetha was a manipulative AnythingYouCanDoICanDoBetter jerk, and worse, the tale kept us booing her, yet the author persisted in trying to make us feel sympathy for her as well. In general the whole story was an astonishing let down that dragged on.
Bottom line: it was boring. Not worth a purchase. At all. I wish I had something better to write.
I'm still going to read Thorn of Emberlain (if it ever releases) but my opinion of this series is rapidly diminishing. If the trend continues, book 4 will be my last trip with Locke and Jean
It is easier to get lost in a fantasy when the people still seem real, Locke's awkwardness around her, her flightiness, his undying loyalty - they all push me out of the story and make the characters seem thinner.
First, this novel aims to fill in the backstory of Sabetha Belacoros, a key figure who has been mentioned but never seen in the first two Gentleman Bastard books. She's long been the missing member of the central gang, and we finally get to see her as a young girl and teenager interacting with our returning heroes. These scenes are fantastic, easily slotting into the gaps that author Scott Lynch has left in the backstory and paying dividends for the disjointed flashback structure he's employed from the beginning. Sabetha herself clarifies the group dynamic a lot, and the story unfolding in the past is poignant and fun. I wish Lynch had included the sole female Bastard well before this, but he does a lot in these pages to make her feel like a real character and not just a requisite love interest for his male lead.
The second goal of the book is to tell the latest adventure of the Gentlemen Bastards gang in the present, including their reconnection with an adult Sabetha. This part of the story just about works on a character level, but there are simply no stakes to the actual plot. The conmen protagonists are forced into rigging an election for a puppet government, but since it literally doesn't matter whether they succeed or not, it's hard for me as a reader to really care or even believe that the characters do.
And finally, there are moments in this novel that are presumably intended to set up further adventures in the series (although five years later, there is still no word of when the next book can be expected). These parts succeed the least for me, and I find pretty much everything to do with the Bondsmagi and Locke Lamora's mysterious background frustratingly clunky and trope-filled in a way that Lynch has previously managed to avoid.
On balance, I'm not sure how to weight these different elements against one another or judge this title as a whole. I love most everything to do with the added character history, but I worry that the series is rapidly losing its way with the story being told here and now.
Locke and Jean go against Sabetha in political warfare. The book also has a secret war among the Bondsmagi themselves, and the ending is a shocking, stomach turner. I truly hate the ending, which means the book was excellent. The name of the book comes a from a play that The Gentleman Bastards have to perform in the city state of Espara. Of course it is filled with unexpected events and one even that turns out in their favor.
Lynch pours in philosophy, religion, atheism, art, literature, science, myth, and the question, "Who are we really?" A good read, it has the action of the second book and the skill of the first one. I am ready to read the long awaited, "Thorn of Emberlain." After this book, I can see why Lynch is taking his time on the fourth. It is tough to follow greatness.
Top reviews from other countries
The adult story this time round is ridiculous - it merely consists of Lamora etal bribing/blackmailing people to vote for them in an election on the one hand, whilst playing schoolboy pranks on the opposition on the other. As for the ending of the book, it's like the ending to a cheesy horror film. OMG so scary...
Sabetha finally makes an appearance, but the book would probably have done better without her.
My other main complaint with this book is the endless profanity coming from all sides. It's not just f-bombs, but it's crude. too. Man, grow up.
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...
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.
I enjoyed this book, and it's pretty darn good, but it really could have been brilliant. I'll try to pin down why I think it's not.
For a series of books where quite major characters have died and I've been upset about it, I just couldn't believe that anyone else I cared about would follow - i.e. This is not A Song of Ice and Fire. So while there is a fair bit of 'suffering' I didn't believe quite believe in the peril - obviously especially in the past sections.
Scott Lynch writes exceedingly well, but there's just a touch of seasoning missing in the GB's early relationships that exists in spades in for example Harry Potter. The Sanzas do help though.
Locke doesn't really come across quite as clever as everyone seems to think he is. Actually I feel that about the whole series.
There is a laggy section between a massive mid-book revelation and the climax. I put this down to 'Seriesitis'. For a terrible analogy:
Darth Vader: I am your father, Luke.
Luke: Bollocks. You're evil and I don't believe you.
Darth Vader: Oh, good point.
Luke: I thought so.
Darth: You, best get back to your rebelling then.
Luke: True. I will. Back to work. No rest for the wicked. Virtuous. Oh bugger.
- Luke wanders off whistling.
Thunder rolls somewhere.
Anyway, I enjoyed it. More please.