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Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastards) Mass Market Paperback – Illustrated, July 29, 2008
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“A bright new voice in the fantasy genre.”—George R. R. Martin
Red Seas Under Red Skies
“Lynch hasn’t merely imagined a far-off world, he’s created it, put it all down on paper—the smells, the sounds, the people, the feel of the place. The novel is a virtuoso performance, and sf/fantasy fans will gobble it up.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Red Seas Under Red Skies firmly proves that Scott Lynch isn’t a one-hit wonder. . . . It’ll only be a matter of time before Scott Lynch is mentioned in the same breath as George R. R. Martin and Steven Erikson.”—Fantasy Book Critic
“Grand, grandiose, grandiloquent . . . No critic is likely to fault Lynch in his overflowing qualities of inventiveness, audacious draftsmanship, and sympathetic characterization.”—Locus
“The kind of witty romp that reminds you exactly how much fun heroic fantasy is supposed to be.”—SFX
The Lies of Locke Lamora
“Right now, in the full flush of a second reading, I think The Lies of Locke Lamora is probably in my top ten favorite books ever. Maybe my top five. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, you should probably read it again.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
About the Author
- Publisher : Bantam Spectra; Illustrated edition (July 29, 2008)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 760 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0553588958
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553588958
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.18 x 1.24 x 6.84 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #22,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I'd regard the second book as highly if the story that was built up within the first 200 pages is the story we got. The first chapter was brilliantly written, and spurred me to shirk my adult responsibilities as I was drawn deeper into the narrative. Fans of the first book knew there was plenty of room for raising the stakes, and it seemed as though Red Seas Under Red Skies would deliver on that.
Unfortunately the main plot - as well as all the characters I'd grown to care about - were told to bugger off around 300 pages in while Locke and Jean meandered out to sea.
I'm torn. I don't hate everything about the middle section of the book, and though I wish the story had gone in another direction (primarily because there were too many plotlines and too many things that weren't followed up on or not given nearly as much development as I'd have liked), I can see why Lynch went in the direction he did.
The book's biggest problem is that you could cut around 200 pages of content and wind up with a much stronger product. All the time spent on explaining sailing and nautical terms and this and that was time I'd have rather spent reading about the intricacies of a new con, or delving deeper into Locke's backstory.
It didn't help that time skipped about however it wished. There's a particularly bad instance at the beginning of chapter eleven where the narrative jumps forward by several hours following the last chapter, but then the second scene goes right back to the end of the last chapter without warning, and it took me a minute to figure out what was happening. Confusion mixed with long passages about things I don't care about do not make for a pleasant time.
I'll say this - Lynch did a marvelous job of describing things I don't care about. He simply couldn't make it interesting in a context where it ground the main plot to a halt.
I can't help but get the feeling he felt so much pressure to up the stakes following a first novel where things went to hell in fantastic fashion that he went too far with this one and couldn't keep the plot focused as a result. It's not a bad book by any means, but the best parts largely copy the formula from the first book, and the second act lull is long and dull enough I had to flip back to earlier pages to remind myself what was going on when the plot kicked back into gear.
If you haven't read The Lies of Locke Lamora, pick it up. It's well worth your coin. If you enjoy the banter between Locke and Jean, Red Seas Under Red Skies is worth a look. The dialog is as sharp as ever, and despite my overall feelings about the tale, I love the characters more than I did going into it.
If you enjoyed Lies more for the con, the consistent pacing, the gradual escalation of the main threat, and the steady build that led to an explosive (and immensely satisfying) conclusion, you'll find some of that here, but it's not going to thrill you half as much as the first book. You could skip from chapter seven to chapter thirteen or fourteen and not miss much of importance.
Lynch is a solid writer and world builder. He has a great vision for this series, but for whatever reason things didn't quite gel in this entry. I'm going to read the third book despite seeing several middling reviews because the characters and the world are strong enough to keep me hooked despite the flaws, but I have to admit parts of Red Seas Under Red Skies were slogs nearly on par with the sections of Lord of the Rings where Tolkien was so charmed by a particular arrangement of stones or trees he had to write about them for several pages, or have characters sing for whole chapters. This isn't a book for the casual Locke Lamora/fantasy enthusiast.
it starts great, with locke and jean working on a complicated new plan to rob a famous casino, and things roll on smoothly for maybe the first quarter of the book ... and then the entire plot comes to a screeching halt. all of a sudden, the characters are thrown into some other farfetched scheme, and all the stuff we just read about in the previous hundred-some pages is basically meaningless now. locke and jean don't actually come back to the casino-robbing job until the very end of the book.
in the meantime, they become pirates on a wild goose chase that was so contrived and idiotic that it totally pulled me out of the novel. none of it made the slightest bit of sense, and the worst part was that locke and jean pretty much say that in the book. "why are we doing this? none of it makes any sense!" if your own characters are in agreement that the plot of your book is stupid and pointless, then you need to take a step back and find out where everything went wrong. the entire middle section of the book, while mildly entertaining if it took place in a different novel with different characters, is one huge side quest that really seems like a pointless distraction to pad out the length of the book. and if you manage to actually grind your way through their brainless pirate adventure, you're rewarded with a stupid and frustratingly anticlimactic finale that makes everything in the whole book seem like a slap in the face. locke and jean are a pair of great characters, but even they can't make this book worth reading.
This is a classic problem of an author who wants to widen the world they’ve created, but doen’t know how. Think Robert Jordan or Martin after a few books ... except this is book two.
The crux of the issue here is that there isn’t a coherent main arc. The book is a group of scenes where it looks like the author got bored about a third of the way through. The reader could skip the beginning of the book and just start mid way through maybe.
The pirates or kind of endearing, but it’s far too long of walk to get there. The character changes aren’t earned and really don’t make sense.
I started skimming about 100 pages in and just burnt though the last 100 pages because I was so far in. This book is a skip and it reflects very poorly on the author, editor and publisher after a fantastic first book.
Top reviews from other countries
I'm not sure any future book in this series will be able to beat The Lies of Locke Lamora for me (I say having read two books in the series) because that book was just so wonderful but Red Seas Under Red Skies was almost everything I had hoped for in the sequel.
Full of cons and piracy, the second book in this series was just as action-packed, funny, and heart-breaking as the first one. The world-building in the series is so intricate and in-depth while also managing to stay easy to follow which is something that has not yet ceased to impress me. Scott Lynch took it to another level in Red Seas Under Red Skies with the addition of the piracy plot line and the resulting adventures around Therin. I think I enjoyed the first half and the end of the book a little more as there was more conning people going on but honestly I had a pretty amazing time throughout.
I do not even know where to start with Locke and Jean. Their relationship is everything to me. The love and loyalty they have for one another has to be my absolute favourite part of this series as a whole and this book had me constantly losing my mind over their friendship (bro-ship?)
"'Together,' said Locke. 'You didn't leave me in Camorr or Vel Virazzo. The hell if I'll leave you here'"
Another great addition to the world was the new characters we were introduced to in this book - namely Zamira and Ezri who I loved and appreciated because these books were seriously lacking in awesome women previously and these two were definitely that. Sure, I would like to see more awesome women teaming up with Locke and Jean but hey this was a good start.
I also really enjoyed the twists in this book - there's just something so entertaining about never knowing what the plan is or what's going to happen next or who can be trusted and that is definitely one of the big selling points of this series.
Their new home and their new mark are well thought out and just as imaginative as anything that came before. Then, just as you're settling in for a thrilling heist story, it all changes as their plans are thrown in the air by a powerful new adversary. Suddenly it's off to sea and it feels like a different story with all - new characters.
It all comes back around, Jean and Locke are too stubborn to give up on the planning and effort that have been put into their scam and it all ties up nicely in the end. Albeit with twists and tragedies that we have come to expect from this series. So, I forgive the feeling that the author got fed up and started another book half way through. It really felt that way to me. The number of new characters we meet, the new situation, the change of pace all felt like the beginning of a new book. It ties up in the end. It makes sense and I did thoroughly enjoy the book, but it jarred a little.
I'm looking forward to seeing what is in store for the Gentlemen Bastards in book 3.
After the first 200 pages or so - things get very complicated. Locke and Jean playing 3-4 personas depending on who they are talking too. This tale is mixed with poison, trying to rob a vault at the casino, pretending to be pirates, love and quite a few deaths again..
There are a lot more characters in this book than the first that I cared about. So much going on including the divisions of pirates, mages still after Locke & Jean, assassination attempts etc... As I mentioned this is very fast paced and I think the human qualities of the main characters shine - they are not super heroes and are just likely to make mistakes during the long cons. Also - Jean and Locke have the best bromance ever! Can't wait for the next book.
If you liked the first, you’ll like this.
I am delighted to see that I still have another volume to go and that the series is continuing with another title yet to be published.