Top positive review
A Wonderful Romantic Political Thriller Fantasy Novel
on October 24, 2017
The Republic of Thieves is a continuation of the excellent Gentlemen Bastard Sequence, and while it's probably the weakest of the three books, it's still a very enjoyable read that greatly expands on the world building of the series and Locke Lamora's background. The main story takes place immediately after the ending of the second book of the series, Red Seas Under Red Skies, as once again the duo of Jean Tannen and Locke Lamora have to move on to a different City State after all of the shenanigans they went through in the previous book. Pretty much immediately they are under the power of another person that holds their lives in her hands, with it this time being the mother of The Falconer, a Bondsmagi of Karthain that they'd encountered (to avoid any spoilers) in the first book. She requires their unique set of skills to rig an election of the normal humans in Karthain, part of a game the Sorcerers Guild plays every five years. The biggest hurdle in winning the game is their opponent that's also trying to rig the election for the opposing party, a woman from their past and a former Gentlemen Bastard who just happens to be the love of Locke Lamora's life, Sabetha Belacoros.
I always found it so interesting that in the previous two books, Sabetha was a character mentioned multiple times, but she never actually appeared in any of the flashbacks or the present day story line. This is definitely remedied in The Republic of Thieves, as she's featured in both the main story of the book, and the series of flash backs going from their first meeting their first big scheme as a team. Here is where the book really shined for me, as while I enjoyed the political thriller of the present story line, I was enthralled by the long flashback where the young Gentlemen Bastards are sent off to join an acting troupe and save the director Moncraine from massive debt and prison/hand-amputation for punching a noble. I absolutely loved all of the character building in this session of the story, and the multi-layered writing as the characters are acting in a Shakespearean Tragedy of Scott Lynch's own creation. I think a lot of other writers would have left a lot of it ambiguous, but the author doesn't stray from writing the play the characters are rehearsing and acting in while taking place in a fantasy novel.
The slowly budding love between Sabetha and Locke was a joy to read, and it served as a really interesting counterpart to the present day story line years later where they've been separated for years but are starting to potentially rekindle that relationship. Of course things wouldn't be that easy, as if the ever watching Bondsmagi of both sides promise to kill the opponent of their representative if either of them don't put everything into winning the game. There's also some twistiness introduced with Locke's background and his true name that could change everything the characters think they know.
Overall, this is a wonderful continuation of an excellent series of books, that while not quite matching the quality of the first two books, is a must read for an fan of the earlier books. My biggest complaint is probably that the stakes aren't quite as high in this book as the first two, and the conclusion is nowhere near as insane. Still, I'd definitely recommend it.