Red Seas Under Red Skies Read-Along: WEEK 1

The first time I started Red Seas Under Red Skies, I’d had to wait a couple of months after Locke Lamora because of my last matriculation exams. Then, when the first chapter finally began, I squealed.

That still happens.

The game was Carousel Hazard, the stakes were roughly half of all the wealth they commanded in the entire world, and the plain truth was that Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen were getting beaten like a pair of dusty carpets.

What I wanted to mention first was the amazingly comfortable way Tal Verrar builds around you. For me, it’s a little too heavy on description and quite as masterful as the way Camorr was made, but the key word here is comfort. You get the feeling of Tal Verrar, and the money – particularly the money – is somehow very logical. When I read RSURS, it’s hard for me to remember what the currency in Camorr is. When reading Lies, solari and volani and centira slip my mind. The names are again easy to remember; Durenna, Corvaleur, Kosta, de Ferra, Stragos… I hate having to flip back pages to check who is who, and with Lynch I don’t have to do that because the names are easy.

“I suspect that drink has made you impulsive.”

“Drink makes me feel funny; the gods made me impulsive.”

Yes, there the alcohol is again, and at the very beginning! Carousel Hazard sounds like a fun game, even though I don’t care for cards all that much. And Kameleona – how awesome is that? You’d never get bored of it.

“Surely you boys can do simple sums. One plus one equals don’t fuck with me.”

I adore these two reminiscences. (Actually, all the reminiscences in this book, but we can get back to that later.) First there is Jean in Vel Virazzo, trying to cope and at the same time kick Locke’s arse. It’s amazing how he puts up with the moping angst!Locke. It’s just really amusing to watch how he gets Locke out of the inn and gets the fire burning again. One of my favourite conversations is this:

“That’s a sweet piece,” said Jean, briefly forgetting to be aggravated. “You didn’t snatch that off a street.”

“No,” said Locke, before taking another deep draught of the warm water in the decanter. “I got it from the neck of the governor’s mistress.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“In the governor’s manor.”

“Of all the – “

“In the governor’s bed.”

“Damned lunatic!”

“With the governor sleeping next to her.”

The night quiet was broken by the high, distant trill of a whistle, the traditional swarming-noise of the city watches everywhere. Several other whistles joined in a few moments later.

“It is possible,” said Locke with a sheepish grin, “that I have been slightly too bold.”

So good to get Locke back. It’s not long we have to suffer the idiot, but it’s enough. I hope we never see that again.

The second reminiscence, where they travel from Vel Virazzo to Tal Verrar, is interesting because we see some of the first steps of a big game. In Lies we saw a lot of preparations for touches and such, and had a couple of Locke’s I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing-but-that-usually-works kind of starts, but not like this. This is a two-year job they’re talking about, and that takes more thinking.

There’s also so much sadness and quiet in this bit, what with missing the other Bastards (I’ve slept very little and almost cried when they mentioned Bug) and Locke bringing up the idea of retirement.

“Viscount Anonymous Unknown of Lashain – and his neighbour, Viscount Unknown Anonymous. There are worse fates, I suppose.”

At this point I confess I didn’t finish the section for this week – stupid grammar exam on Thursday, and I feel so guilty when I’m reading something else than Longman’s Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English – so I will leave abusing the Archon for next week when I’m hopefully less busy. For now I’ll just say I hate him. And the bondsmagi are not exactly gaining any favour.

Just thinking about those dicks makes me want to strangle someone.

“Jean, now you’re disappointing me. Gates? Ships? Please. This is us we are talking about. We could smuggle a live cow past every constable in this city, at high noon. Without clothes.”

It’s so good to be back with the Gentleman Bastards. I can’t keep the grin off my face reading Locke deal with Requin and producing those packs of cards. Once again, something I would like to see on the silver screen. It would be so awesome!

Thankfully Hay’s Code is not operating anymore. That would mean no chance of filming Gentleman Bastards – or at least the films would be very boring.

I digress. Until next week!

“Go on, eat your other core; it’s got a nice juicy pear wrapped around it.”

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Red Seas Under Red Skies Read-Along: WEEK 1

  1. Firstly, hope your exam went well 😀
    I love all your little quotes – I really must start making a note of the ones that make me LOL. I liked it when Jean was on Locke’s case and he said something along the lines of ‘I’m just an honest thief’. I love that guy!
    I thought the bit in the market place was excellent – it put me in mind of a zombie movie the way the Bondsmagi took over their minds. Creepy.
    Lynn 😀

    • Thank you! I have a feeling it won’t be too good, but here’s for trying! xD
      Jean is simply awesome! And he says great stuff, too – there are some of my favourite lines coming up pretty soon. And it’s a big plus he’s a reader. ;D
      Creepy, creepy bondsmagi. Bastards, and not the good ones either. *shiver* What creeps me out most is how defenceless Locke and Jean were in that situation: I’m sure they would have hesitated killing them if they’d attacked, because they would have been harming innocent people. Not that the bondsmagi would have to resort to a physical attack anyway, but it’s a discomforting thought…

  2. Pingback: Red Seas Under Red Skies Read-Along, part one! « the Little Red Reviewer

  3. Pingback: Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along Part I « Darkcargo

  4. I loved the game too. I love how the drinking aspect is part of the strategy.

  5. Carousel Hazard is the kind of game that I’d think in my head is a bad idea, swear not to play, try anyway, and regret the next morning. It’s brilliant.

  6. ““It is possible,” said Locke with a sheepish grin, “that I have been slightly too bold.””

    I always love Locke when he says things like that. i mean, how can I not offer at least a crooked smile to that?

    Hope your exams went OK, and hope these books aren’t rubbing off on you too much, and that you aren’t responding to the essay questions with things like “fuck that classless bastard, he hasn’t got the brains of a gentled aardvark”, or some such. 😉

    I’m sure I could convinced to play carousel hazard, even though it’s a terrible idea. I suck at cards, but i do enjoy alcohol, so whoever played against me would be guaranteed a win!

    • I think the teacher is safe, little as I like her – it will be mostly along the lines of “Look at that sentence, chop it to pieces, analyse each piece and its function and wonder the whole time why the hell you’re supposed to be doing this”, although there’s of course the risk of some physical chopping and Words when handing in the cursed paper. 😛 (Ahem. My least favourite course ever. I get ranty about it.)

      xD You have NO idea how much I love the word ‘aardvark’. It’s not used nearly enough, ever.

      One day, there’ll be someone clever who figures out Carousel Hazard and sets up a game. It’ll be epic, and we all need to be there! 😀

  7. Ha! Once I started reading I also realized I had a grin on my face. 🙂 I didn’t even realize I missed them so much until I got into their company again.

  8. Amy

    I just can’t picture Locke in retirement. Just can’t. 🙂

    The games were a lot of fun but being a bad gambler, I would never set foot in that place which I why I loved seeing Locke and Jean win.

  9. I have to agree with the planning in the beginning. In the first book, Locke winging through the Grey King and the bank scenes felt at odds with the planned Salvara game. This one feels a lot more consistent.

    http://www.akshul.com/2012/05/03/red-seas-under-red-skies-read-along-week-one/

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