Tag Archives: thieves

Lynchmob! Anything on this book?

I just got back from the bookstore, and I see they’ve stocked Rachel Aaron’s The Legend of Eli Monpress. Now, I’ve heard about it before, and I know it’s about a thief/thieves, and the cover looks really nice, and it has a little blurb saying “Fans of Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora will be thrilled with Eli Monpress”, and so I am interested. I’m not too sure about the thief commanding magic though, and the glance I took at the innards, while not repellent, did not exactly impress, either.

So, dear Lynchmob – has anyone read this? Heard about it? Should I buy it? (It’s kind of a good bargain – the whole three-book omnibus for 15€.) Is it good? Is it crap?

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Red Seas Under Red Skies Read-Along: WEEK 5

Shamefully late! I do beg your pardon!

“Now, if you find yourself in trouble wherever you go, you can hold up that little bag to whoever’s bothering you, and you san say, ‘You have no idea who you’re fucking with. I’m under the protection of the lady who gave me this object of her favour.’”

“And that’s supposed to make them stop?”

“Shit, no, that’s just to confuse them. Then you kill them while they’re standing there looking at you funny.”

I sob like a baby at the end of the battle. Like in Lies, Jean’s emotional reaction is so heartfelt and honest that it just breaks my heart. Even though I don’t like the kamikaze mode his grief seems to activate in him, it’s understandable. I don’t yet know whether he will recover, although of course I hope he will, eventually. He’s a down-to-earth guy, he will soon enough admit to himself that he can’t just keep living in grief and continue with his life (particularly now that Locke has forced him into it).

“What? How dare I contemplate doing what you’re now planning to do to me? You self’righteous strutting cock, I’ll – “

“What?”

“ – I’ll throw myself at you, and you’ll beat the shit out of me. And then you’ll feel awful! How about that, huh?”

Merrain! Oh, she’s just so very interesting! I’ve marked all the bits that give some sort of a clue about her identity. She might (hopefully) turn up in Republic of Thieves? I certainly want her to, because I want to know. Why is it so important no one knows she’s actually working for someone else than Stragos? Maybe she works for the bondsmagi, and the tattoo marks him as their foot soldier or something? A sword and a vine. That could be just about anything. I’m fairly certain she works on orders, and the way she wants to stick to them could mean she’s very dedicated to her master. Her calm and skill seem to denote experience.

Locke mimed shoving a dagger into an invisible Archon of Tal Verrar. It was so satisfying he mimed it again.

Now that I looked carefully and knew what Locke and Jean were up to with Requin, you could actually spot some hints. They are pretty casual, like Locke looking out of the window in Requin’s study, and Selendri leaning against the wall between two paintings etc. Very sneaky, Mr Lynch, very sneaky! I think it’s a wonderful game. It would, of course, have been wonderfully clever of Locke to get someone to tell him whether the paintings were fake or not (was there any mention of it being common knowledge that they would be real?), but he’s not an expert in art fraud or anything like that so he probably didn’t think about it that way. Requin’s not an idiot, although he’s rich, and I guess the Bastards are used to rich people who are stupid and trusting.

Requin seemed to derive a perverse pleasure in seating the seven Priori on fine chairs in the midst of the chaos and pretending that all was perfectly normal.

I’m just really fond of Requin. Particularly in the end. I think he’s quite amused by the fact that he got robbed and still got the upper hand. He’s my favourite of the sort of background characters. Him and Merrain, the latter for the mystery. Yes. Of course, Requin and Selendri and Jean and Ezri as couples, but if concentrated on just single characters… Requin and Merrain.

“Zamira, enough. Enough Ravelle this, Kosta that. Around the crew, sure. But my friends call me Locke.”

It feels so wrong to say this, but I guess I like The Lies of Locke Lamora more. The time structure is clearer, and we stay in one city. It just feels more comfortable. However, Red Seas offers a new depth to Locke and Jean.

Oh Lynn, do you even need to ask? The moment Republic of Thieves hits the stores I’ll be there. I’m sort of hoping it would be published in time for Christmas holidays, because then I could just read it and go nuts and it would interfere with schoolwork. On the other hand, it can’t be out soon enough. Fingers crossed it really happens this year!

Emerging from a long spell of false-facing could be like coming up for air after nearly drowning, Locke thought. Now all the baggage of their multi-tiered lies and identities was peeling away, sloughing off behind them as they pounded up the stairs to the Golden Steps one last time. Now that they knew the source of their mystery assassins, they had no need to sham as priests and skulk about; they could run like simple thieves with the powers of the city close on their heels.

Which was exactly what they were.

All good things must end, it would seem. I want to thank all of you lovely people who participated, and naturally the wonderful hosts of the read-alongs! It’s been a blast! We’ll see how long it takes to go back to not reading a dose of Lynch every week…

Almost forgot! I haven’t referred you people to Camorr, a website + forum dedicated to our favourite Bastards! It’s been quiet there for a while now, but things are very likely to spice up one Republic of Thieves comes out.

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Red Seas Under Red Skies Read-Along: WEEK 4

“All bullshit. I’m a bullshit artist, Zamira. A false-facer. An actor, an impersonator. I didn’t have any noble motives when I made that request. My life just wasn’t worth much if I didn’t do something utterly crazy to win back some respect. I faked every second of composure anyone glimpsed this morning.”

It feels a bit weird to see Locke lay himself bare like that, but it’s also very moving. That’s one of the reasons I like this chapter so much. He has to decide whether to trust or not, as he says himself, and he knows Jean is right in the matter. I dare say it would have been easier to go on lying if he’d not been part of the crew at any point and thus didn’t know anyone personally, but in now… Well, I would have been disappointed in him if he could have just given them to Stragos after all that scrub-watching.

“Gods, whatever’s out there knows my real name.”

“Mine as well.”

“I mean, it’s not calling me Locke. It knows my real name.”

“Oh. Shit.”

Took the words straight out of my mouth, Jean. That mist is creepy. It could be that the mist is some sort of chemical that affects the brains, and so it’s Locke’s own head talking to him, and naturally he knows his own real name. But it’s not just random mist, it comes from somewhere or is emitted by someone or something and that something/one uses the mist to lure its victims. It’s mentioned that Jean sees a dark shape, but that’s not really too much to go on.

It’s frightening in general, to think that something might know Locke’s real name. Jean would never tell anyone, but if the Bondsmagi got it… *shudder*

Also, if you have ever watched the 90s TV series Moomins, there’s an episode with a ghost ship that creeps the hell out of me even to this day. The ship glides out from the mists with ripped-up sails and passes through the bow of the boat the Moomins are in. The music is scary, and I hear parts of it reading the Parlour Passage bit.

“Legs are open, old man. Can you really get it up?”

I love the selling of the Red Messenger. I think Locke enjoys himself enormously, pulling off something he’s sure about. It’s a pretty simple trick, as he points out, but he was posing as a captain for a rather long time without a clue about what to do, and now he gets to be in total control of the situation. Must feel good, be doing something he has in hand the whole time for a change.

All the names, then. I don’t know whether Lynch does it on purpose, but I doubt Locke has the identities muddled up any more than the reader does. Of course, this is kind of reminiscent of what Arsène Lupin says in The Escape of Arsène Lupin: “… there comes a time when you cease to know yourself amid all these changes, and that is very sad. I feel at present as the man must have felt who lost his shadow…” (I’m shamelessly quoting from The Quantum Thief – that quote is at the beginning. But looking it up on Gutenberg would have taken forever.) We’ll see if this happens to Locke. Maybe one day there’ll be a game so elaborate he needs a dozen names and then slips with a character, and has to either think very quickly or run like hell.

“Look, we almost got killed today. Fuck these games. Do you want to have a drink with me?”

Ngh. Jean and Ezri. Damn them for being so infuriatingly adorable! Gods. I just squeal every time they are talking together. Or just mentioned in the same sentence. OTP? I think so!

Then something that bothered me in the last chapter. When Locke and Jean go to Sinspire, Selendri says, “Stay here in the service area, Valora.” Now, have I missed something? Shouldn’t Selendri be calling Jerome “de Ferra”? Did Locke at some point tell Requin what their names on board would be? If someone whose brain is working better would tell me what I’ve missed I’d be grateful. Almost lost sleep over it last night – I’ve never noticed it before.

“Tonight is delicate business. Misstepping in Port Prodigal after midnight is like pissing on an angry snake. I need – “

“Ahem. Originally, we’re from Camorr.”

“Oh. Be on the boat in five minutes.”

Teehee. That amuses me greatly. Go Camorr!

Ahem. Yes, that’s it for this week. Last section to go. One week. We’ll see what happens!

“Crooked Warden, I will fear no darkness, for the night is yours. Your night is my cloak, my shield, my escape from those who hunt to feed the noose. I will fear no evil, for you have made the night my friend.”

 

EDIT:// I found that episode of Moomins in English! It loses some of the creepiness in the English dub, unfortunately, and the music I associate with the ship is for the most part not in here but in a later part (apparently – it’s been long since I’ve watched these!) – but it’s still scary. The scene with the ship starts somewhere around 11 minutes, but feel free to watch the whole episode! 😀 Moomins are very entertaining.

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Red Seas Under Red Skies Read-Along WEEK 3

Okay. This is going to be a very, very random post. I wrote it Friday night, just after the questions arrived, and if I touch it too much now it will become very dull and short. (Vocabulary marvellously expands during the night, I find.)

Some of the set questions will be discussed, some not, and nothing is likely to be in any kind of order. Bear with me.

 

“Well, splendid. Once again we’ve engineered a brilliant escape from immediate peril and stolen something of value to take with us. This boat must be worth two solari.”

 

Seeing as I learned the word “mutiny” from the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, my mental images come heavily from that movie. As indeed do a lot of my mental images on piracy, to be frank.

“What do you mean, you haven’t been turning the glasses?”

“Captain Ravelle, sir, beggin’ your double-fuckin’ pardon, but we ain’t had no time to turn the glasses nor mind the log since… hell, I suppose I can’t say. Awhile now.”

Did anyone go “Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh SHIT!” when Caldris died? ‘Cause I remember the first I read that. I’d been reading all evening, it was probably two thirty in the morning and I really really REALLY needed to get some sleep in and then Caldris goes and dies and Locke and Jean are in the middle of a storm and oh gods. It was horrible. Now at least I can take a deep breath and assure myself that it’s okay. It’s too bad about Caldris though, I like him.

“I’ll wager I would have screwed things up regardless. But… can you imagine those poor bastards grappling their prey, leaping over the rails, swords in hand, screaming, ‘Your cats! Give us all your gads-damned cats!’”

The practical reason for cats is probably the rat-catching, ‘cause that can naturally be a real problem. I’m sort of partial to rat-catching dogs, actually, but that’s because I’m a dog person. And maybe the cats are there partly because Mr Lynch has a cat (or cats?). But as for the symbolic reason for their necessity is what Caldris said about them: they are proud creatures, and they please Iono, so I suppose it’s the kind of religious thing you tend to get.

“Ah, that’s wonderful. Another fine chance to explain myself to someone. How I do so love explaining myself.”

Women! I forgot to say last week how much I love it that NOT having women on board is bad luck. Uh yeah, why wouldn’t it be? And we finally met Ezri! I like Ezri so much! She’s real fun and spunky, and a damned good officer it would seem. (This may be strange, but if anyone follows Team Starkid and their musicals, Ezri reminds me of Lauren Lopez. Not much, but… somehow.) She’s yet another detail I’d love to see on a big screen, and particularly in the All Souls In Peril chapter; first ordering the crew around, being all bad-ass, and then fighting on the Kingfisher, being even more bad-ass! She’s great. Any actress playing her would have to have a certain kind of voice though, at least to get my acceptance.

Locke responded with a two-handed gesture he’d learned as a boy, one guaranteed to start fights in any city-state of the Therin world. The crowd of pirates returned it, with many creative variations.

First we just kind of slipped to Jean’s perspective, and suddenly we find we’re in his head a lot. I like how sneaky that is, and it’s really nice to get a better picture of Jean. Particularly because he’s such a sweetheart. I hope the trend carries through the series, and I also think that it provides us with certain possibilities.

“Marvellously clever, Jabril! You’ve tracked me unerringly to the cabin in which I’ve been fast asleep and motionless all bloody night. Who tipped you off?”

I’m sort of uneasy about Paolo and Cosetta, but then again I’m always a little vary of children. Cosetta seems to have the makings of a pirate queen though (Moot nust!), and it would be very interesting how they turn up when they are older.

Locke Lamora was small, but the Thorn of Camorr was larger than any of this. The Thorn couldn’t be touched by blade or spell or scorn. Locke thought of the Falconer, bleeding at his feet. He thought of the Grey King, dead beneath his knife. He thought of the fortunes that had run through his fingers, and he smiled.

This was the first time that the appearance of the Thorn had such an impact on me. I reread that little bit several times, and afterwards it made me giddy to have all the present crew whisper about Locke. It’s just wonderful, to see him gain respect, although this is the kind of respect and reputation that might easily get him killed.

… Locke meant to hit it wearing the biggest lie of his life like a costume. He might be dead in a few seconds, but until then, by gods, he was the Thorn of Camorr. He was Captain Orrin fucking Ravelle.

Kills my heart, by the way, to have Jean and Locke argue like that.

Oh, and I really like the name Orrin Ravelle. Nice sound, it has.

“Hey, time comes to board her, I’ll row the boat naked and attack the bastards with my good fuckin’ looks. Just wait and see if she’s prey, is all I’m sayin’.”

Next week, some of my favourite bits coming up! More Ezri! More Drakasha! Cats! Ships! Pirates! Err… Yeah.

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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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Red Seas Under Red Skies Read-Along is go!

Today starts the second read-along of Scott Lynch’s awesometastic Gentleman Bastard Sequence! We had a whole lot of fun with the first book (well, I did, and I feel pretty certain I can speak for the other participants as well) and it has felt weird, not blogging on weekends. If you have want to join our jolly group, you can still do it – drop a word to any of the organizers on the list below and let them know!

Little Red Reviewer

Dark Cargo

My Awful Reviews

@ohthatashley (she posts at SF Signal)

The reading schedule will be as follows:

Part 1 – Beginning thru End of Chapter 3, discussion questions go out Thurs April 26, posts go up Sat April 28
Part 2 – Reminiscence “The Lady of the Glass Pylon” thru end of Chapter 6, discussion questions go out Thurs May 3, posts go up Sat May 5
Part 3 – Chapter 7 thru end of Chapter 10, discussion questions go out May 10, posts go up Sat May 12
Part 4 – Chapter 11 thru end of chapter 13, discussion questions go out May 17, posts go up Sat May 19
Part 5 – Chapter 14 to the end, discussion question go out May 24, posts go up Sat May 26

We ask that you don’t post until Saturdays, in case someone is still reading. (I think you all know the proper etiquette, but better safe than sorry.)

I’m having trouble reading my current book – Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals – but I’ll work hard to finish it tonight and starting with beloved RSURS tomorrow!

Richer and cleverer than everyone else!

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Locke Lamora Read-Along: WEEK 5

Ila justicca vei cala

So we have come to this. The end of the Lies of Locke Lamora. I’m already feeling a little weird.

“Don’t worry, Jean. It’ll be nothing but a routine evening with the Duke and his entire fucking court, assembled in a glass tower six hundred feet in the air. What could possibly go wrong?”

The first question was about whether Locke lived up to his reputation as the Thorn of Camorr and whether he changed. This is the kind of question that requires lots and lots of thinking (and headaches) from me. I’m leaning towards saying that for the most part, Locke is as he has always been – we just see things we didn’t know he had. Of course, he has never been in a situation like this before, and the events being as traumatic as they were, there is bound to be change. But I think it doesn’t have time to become visible in this book.

Hard lessons were handed out; as many men learned to their sorrow, it’s impossible to be intimidating when one angry woman has your cock between her teeth and another is holding a stiletto to your kidneys.

I love the women of Camorr. Daughters of Camorr is one of my favourite bits, reminding us that you do not mess with Doña Vorchenza or Doña Sofia, who in this last section of the book shows great promise.

What I also like about Lynch’s world is that women have, if not perfect equality, something very close to it. They are in all the same professions as men, and they are just as tough. It is natural that Jean should not hold back fighting the Berangias sisters: it has been made clear that they are both merciless and dangerous. I suppose I did feel a little upset when Locke decked Doña Vorchenza, but although she is old she is tough, and it’s obvious she can take it. I like the way there is no mercy towards the women. In this setting it feels very natural.

“I’m not going to kill you. I’m going to play a little game I like to call ‘Scream in pain until you answer my fucking questions.’”

I’ll now skip a couple of questions and tell you how happy I am every single gods-damned time I read the scene where the Falconer finally gets what’s coming to him. Teaches that arrogant arse and his pet budgie some manners. You can just feel the satisfaction of revenge there. I think Locke gets more joy out of torturing the bondsmage than he gets from killing Anatolius. For some reason I feel that the Grey King was too hardened to suffer probably. Sure, he lost his sisters and must have been distraught, but there can’t have been much in killing a man who had already lost everything. Of course he had to die, I’m not saying that, but I sort of get the feeling that Locke doesn’t feel content afterwards. Then again, maybe that’s the thing with getting total revenge – you’re empty after that, there’s no goal.

A little like after finishing a good book, yes? It’s so amazing, and you’re so content, and then it ends, and it’s like nothing can take its place.

Just noticed how fitting the Grey King’s ship’s name is: Satisfaction.

I also want to point out that there is a cheer-inducing bit in the scene with the Falconer:

“Now, I can accept that it would be a bad idea to kill you. But when I finally let you slink back to Karthain, you’re going as an object lesson. You’re going to remind your pampered, twisted, arrogant fucking brethren about what might happen when you fuck with someone’s friends in Camorr.”

That’s right, you bastard.

This brings us nicely to question seven about the amount of profanities. I know some people don’t like them, but I do. I had a Finnish teacher once who explicitly gave us permission to swear in class, as long as we did not go to excessiveness. The reason? It’s part of the language, and that’s okay. That’s probably why Lynch’s dialogue is such a treat to read. The colourful profanities make it sounds natural and relaxed, as well as provide some flavour. So I say bring it on!

“Ibelius, let him alone; you are henpecking him without having the decency to marry him first.”

Thus draws to a close the awesomeness that has been the Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along. I want to thank everyone involved, and of course the hosts in particular – it’s been a blast!

One question remains: When are we starting with Red Seas Under Red Skies?

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Locke Lamora Read-Along: WEEK 3

Gods, what a busy week it has been! I’ve had very little time to read, and although Locke has suffered very little from this, it has wreaked havoc on the other book I’m going through right now.

Anyway. This week I think I’ll do this the same way as last week, commenting on questions I have no “additional” information on and then just rambling about things that were brought to my mind while reading.

“Beer now, bitch later.”

Let’s start with the arsehole, the Falconer. He rubs me the wrong way, with his arrogant air and oh-I’m-so-cool-and-clever attitude. However, I find the magic interesting. One of the reasons I love Lynch is that there is very little magic going on, and even when there is, it’s very limited – even the Bondsmage can’t do just anything. We haven’t exactly seen many conditions for using it, although apparently the magic becomes more potent at least when you stitch the target’s name on a piece of cloth. (Would leather work better? Just wondering.)

“For the love the gods, madam, can you please pick one man and in your bedroom to cheer for and stick with him?”

Don’t get me started on the fun bits! Lynch just has me grinning and giggling like an idiot, and there’s no way the environment can stop that! In this section of the read-along, the Vine Highway is perhaps the best part. The scene in the woman’s room is so messy, in a very funny way.

For some very annoying reason (I suspect it has to do with the few hours at the bar last night) I can’t think of my favourite giggle bits. It could be the fact that I just generally grin through the whole book – well, maybe not in The Funeral Cask and the likes – and so it is hard to separate the individual bits.

I hate my brain right now. Just you wait, when I get to class on Monday I can summon at least fifteen hilarious lines and bits and write them down from memory…

“… We could buy titles in Lashain; make Bug a count and and set ourselves up as his household.”

“Or make ourselves counts and set Bug up as our household. Run him back and forth. It’d be good for his moral education.”

Question seven is about what Chains is aiming at, training his little Bastards in all sorts of arts. I don’t believe there is anything specific he wants them to do with their skills. He just wants them to be the best false-facers there are so they can pull off these marvellous scams that are so much more profitable than ordinary thieving. He wants them smart, well-rounded and circumspect.

I also refuse to believe Chains has any particular reason to break the Secret Peace and go against the Capa. They were friends, after all, and perhaps this is Chains’s personal little joke, having his gang go behind Barsavi’s back – they aren’t really doing any harm to the Peace, after all. What I believe to be his motive in these secret games, well, I think Bug said it in the Toast Scene: “I only steal because it’s heaps of fucking fun!”

All my love to Bug, by the way. He is great, with his youthful confidence, attempts at lifting the mood of the group and straightforward logic the adults around him sometimes seem to lack. He has true spirit.

“My name is Jean Tannen, and I’m the ambush.”

Last but never ever  the least – Jean Tannen. I absolutely adore Jean, particularly the little one. Hot-tempered little guy whom everyone overlooks just because he looks soft. Doing so is, as we have seen, a huge mistake, since Jean can take on pretty much anyone if necessary. I love the order in which the relationship between Locke and Jean is revealed: first we see them getting along and working together seamlessly, but only around middle of the book it turns out it was not instant chemistry. Of course, this was mostly Locke’s fault – and this is also one of the moments in most enjoy when reading child Locke, since this is, from my meagre experience, how kids often think: not one of us, don’t like him. Different. Jealousy. And so on.

“I’m well aware of who’s supposed to be strutting around wearing the Grey King’s clothes, thanks very much. I’m just debating whether or not I should hang an archery butt around my neck. Oh, and wondering if I can learn to split myself in two before the Duke’s Day.”

I want to apologise for the erratic quality of this post. Conditions, as I said in the beginning, have not been optimal. I’ve been to school, spent two days in training for my summer job, and the fact that this week’s section has been gloomy does not exactly lift my spirits.

“I can’t wait to have words with the Grey King when this shit is all finished. There’s a few things I want to ask him. Philosophical questions. Like, ‘How does it feel to be dangled out a window by a rope tied around your balls, motherfucker?’”

So to the next week!

EDIT:// I forgot to add an anecdote from the first time reading! You remember that mascara ad that was on TV a couple of years ago? Maybelline Lash Stiletto? With lost of disembodied legs wearing stiletto heels? Well, I was reading the bit where Locke is being dressed up as the Grey King during a commercial break, and said ad was on. I lifted my eyes from the book for a moment to see what was going on on screen, and then returned to the text only to have Locke say, “Galdo, hand me my stilettos, would you?” Needless to say I was confused for a long while as to why did miss it that the Grey King’s outfit required high heels. Then I felt really stupid and had to laugh at myself.

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Locke Lamora Read-Along: WEEK 2

Since this week’s questions are on the first-timer side of things I’m choosing to ignore them (well, not completely, but for the most part) and just chat about random things that I thought of while reading. I also recall some of the reactions from my first read.

“Second touch this afternoon was easy. But we wouldn’t have gotten so far, so fast, if not for Bug’s quick action yesterday. What a stupid, reckless, idiotic, ridiculous damn thing to do! I haven’t the words to express my admiration.”

The beginning of this week’s section contains my perhaps favourite bit in this whole 500+ -page affair: the “Toast Scene”. It is simply so marvellous. We see the fun side of the Bastards, as well as get a glimpse of their dark side, just so show us they are not always merry and bright. And these every-day moments are also the thing I like best in the book: the way they joke around, tease each other, do things like changing appearances with such detail yet confident casualty – and the immense warmth that they share. If they ever make a movie of this book (which I half hope they would not, because there is a great chance they’d completely ruin it) this scene should absolutely be included. In the DVD extras if nowhere else.

“Auffershallow?”

Question two was about the description of liquors. Now, I’m Finnish, and if there is something Finland is usually connected with, it’s liquor. Although I’m not a heavy drinker myself, I enjoy my drinks. It follows that I also like to hear about new drinks – the stranger the better – and I love it that this book offers me that as well as all the other entertainment. As I was reading a couple of days ago, I came to the decision I would prefer Camorri beer over Verrari. But then again, were both offered, I’d like to get a taste of both. And if I could get a cask of Austershalin, well…

“If your father says ‘Bark like a dog,’ I say ‘What breed, your honour?'”

Nazca Barsavi is the kind of woman I’d like to be friends with. She’s sharp and cautious, just as Locke says, and has a lot of style. She and Locke are too good friends to get married, I think, but she would make a splendid Gentleman Bastard were her father not who he is. First time reading Capa Barsavi give Locke permission to court Nazca I grinned like a maniac and probably said out loud, “Oh, you’re in trouble now!” It’s hilarious to see Locke’s reaction. I think he’s brain was very busy at that moment trying to figure out how to get out of the mess, the little oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit that we all hear when we’re screwed doing little to help him think.

Just a detail I picked up, and nothing very significant – but Chains called Barsavi “Ven” when he was introducing Locke. It makes sense, them being old friends, but Barsavi addresses him as “Chains”. I’m wondering whether it is a nickname from far back, whether Chains adopted the name after coming to Camorr and it was catchy enough to stick, or whether it is actually at least part of his real name? I find “Ven” more informal than “Chains”, but as I said, knowing what we know there is really no guessing.

To return to the idea of Locke Lamora the Movie, there is another thing besides the “Toast Scene” I would love to see: the hand signs. I’m so very enamoured by them. In the group of Bastards they must be so subtle, since they know each other so well that they can catch even the barest hint. And what a wonderful communication system! I used to play a card game with some friends, where the players were sitting opposite to their pair and communicating their cards through predetermined signs. They didn’t need to be hand signs, but those were popular – and it was sometimes hard to spot them, particularly when you had to be discreet about them so the other pairs would not learn what your sign was. It was great fun, although I was not very good at it.

The Midnighters! I almost panicked the first time the two turn up in Salvara’s study and give the game away. The relief when the secret behind this is revealed… It was great. It was awesome. And the preparations for this are so much fun to follow. The aftermath of the scene, and now the end of this post, gets a giggle out of me every time:

“By the Crooked Warden, I never heard such self-pity dripping from the mouth of a wealthy man! Cheer up! Richer and cleverer than everyone else, right?”

“Richer and cleverer and walking very funny, yes.”

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Locke Lamora Read-Along: WEEK 1

Locke Lamora’s rule of thumb was this – a good confidence game took three months to plan, three weeks to rehearse, and three seconds to win or lose the victim’s trust forever.

I’ve been beyond excited about this all week. It hasn’t helped that it has been a busy week – and things will be getting busier – but with the power of Gentleman Bastards everything is better!

So, on to the starters!

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far?  If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?

Oh, this book just keeps kicking your arse every time you read it. Seriously. It’s always a pleasure to slip back to Camorr and examine the little details you didn’t really notice the couple last times. I say this a lot, but reading Locke Lamora is like going home – although to my great displeasure I must admit I’m not sure I’d last a week there.

2. At last count, I found three time lines:  Locke as as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?

I’m in disagreement here. I see three time lines as well, but different ones: Locke as a child, the preparation and “backstage” of the Salvara Game and the game itself, and I don’t find this confusing at all. I’m actually very surprised it didn’t bother me the first time either, since my English back then wasn’t much good and a lot of effort went to understanding sentence structure. On the other hand, a friend of mine just recently tried reading the book and told me she had trouble following it, and now reading it with this in mind I can sort of see how that could happen.

But short answer would be that I like this way of introducing a world, bit by bit and often in practice.

3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?

I love Camorr. Simple as that. It might be because of the relation to Venice that it feels so familiar and utterly comfortable. I love it how different cultures are presented through things like clothing (one day I will have a Fehrwight coat for winter!) and social customs.

If anyone is familiar enough with liquors to come up with a Ginger Scald recipe, I want to know!


4. Father Chains and the death offering. . .  quite the code of honor for thieves, isn’t it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into? 

I think the business with the death offering is supposed to teach Locke responsibility and that there are always consequences.

5. It’s been a while since I read this, and I’d forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what’s happening?

I like the deep end. However, I think Lynch managed to balance on the line of explaining things in advance and just dropping colourful details in the midst of conversation. I think it’s also nice to have the longer descriptions in their own… subchapters? What are they called? But I’m sure you know what I mean. Too lengthy descriptions tend to bore me.

6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.

I’m not cut out to be a pickpocket, but I just had a job interview in a big corporate building and had to sit in the waiting area for some time. Found myself thinking how it could be entered without anyone’s permission. (There were reception people, ID slips indicating a visitor’s host, lift cards etc.)

Now the book is started, and I’m getting more and more excited. I’ll finish with a quote from Father Chains that I had not paid proper attention to before but tickled my fancy.

Because, Locke Lamora, some day you’re going to dine with barons and counts and dukes. You’re going to dine with merchants and admirals and generals and ladies of every sort! And when you do… When you do, those poor idiots won’t have any idea that they’re really dining with a thief!

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