Thursday, January 2, 2014
THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by SCOTT LYNCH
I couldn't wait to read what trouble Locke and Jean would get up to in RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES. The follow up, while no classic, was a worthy sequel.
THE GENTLEMAN BASTARD SEQUENCE appeared to be off and running, Lynch a growing name in the fantasy genre.
Then nothing. For five long years.
The wait for THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES was made all the more torturous due to the monumental cliff hanger at the end of RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES.
Five years is also a difficult amount of time, for me anyway, to remember all the details of a fantasy series. It's one of the reasons I was not able to continue reading George R.R. Martin's SONG OF FIRE AND ICE series. How can I possibly remember all those characters and situations? Sure, that's what wikipedia is for but none the less…
THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES is a descent novel but no where near what I was hoping it might be or as good as I think it could have been.
Locke and Jean and their long ago friend Sabatha are corralled by the Bondsmagi of Karthain to rig/compete against one another in the Karthain elections. Locke and Jean against Sabatha…who can get the most seats for their respective party?
THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES runs between two time lines. One delves into an earlier time of Locke, Jean and Sabatha's early years when their master, Chains, sends them away to Espara where they join a troubled theatre group with the aim to bring it back into good repute. This leg of the book is quite tedious and could have done with a heavy trim from an editor's eager pen!
The other side of THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES deals with the elections of Karthain and where I was expecting the book to become quite juicy. Locke and Jean are thieves, con artists, trained hustlers, swindlers, cheaters, bamboozlers! I expected lots of clever plots by our antagonists to tip the election in their favour. I was expecting grand schemes and scams, tricks and treacherous cheats!
Unfortunately the author never comes even remotely close to such things. Most of the time we are given pages and pages of Locke mooning over Sabatha (the love of his life). This book at its heart turns out to be a soppy romance disguised as a fantasy novel, instead of a what it should have been, a fantasy novel disguised as a romance.
Lynch should have done better. With two kick ass characters like Locke and Jean and the amazing world they inhabit THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES should have been an epic political ball buster, instead of the bore that it turned out to be.
Will I continue to read THE GENTLEMEN BASTARD SEQUENCE? Certainly. Lynch is a really good writer, and I know he can give us a good book. This just wasn't one.
Just a word on the cover. INCREDIBLE! One of the best covers I've ever seen. BRILLIANT!
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 8:19 PM