I just want to say “YAY, GIMME MORE!”, but I don’t think that would be a very good review, so I’ll try and extract some coherence from my general happy feelings about this book.
The Gentlemen Bastards is one of my favourite fantasy series – I love the world, I love the characters, I love the writing, I love the capers, I love the structure. Naturally, I was really excited to finally receive my pre-order of The Republic of Thieves (although I ended up not reading it for over a month because I didn’t want my life to go back to a world where I didn’t have more of the series to read). Also, naturally, the book was not just amazing. it exceeded my sky-high expectations!
With all the hype built up about Sabetha, I wasn’t sure if I should be looking forward to finally meeting her. I was fully expecting her to play a cat-and-mouse game, leading an obviously infatuated Locke on – something I wasn’t looking forward to. Happily, this wasn’t the case – Sabetha is endearing as well as being beautiful, confident and more than a match for Locke and Jean. Her reluctance to put down roots makes complete sense with her determination to be independent in the male-dominated world she lives in (something Locke and Jean have never considered). I also really enjoyed Locke and Sabetha’s relationship; it’s rare that a fictional relationship is so realistically based on good communication.
Okay, now that we have Sabetha out of the way – the rest of the book was also pretty awesome. I really enjoy that I get introduced to a new part of the world every book. Karthain, the dominion of the Bondsmagi, was a really interesting place, and of course, Locke and Jean have a new con to run – rigging an election. Except that this time, it’s not really their choice. The book had a slow start; Locke is still poisoned because of the fallout from his previous adventure, and Lynch does a good/scary job of portraying exactly how helpless he is. Once it gets going though, the plot moves at a breakneck speed.
This book also has extensive flashbacks (they occupy about half the book) about Locke and Sabetha’s time in Father Chains’ gang and how their relationship develops. There are several smaller incidents and then one large adventure, and Lynch does a great job of building a similar amount of tension in the flashbacks as the present day storyline, so I didn’t mind the alternating chapters at all. It was great to get more backstory on the dynamic of the group with Sabetha in it, as well as the awkward-adolescence phase.
I always figured that the Gentlemen Bastards series would veer in the direction of a more traditional fantasy epic (the suddenly vanished Eldren civilisation, the presence of a formal order of wizards), and we finally get our first inklings of that in this book. We find out more about where Locke came from (although nothing can be trusted in these books), and also a little more speculation about the nature of the fallen Eldren civilisation. Nothing is different yet (aside from the usual fallout accompanying Locke and Jean), but I’m excited to see what comes of it.
Okay, I can’t be articulate any more. This series is incredible, and so is this book. Read it!
- “The Best of All Possible Worlds” by Karen Lord
- “Dangerous Women” edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois