The Inner-Workings of Thievery



Despite the number of fantasy reviews I’ve written lately, I don’t actually read that many fantasy novels. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, as a matter of fact I enjoy them more than the majority of genres I read. (Just ask author Daniel Arenson.) what it comes down to is one thing, and one thing only. Size. (Insert your favorite “size matters” joke here.)

Fantasy novels take time. Not only are they (generally speaking) in the 600 page range (this one was 651) but they are usually very interwoven. (That’s code for: requires my full attention when reading.) Their plots twist like vines, and the characters (and the worlds that surround them) morph and shift according to whichever plot line they are following. Which ultimately means they are wildly entertaining, BUT time consuming to read. If I didn’t have 2 years worth of books sitting in my review TBR, or 2 small children buzzing around my head like gnats most of the time, I would devote HOURS to escapism via fantasy. (In particular Brandon Sanderson…who for the record I met in September and have a mad nerd crush on.) As it stands, I have to pick and choose my poison. So WHY did I decide to read Lynch’s “The Republic of Thieves” when it’s (not only) the 3rd book in a larger series (I haven’t cracked a book in) but pushing the boundaries of acceptable time consumption?

Because George R. R. Martin told me to.

(Not personally of course… I think any actual face time with him would be taken up by my fury over the demise of Rob Stark, but I digress…) The fact of the matter is, I don’t follow directions well. At all actually. (I view them more as suggestions.) But I DO know when to swollow my bull-headed pride and take one for the team. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when one of the best writters of the modern day tells me to.

“A bright new voice in the fantasy genre!” Acclaimed author Scott Lynch continues to astound and entertain with his thrillingly inventive, wickedly funny, suspense-filled adventures featuring con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. And The Republic of Thieves is his most captivating novel yet.” – George R. R. Martin

And while I’d like to dive right in and give you the in’s and out’s of “The Republic of Thieves” first…a little about it.

“With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.

Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body – though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring – and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.

Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha – or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.”

So, first things first…did I understand a damn thing that was happening in this book having not read the first two? Surprisingly (and thankfully) YES! Truth be told, after doing a little Goodreads research on the first two novels (The Lies of Locke Lamora & Red Seas Under Red Skies) I was actually quite thrilled that I read this novel first.

Rumor has it that in the first two novels Sabatha (who is a VERY major player in Republic) is nothing more than a name in the air. A chink in the armor of Locke. Unfortunately, the readers of books 1 & 2 haven’t the faintest idea of who Sabetha actually is. She’s mist. Her name floats around every decision Locke makes, but she is never introduced. In “The Republic of Thieves” she is there, in all of her confusing, arrogant, damaged, self-conscience, and perfect red-headed glory. You get to experience her as a child as she thieves her way through the dark nights of Camorr. You stand watch as she blossoms into a teen, mesmerizing hundreds with her beauty and skill. You get to stand in awe as she engages in a battle of wits with her better-half Locke. Sabetha in short, takes the stage, sets fire to the pages of this novel and shows you why she can effect Locke with nothing but her whispered name. And though I’m fairly certain I would have loved books 1 and 2 despite her absence, I’m happier to have known her, relished in her story, and put the pieces (of her) in their proper places.

BUT the story is not all about Sabetha, it’s about Locke…THE Gentleman bastard himself. The piece de resistance (I guess you could say) of thieves. At the open of the story Locke is dying. Poison from a previous battle coursing through his blood. This battle (of course) took place in a previous book (and yes, I’ll be going back to read it) but it didn’t take away from THIS story. Lynch (in what I’ll call a stroke of mad-author genius) gave just enough detail, delved into just enough flashback-awesomeness, that I wasn’t lost. I could take Locke’s inevitable demise for what it was (a noteworthy way to spout some pretty stellar insults) and continue on my merry way. Everything after that flowed like sand through an hour glass, fluid and quickly.

It did (as expected) take me longer to read this book than I would have liked, but the spectacular plot (which jumps between 2 different time lines and 3 different plot points) made the late night hours (and occasional snappish Mommy moment) worth it. The story, it’s attention to detail, the characters and the way their emotions slammed into each-other, the specifics that only a fantasy novel can capture in regards to setting, are EXACTLY what I look for when delving into this genre.

I could have been lost. Found myself stumbling through a forest of intimate details I had no idea how to decipher. Instead, I found myself entranced by a book. Living inside of it. Rooting for a legion of people no sane person ever should. In short, I loved it. I wouldn’t change a thing about it, and I will NEVER regret reading this one first.

A solid novel for fantasy lovers. Get it, live it, love it…pass it on.

Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: “The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.” – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads / Amazon

Rating Report
Overall: 4.3

About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.

One thought on “The Inner-Workings of Thievery

  1. With respect to the specific content of natural law, Locke never provides a comprehensive statement of what it requires. In the Two Treatises, Locke frequently states that the fundamental law of nature is that as much as possible mankind is to be preserved. Simmons argues that in Two Treatises 2.6 Locke presents 1) a duty to preserve one’s self, 2) a duty to preserve others when self-preservation does not conflict, 3) a duty not to take away the life of another, and 4) a duty not to act in a way that “tends to destroy” others. Libertarian interpreters of Locke tend to downplay duties of type 1 and 2. Locke presents a more extensive list in his earlier, and unpublished in his lifetime, Essays on the Law of Nature. Interestingly, Locke here includes praise and honor of the deity as required by natural law as well as what we might call good character qualities.

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