Red Seas Under Red Skies

Scott Lynch
In his highly acclaimed debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch took us on an adrenaline-fueled adventure with a band of daring thieves led by con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. Now Lynch brings back his outrageous hero for a caper so death-defying, nothing short of a miracle will pull it off.After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long—and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves. This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele—and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior…and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire. Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors…straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb—until they are closer to the spoils than ever. But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough.…From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2017-12-07
Initial Thoughts 7/30/14:I just LOVE these books.
Bromance! Pirates! Swearing! More bromance!
And wtf was that ending? I mean, YAY it was great but ugh, now I need the third book but I don't want to start it too soon because then I have to wait even longer for new books...
Anyhoo. Just loved it. All the stars!

Full review posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 9/3/14: I’ve only read two books but this is already quickly creeping onto the list of my favorite series of all time… Oh, who are we kidding. It wasn’t slow and it’s already my favorites list. Scott Lynch is pretty genius when it comes to the Gentleman Bastard series. It has all of my favorite things: humor, heists, capers, bromance, action, friendships, cleverness, wit, fantasy, world building — honestly the only big thing that’s missing is romance and (who would think I’d say this but) I’m not missing it at all! I’m enjoying everything else in this series that I don’t think the books are lacking anything whatsoever.

Okay, so Red Seas Under Red Skies is the second book in this fantastic series and it’s set up just a tiny bit different than book one, THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. In LIES, we mostly get the story of Locke in what is present-day in the book and experience several flashback chapters to get glimpses of Locke’s past and how he ended up where he did. In RED SEAS, the flashback chapters are still present but featuring a different past… The book opens up with a specific scene that leaves the audience on a cliffhanger for ALMOST THE ENTIRE BOOK. (Scott Lynch is also a master at book-within-book cliffhangers soooo. Lovely. But really, I do love it even though it kills me.) The rest of the book slowly works its way forward to the opening scene and the flashbacks divulge what happened in the years and months prior to the current story line. I really love this structure. It adds an element of suspense and the feeling of a cliffhanger without actually cliffhangering readers!

RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES is different than THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. I mean, how can it not be? I was trolling Goodreads trying to figure out exactly what words I could possibly say about this book (since, you know, I didn’t have coherent thoughts) and if I had actually been able to form those thoughts, Patrick Rothfuss would have taken them right out of my head. He said, “… I can see why people in general and me in specific might have been a little ‘meh’ on this book. We were all butterflies-in-tummy tingly after reading Lies of Locke Lamora. We loved it, and we wanted to see the same thing again. Which I now realize is silly. I don’t think I knew that then.” That thought right there is SO true (and really how true of and second book in a series). I fell in love with THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA so I expect and hope for all of those same elements in the next book in the series… But of course the second book has to be different! I think it’s hard for readers to experience those different settings (Tal Verrar and on the water versus Camorr) and characters (well, I won’t mention specifics for fear of spoiling books one AND two, but we do see a different cast of characters as well) and NOT compare all those things to book one. THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA was where we fell in love so why wouldn’t you want to see more of that?
I digress… thankfully, I didn’t feel any “second book syndrome” with RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES. Yes, there were definitely things that were different and I didn’t always fall right into the swing of things because I did miss the old settings and the old characters… But there was always Locke & Jean and there were always capers, heists, plans, and humor abound. I still loved every second of it and I think no matter where Scott Lynch takes this series (please, oh please don’t take it somewhere strange and make me regret saying this), I will enjoy it as long as Locke & Jean stay together and continue planning epic jobs.

The plotting always amazes me with these books. To have story lines overlap, twist and turn, jump forward and backward, and never once do I get confused. In fact, it only heightens my enjoyment of the books and continues to impress me when everything comes back together and all falls into place. The characters are also always outstanding. Locke and Jean continue to grow as main characters and really every secondary character is just so colorful and dynamic. Even the cat gets a bit of character development! (“Your cats! Give us all your gods-damned cats!” Seriously. Always laughing. I love these books. (Just read them and you’ll get it.))

I said before that I didn’t even miss the fact that there wasn’t a romance in THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA and well… there’s a hint of one in RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES. I WON’T EVEN TELL YOU WHO OR HOW so don’t even ask me (honestly, just read the books, people) but that was my ONE minor “complaint” (I’m not really complaining). I just love the bromance aspect so much that I’m like “Pshhhh, romance. Please.” But! I suspect that will have to happen sooner or later! (Look at me, griping about an eventual romance!)

RED SEAS UNDER RED SKIES was a second book. Well, it was just a fantastic book in general, but also a great follow-up to THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA. True, LIES is where I first fell in love with Locke, Jean, and this whole fantasy world, but I can tell that I’ll grow to appreciate different things in each book and I know I’ll keep falling in love along the way. I’ve read two books so far and I just cannot recommend this series enough. I’m trying to pace myself since book three is out now and book four’s release date is TBD… and then there are more books after that. It’s hard not to dive in all at once, but I will do my best to restrain myself! Hey, I managed to turn this review into something coherent, so that leaves us hope, right?
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@aylai completed #redseasunderreds... on 2017-12-24
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