The Republic of Thieves Readalong – Part Three

Week three already! Doesn’t time fly? This week’s questions are hosted by Lynn over at Lynn’s Book Blog, so hop on over and check out everyone else’s replies! (After reading mine, of course.)

1. The election competition.  Sabetha isn’t wasting any time throwing pranks at Locke and Jean.  Mostly it seemed fairly harmless, or at least not overly serious, until they were kidnapped and put onto a ship and taken out to sea.  What did you make of Sabetha’s latest plan? And what did you think about the way she executed it?

Objectively speaking it was utter genius, and it really proved that Sabetha should not be underestimated. How she executed it, I think, was both incredibly clever and very underhanded. Clever because she knew that Locke would never refuse her a kiss if she asked for it, and underhanded because she used his biggest weakness against him. That said, I did believe her when she said it was for Locke’s own good, and that she did it because she genuinely felt that he would run himself into the ground trying to beat her (no false modesty there either). She also made sure that they were in the best possible care and lacked nothing except freedom. All in all a very impressive opening gambit.

2. During the escape overboard and Jean’s rather subtle nose dive into the water – I was curious about the lights Locke saw deep in the water when he was performing his rescue – Locke thought they looked different once he was under the waves which I suppose they would but he also had the feeling that he was being watched?  Do you think this relates back to the Eldren or some other presence?

The Eldren seems the most likely explanation. They’ve left stuff behind everywhere, but very little in Lashain (I think? I don’t remember seeing any descriptions of any Eldren/Elderglass structures). With the lake positioned between Karthain and Lashain it’s no real stretch of the imagination to see some ancient Eldren city fathoms deep underwater with strange lights glowing everywhere. Especially after Patience’s theory of the Eldren having received some ultimate Godly smackdown. Atlantis, anyone?

3. Given that Locke hadn’t seen Sabetha for five years how did you think their first meeting together went (well, it wasn’t strictly speaking their first meeting of course – were you surprised that Jean and Locke hadn’t figured out that the woman pickpocket was Sabetha?) and also what did you make of Jean and Sabetha’s reaction to each other?

For something so massively anticipated (both by Locke and by us as readers), I think it was pretty perfect. There was never any way she was going to shout ‘Locke!’ and throw herself into his arms, nor was she going to be a polite stranger, because that would have been insulting. I think there was enough of a feeling of old friends meeting after years apart, but also with enough of a ‘I know you’ve been dying to see me again, but if I felt the same I’d never have run off on you in the first place’ in there too.

Jean’s reaction was spot on as well, I think. He doesn’t have the blind spot that Locke has for Sabetha, and I doubt he’s forgiven her for running off on his best friend, or for turning him into a blabbering fool, for that matter. He’s understandably wary.

(I think it’s testament again to Sabetha’s skill as a Gentleman Bastard that she fooled them and they didn’t realise who she was until it was far too late. No face lost on either side, methinks.)

What I found truly touching is Locke’s behaviour prior to the meeting. The nerves were so realistic and recognisable, yet even in that he still retains the essence that makes him Locke. My favourite quote in this part was this:

“Well, look, if you’ve got the new bruisers in hand and you’ve already heard the news, I’m, uh, going up to the room… to get ready.”

“You’ve got at least four hours before we have to leave.”

“Yeah, but if I don’t start my nervous pacing now, I’ll never have it all done in time.”

Locke knows very well he’s being an idiot about her, but being the masochist he is I believe he takes a strange enjoyment out of it.

4. So, the gang have arrived in Espara and already the plans have gone wrong through no fault of their own!  Jail for a year plus lose a hand for slapping a noble? What do you think of the justice system in Espara and how does this bode for the gang?

Pretty par for the course for a medieval-type society, to be honest. Nobility is pretty much untouchable for the unwashed masses. That was a challenge for them to get their teeth into though! And as always I was impressed with how they actually managed to do so. They’re so clever they really make me feel stupid sometimes.

5. The acting company are finally coming together and we’re watching the gang as they try to read, act and grab the best parts – are you all ‘happy face’ with the whole theatre scenes or, sad face!  Also, I can’t help feeling like this whole storyline is a step out of character for the gang.  Any ideas of how it will play out?

I rather liked it all. It’s funny to see the Sanzas struggle with hangovers and reading lines. The theatre stuff is all very Shakespearian and a bit o.O at times, but that makes it all even more theatrical. As for it being out of character – it is and it isn’t. I think Chains meant for them to be completely outside of their comfort zone, but in an environment that won’t get them killed if they mess it up, because once they start applying that acting knowledge to their real ‘day jobs’, the world won’t be so forgiving. Bring on the theatrics!

6. We are also being introduced to a number of new characters, particularly Moncraine and Boulidazi.  What are your first impressions of these two and the other new characters in the Company and any particular likes or dislikes so far?

Moncraine is a bit of an arsehole, but he’s probably meant to be. Full of himself, arrogant, stubborn, hard-headed… I suppose it needs someone like that to keep a bunch of eccentric actors in line, even if it’s only by keeping them united in their dislike of him.

Boulidazi… I’m not sure. He seems okay for now, and at least he’s easily enough fooled by Locke and Sabetha’s Camorri noblemen ploy, but I seem to remember Locke remarking on the fact that he seems to have a bit of a violent streak, which could be dangerous. Also, the fact that he seems to fancy Sabetha is like a big flashing neon sign saying ‘TROUBLE AHEAD’.

7. The rooftop scene and the apology.  How did it all go so wrong?  And how will Locke get out of this latest fix with Boulidazi?

Well, ultimately they’re still two teenagers stuffed full of hormones, and considering what Sabetha says people do with redhead virgin girls (that was really horrible) I can kind of see why she overreacts just a tad. Still, it is a completely unjustified overreaction. Whether Locke can convince her of that probably all depends on whether she’ll even let him talk to her. Girls are good at that whole ‘don’t even talk to me’ routine.

ETA: Woops, that included a bit we haven’t read yet. My fault for having read the whole book already! Sorry!

The spat with Boulidazi… I don’t know. In part it maybe depends on how much he actually overheard, but that whole conversation really wasn’t what you’d normally hear two noble-blooded cousins discuss together. I’m not even going to speculate though, because it’s impossible to second-guess Locke.

General observations: I’m glad there’s finally some progress in the relationship between Locke and Sabetha. We’re halfway through the book and it’s been nothing but buildup until now, the suspense is killing me!

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21 thoughts on “The Republic of Thieves Readalong – Part Three

  1. lynnsbooks

    You’re right – it was a brilliant plan that Sabetha came up with. It took me a little while to come to the realisation though I must admit!
    Yes, I was thinking of Atlantis too – and Jason also came up with the idea of an underground city. Perhaps that’s where all the Eldren ended up!
    I think you’re right about Jean. He’s a tad more objective about Sabetha and her motives than Locke who seems to be totally caught up in the will we won’t we fixation!
    I loved that nervous pacing line! So funny. And sort of cute the way he’s so nervous.
    I love the theatre storyline. And I like that they’re having to act as a group, out of their comfort zone.
    Bearing in mind that Bouldazi caught them unawares its just as well that they weren’t getting on any bettter!
    Lynn 😀

    Reply
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  4. Ines

    The suspense keeps building and building (you’re right) but I’m scared it will continue to build up until last 10 pages when it will all unravel. 🙂
    Good thinking about Atlantis – that would be fun!

    Reply
    1. Erica Dakin Post author

      It’s quite masterful really, I can’t remember the last time I read a novel with so much continuous build-up of suspense. Loving it, in a frustrated kind of way. 😉

      Reply
  5. Lauren

    I’m also getting a bit tired of the suspense. It’s been great talking about Locke an Sabetha for this read-along, but now I want to see some serious progress. We’ve waited two and a half books!

    Lol, your slip with the redheads at least gave me an assurance that my curiosity will eventually be sated!

    Reply
  6. tethyanbooks

    ‘I know you’ve been dying to see me again, but if I felt the same I’d never have run off on you in the first place’ — However, it was an interesting observation during their conversation that Locke never went after her, and Sabetha *did* come back and look for him (after the events of Lies, though, so he wasn’t there). All the same, if she had thrown herself in his arms, I think even Locke might have twigged that something was up :D. I hope we get a lot more information about what exactly happened between the trip to Espara and Sabetha’s departure!

    Reply
    1. Erica Dakin Post author

      Do you think she came looking for him? All she said was that she passed through Camorr, which can mean anything really. I never considered that she might have actually been looking for him then, but if she was it’d be rather sweet really…
      I’m very much #teamLockeANDSabetha. I write romance, dammit, I want them to be happy together!

      Reply
      1. Andrea J

        I want them to be happy together, but I’m still #teamSabetha. if she decides to hop into bed with him, doesn’t that mean it’s a win for both of them? 😉

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  8. Andrea J

    i do appreciate that Sabetha is both immodest (i’m doing this for your own good. because you can’t beat me) and aggressive. I like that she’s already decided that she’s going to win this election. you go girl! For two books now, we’ve watched Locke be aggressive and immodest so it was adorable to watch him fidget and be nervous before seeing Sabetha.

    “I think Chains meant for them to be completely outside of their comfort zone, but in an environment that won’t get them killed if they mess it up”

    Yes! that! he needs them to learn to work together and without him, but he didn’t want to send them somewhere too dangerous. Only thing that’s in danger in Espara is someone’s pride. well, I guess the Sanza twins might die of alcohol poisoning. . .

    Reply
  9. suecccp

    1. There was an elegant finesse to her plan that I appreciated – she didn’t simply knock them on the head and sling them in a moldy brig.

    3. Although I knew it was too good to be true, I thought that their meeting seemed very true to life. I was just waiting for all the big, hairy men to jump out of hiding though

    5. I liked the fact that the dialogue is a little obscure, just like Shakespeare, so that it needs a good actor to make it understandable.

    7. Never mind the slip – I think it was pretty obvious that she was hiding the red hair to avoid a nasty fate.

    Reply
  10. nrlymrtl

    Haha! Yes, Locke and his nervous pacing. So, on one hand he knows he is hopeless around her. On the other hand, he does nothing to counter that hopeless behavior. Idiot. Sigh…. whatever else they are, they are currently rivals in a high-stakes game.

    Even tho Locke didn’t know specifically why Sabetha spent all those years hiding her hair, you would think he would have pondered it before now. Perhaps this is just one more indication of his one-sided romance.

    Reply
  11. Amy

    “Yeah, but if I don’t start my nervous pacing now, I’ll never have it all done in time.” <– Love that quote! Dialogue like that is what I love about this series!

    Locke has a massive blind spot when it comes to Sabetha. Jean, not so much. I think he appreciates her skills, and probably does miss her as a friend, but there's no love or trust lost between them. The boat trick though is genius but now I want to see them go at it. The election is going to be one hell of game with these guys playing.

    Reply

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