The Republic of Thieves Readalong – Part Four

Things are really heating up as we reach week four of this readalong, and this week it is hosted by Andrea over at Little Red Reviewer. As always some really interesting questions, so go check out everyone else’s answers too! Oh, and beware the massive, massive, MASSIVE spoilers…

1. We finally know why Sabetha dyes her hair, and that’s so disturbing even the Thiefmaker under Shade’s Hill was disgusted by it. Too dark for this world? Or just right?

It’s too dark for any world, but sadly there are things people do to each other (not just women or children) in the real world which are at least as bad if not worse. We’ve seen before that there are some really dark parts in every society Locke’s come across so far (that nasty game in Salon Corbeau, anyone?), so this is just par for the course really. And it really shows why Sabetha was so meticulous about hiding her real hair colour. At least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, because if I understood it right this nastiness has to be done to a virgin redhead. I think Sabetha said something about waiting until she’s old enough that there’s not really any doubt anymore that she’s no longer a virgin? Can’t quite remember, but I’m sure it was something like that.

2. The “Asino” brothers are drunken idiots, but they’re not blind. What did you think of the little rendezvous they helped arrange for Sabetha and Locke?

I thought it was quite sweet really. It goes to show that there’s real friendship underneath all the bravado, drunken arsery and boorishness. The Gentlemen Bastards look out for each other, no matter what the circumstances. I think it also shows that they’re not as stupid as they sometimes seem. They don’t have the genius and cunning of either Locke or Sabetha, but they’re probably a lot more world-wise than either of them. Even Sabetha.

As an aside, I think someone really should mention that Jean lost his virginity too! Go Jean! =)

3. Locke managed to get everyone out of the Boulidazi mess we discussed last week . . . what do you think of this latest Boulidazi complication?

If by the first bit you mean the mess that had him up against the wall with Boulidazi’s dagger at his throat, I feel it necessary to point out that Sabetha got them out of that, not Locke. Clever girl.

As for the new complication… Well, it’s bad. Locke thinks it himself: ‘A serious Sanza is one hell of an ill omen.’

So, let’s see… Boulidazi has proven to be a complete cock. He was getting that way anyway, but trying to rape Jenora really sealed it. Kudos to Sabetha again for so cleverly covering it up by pretending he was ‘busy’ with her. She really is the best actor out of the lot of them.

Also, we’ve now seen that Moncraine is just as much of a cock. To have the gall to suggest that Jenora should have tried to enjoy it was beyond dickish, and it was brilliant that of all people it was Sylvanus who decked him on the jaw for it. I don’t care how apologetic and contrite Moncraine is after that, it was still the first thing he thought of, and that makes him a dick.

This really tests their ability to think on their feet, and even though their plan to get away with it is sketchy, it really is the best they can come up with when push comes to shove. The whole situation is just a little farcical, with them now having to lug a corpse around, but hey, who cares? I also love how this once again illustrates the polarity of Locke’s character. We’ve seen him perform acts of surprising kindness (even if he’s sarcastic about it), but when he doesn’t care, he really doesn’t care. I loved how he kicked Boulidazi’s corpse and cursed him for still mucking up his love life.

And back to Karthain (I’m jumping around in time here, leaving the most important bits for last).

4. Time is flying, and the election is getting closer. Desperation calls for cheap tricks. I think my favorite so far is Sabetha’s special roof guards. What’s your favorite election dirty trick so far?

Well, you picked it right there. Another stroke of genius on Sabetha’s part, showing that she knows both Locke and Jean very, very well. She knows there’s no way they’ll hurt fragile old grannies (well, unless they’ve just poisoned you and are dangling the antidote in front of you), so it was deliciously clever. I also love how she keeps turning Locke’s tricks around on him, like with the snakes. I think what I like about the election shenanigans is that it’s all so over-the-top ostentatious and obviously fake, yet no one stops to go ‘haaaangg onnnn, what?’ Awesome.

5. There’s a mole in the Deep Roots. Was that person’s identity a surprise to you? And how did you like Locke’s method of identifying the person?

Well, we already knew it was him when Sabetha caught him at his dealer, didn’t we? And the way to flush him out was the classic way of doing it – feed them all different information and see which bit gets acted on. It’s probably in ‘Spying for dummies’ or something.

6. What’s so important about this Lovaris fellow? The election is right around the corner, so why introduce someone new so late in the game?

Ahh, I don’t like second-guessing books. It’s much more fun to just sit back and let it all happen to you. He’s obviously going to have some significance, because Scott Lynch is too good a writer to stick in a useless red herring.

7. It’s so nice that Locke and Sabetha can finally have some nice, normal dinner dates. He even cooks her dinner! But that sneaky Patience, always interrupting everything! Finally, she promises some answers. that’s nice. what, Locke is WHO? Locke is a WHAT? How much of it do you believe?

ETA: Spoilerificaroo below, highlight the missing bit to read it. Sorry, forgot to do that earlier.

I don’t want to believe any of it. The one thing I liked about these books is that Locke isn’t the chosen one, isn’t the long-lost son of the king or the saviour of mankind. He’s just an ordinary, if utterly brilliant guy. To now say that he’s the most powerful (and craziest) bondsmage of them all who appears to have conquered death… I don’t like it. If it all turns out to be true then I’m sure Lynch will have some way to make it interesting, but right now I just want to believe that Patience is fucking with him because she doesn’t like him cosying up with the enemy.

So do I believe it? I honestly don’t know. This really could go either way for me, and I really don’t know what to think. I’ll be very interested in other people’s thoughts on this matter…


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

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  4. tethyanbooks

    On 1, I think she was just waiting to be old enough, to let her red hair back out. Technically, she’s not a virgin anymore (in Espara), but I can see why she might want to keep hiding it for a while and not risk it. Also, I agree with officially labeling Moncraine and Boulidazi as awful people. I’m hoping that even if Patience’s story is true, Locke is not going to become some super-powerful Bondsmage. I’m much more interested in Locke’s story as an ordinary (brilliant) con artist.

    1. Erica Dakin Post author

      Well, she was still a virgin when she talked to Locke about what the red hair means, but yeah, I suppose it’s a lot easier to claim you’re not a virgin at thirty than at sixteen.

      1. Redhead

        I almost wonder why Sabetha wasn’t encouraged to lose her virginity at a younger age. If there’s the Gilded Lilies, wouldn’t there be a brothel where women can go to pay for sex? but yeah, you’re right, even if she lost her virginity at a super young age, no one would believe it, so it wouldn’t matter. Put that way, I am happy Chains didn’t push her to do something like that, he just kept helping her dye her hair.

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  7. Genki Jason

    I never liked Moncraine but after his comment to Jenora I really hated him. That guy needs to be chucked off a roof!

    I like the new twist. SPOILERS. I get the idea that Locke doesn’t have access to his past or all of the things that entails (just yet) but it means that he will always be at the centre of attention for the most powerful factions and creatures in the world. What I liked about the series was that it was Locke proving not to be some awesome super-thief but being able to think his way through any situation. The situations are about to get bigger!

      1. Redhead

        but he’s a con artist, which means he needs to be inconspicious, blend in, be able to be in disguise so no one knows who he is. How’s that going to work with him being on the radar of all the bondsmagi now that they know who he is (or might be?). Way to wreck the guy’s career plans!

  8. Lauren

    3. Good point! Sabetha conned her way out of that while Locke was mostly trying to get his breath back. I also love how she had the audacity to yell at Boulidazi for sneaking around like a thief!

    7. “The one thing I liked about these books is that Locke isn’t the chosen one, isn’t the long-lost son of the king or the saviour of mankind. He’s just an ordinary, if utterly brilliant guy. To now say that he’s…”
    I’m also against the chosen one etc. shit. So boring, so done to death. I hadn’t really thought about it when I started reading this series, but Jason mentioned the possibility in an earlier part of the read-along and I suddenly realised how much I hated that possibility and how glad I was that Lynch had avoided it.
    And now… Well, I’m willing to see where it goes. Lamor wasn’t necessarily favoured by the gods or anything, he could just have been a supremely talented man, like Locke is. And Locke, for now at least, is by no means a super powerful Bondsmage. Perhaps the mages will bring out some aspect of his older persona later, but he still won’t be that person. Either way, I foresee him struggling with this identity as a person, not as someone ruled by fate, destiny, the gods, or whatever.

    1. Erica Dakin Post author

      To be fair, much as I don’t like it, I trust Lynch as a writer. Even if it does descend into some version of ‘the chosen one’, he’s good enough that he’ll make it fantastically interesting. I hope I didn’t give anyone the idea that I now loathe the book and the series, because I really don’t!

      And you’re absolutely right that Locke is Locke, and not Lamor Acanthus. Pretty significant difference…

      1. Redhead

        i completely agree. I don’t usually go for the “chosen one” stuff, because yeah, done to death. I don’t know how much truth there was to what Patience told him, but i bet she didn’t tell the whole truth, and i bet she’s only got her best, and immediate interests at heart. If Locke isn’t running around town on dates with a beautiful woman (who also works for the other faction!) maybe he start focusing more on winning the election.

  9. Ines

    I don’t believe he is really that Bondsmagi. I do think the original might have tampered with forces he shouldn’t have and they backfired and Locke came to be associated with it. Then again, Patience talks about the love he had for his wife and when you consider how much he loves Sabetha – it would fit. Does that make her then his reincarnated love? I don’t want to think the book will go there. I still can’t think of Locke in such terms, it somehow doesn’t fit.

  10. lynnsbooks

    Yeah, I’m really crossing everything – even my eyebrows – that Patience is just a supreme bitch!! I mean, Locke is Locke. This rather brilliant, and yet never succeeding, conman. Flamboyant, over the top. Noooooo, he’s Locke!
    Lynn 😀

  11. nrlymrtl

    Hooray for Jean. Love Jenora for taking on an extra ‘project’ and training him up right.

    Thank you for saying Moncraine was a dick – totally agree with you there. Even if he was apologetic afterwards, it was not cool. And really, what people first say in a situation like that, with no thought or filter, really shows what their inner character is.

    And thank you again for capturing so well why I don’t like what Patience told Locke – what it could mean for the series. Locke is a brilliant but ordinary guy. He’s not some major powerful, if hidden, entity. He’s not destined or prophesied to save the world, etc. But if what Patience told him is even half true, all that changes. And I fear it may change how I feel about Locke and about the series.

    1. Erica Dakin Post author

      You’re right – the first thing you say comes from the heart, so Moncraine’s just an arsehole.
      As for Locke, I’m going to have faith in Scott Lynch and trust that he’ll still make it magnificent, but I do hope that the story either isn’t true or he’s got some other mega-twist up his sleeve. His writing’s too good not to give him that chance though. =)

  12. Redhead

    arrgg, I am so torn! I usually dislike “chosen one” stories, BUT i want Locke to have the opportunity to do something awesome, and learn more about the Eldren and totally screw with the Bondmagi!!


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