Sunday, November 24, 2013

Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

 I've eagerly anticipated Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch.

If there's one group of people Locke Lamora is unlikely to want to work for, it is the Bondsmagi of Karthain. (Readers of previous volumes will know why!) But when they make him an offer that he literally can't refuse, he finds himself embroiled in Karthaki politics, facing off against none other than Sabetha -- a former member of Locke's gang, and Locke's first love. There's a lot of history between the two of them, and the political battle that the Bondsmagi have set up is quite real; neither can afford to expend anything less than their best effort. Who will triumph -- and will the cost of the battle be, once again, their friendship?

There are two stories being told here: the present Karthaki elections caper, and the past story from when Locke, Sabetha, and the gang were teenagers. I find that I liked this book better than a lot of reviewers -- both stories seemed strong to me, whereas in the past when Lynch has used flashbacks, they have generally only served the present-day storyline. In this case, the flashback story may actually be the stronger of the two, as the present-day storyline is pretty similar to what we've seen before: Locke is unwillingly roped in to working for a more powerful person or entity and must strain his reserves to make it out alive. The best thing about the present-day story is Sabetha. For once, Locke Lamora may not be the cleverest person in the room! And since the flashback story focuses on theatre -- a type of theatre not too far removed from our world's English Renaissance theatre -- I was bound to like it.

The book ends with a couple of minor twists and revelations, setting up for the next volume in the series without leaving us with the sort of cliffhanger that concluded Red Seas Under Red Skies.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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