Book Review: The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book 3 of Gentleman Bastard

Publisher: Del Rey

Expected Date of Publication: October 8, 2013

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Earlier this year, I did a little happy dance when I found out that this book was going to be released in October, and to cut to the chase, this highly anticipated third installment of the Gentleman Bastard series was absolutely worth the wait.

The book picks up immediately after the events of Red Seas Under Red Skies, so bear in mind that this review may contain minor spoilers for the previous novels in this series. Last we saw Locke Lamora, he had been fatally poisoned, leaving his loyal friend Jean Tannen desperately trying to find a cure. Their salvation finally comes in the form of a sorcerer who calls herself Patience. She offers to save Locke — but for a price.

With the impending political elections in the Bondsmagi city of Karthain, factions are looking for pawns to help sway votes in their favor. Patience purges the poison from Locke in exchange for his services to help her side, but then reveals the identity of his counterpart working for their political opponents. It is none other than Sabetha, a woman from Locke’s past. She is his greatest rival — but also his greatest love.

Wherein I saw the second book as a deeper examination and study into the relationship between Locke and Jean, this third book is all about SABETHA SABETHA SABETHA. And about time, too. For the last two books, Scott Lynch has teased us with mention and scant details of this mysterious femme fatale in Locke’s life, but she has never made a true appearance until now. For a long time, Sabetha was just a name, and I find it incredible how so much anticipation has already been built up around her. I for one was very excited at the prospect of finally getting to meet this character, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Alternating in between chapters about Locke and Sabetha’s present entanglement with the Bondsmagi is also a separate plot line that focuses on the Bastards gang in the past. This half of the story follows Locke, Jean, Sabetha and the twins Calo and Galdo when they were thieves-in-training, and their guardian Chains sends them off to join a theater troupe to learn the skills of the trade. In truth, I actually preferred this story line a lot more than the other involving the political election. I’m not surprised that I devoured these chapters, seeing as my favorite parts of the first book The Lies of Locke Lamora involved the glimpses we got into Locke’s childhood, after all.

And so, it was just as great to be able to return to Locke’s past again in The Republic of Thieves. The Gentleman Bastards taking on acting roles in a play made for an ingenious idea, and as the central theme it provided plenty of humor and entertainment. Fun as it was, these flashback chapters were also bittersweet given how it features several old faces that we know aren’t around anymore. But it was also worth it to gain more insight into Locke’s character as well as a deeper understanding into his complicated relationship with Sabetha. We’re there from the moment they meet to the moment they become lovers. It’s pretty dysfunctional, as far as romantic journeys go, but Scott Lynch still had a way of making it feel very sweet and intimate.

As a whole, the series has matured with each book. This one came across as a bit more serious than its predecessors (at least to me), though that might have something to do with its slower start. Winding down from the adventures on the high seas in book two, there were a lot of loose ends to tie up and explain before the story could really get moving, which bogs the first half down quite a bit. The good news is, once you get over that hump, the rewards are well worth it. Both past and present story lines will pick up and the book then takes off like a runaway train. At this point, you won’t be able to put it down.

Bottom line: If you’re like me and enjoyed the first two books as much as I did, then picking up this third book is a no-brainer. You’ll learn more about Locke’s past, and some major things also happen at the end which involve his identity and might shake things up for future installments. And if you haven’t been acquainted with the Gentleman Bastards yet, I highly recommend these books, starting with The Lies of Locke Lamora. Probably one of my favorite fantasy series out there right now.


 4.5 of 5 stars
“The highly anticipated third book of one of my favorite fantasy 
series, and it was absolutely worth the wait” 

A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

1 Comments on “Book Review: The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch”

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year | Woven Magic Books

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