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October 9, 2013 / minusbar

Book Review: The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch

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

The Republic of Thieves is a tale of two halves. As a fan of Scott Lynch’s work, I went into this read with very lofty expectations. As a writer he has set the bar extremely, sometimes unfairly so. To me, this is a sub-par entry in the Gentleman Bastards series. That in no way means it’s a bad book! It’s still an amazing read, and the first half may very well be the finest bit in the entire series so far. That’s where we come to the analogy of multiple halves…

The chapters switched off between taking place directly after the incidents of book two, and with showing the much anticipated backstory for Locke Lamora. Let me start off by saying that the wait was well worth it to finally learn about Locke’s history. His character’s vulnerability and resilience, and eventual growth into the character I know and love was highly entertaining. I greatly enjoyed getting to see all of the young gentleman bastards forging their bonds, especially the interactions between Jean, Locke and Sabetha. I feel like it revealed something about the characters that makes me love them even more, which is saying something since I was already a rather large Locke and Jean fan.

The portions with them as adults are also interesting. They get pulled into a political game for the bondsmagi, which I found to be very interesting. There’s still a lot of mystery about them and there are some nice tidbits that get revealed to shed light there. However, this storyline grew tiresome around page 500 or so. The game sets Locke against an old friend (wont say, in case it’s a spoiler), and it really just felt like all of the punches where held. There’s a long stretch of time where I felt like I was more reading about college pranks than epic thieving fantasy. While this may sound highly negative, it’s not. I’m most critical on the books that I love. Lynch is an amazing writer, and he makes this, which would be extremely boring if written by most anyone else, actually reasonably entertaining. I just know that it was far from my favorite.

While the beginning is amazing and the mid-to-late sections drag on a bit, there is still an impressive ending. Scott Lynch is too good of a writer to leave you going home with a bad taste in your mouth. This title is still a very solid entry, just not that “most anticipated book of the year” that I thought it would be. I eagerly await the next in the series, as I have no doubt Lynch will quickly return to form.

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