Saturday, May 19, 2012

Read-Along: Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, 4

This is the fourth post for my participation in a read-along of Scott Lynch's Red Seas Under Red Skies, hosted by Dark Cargo, @ohthatashley at SF Signal, My Awful ReviewsLynn’s Book Blog and the Little Red Reviewer.  What this means is...

Read-Along posts discuss a specific portion of Red Seas Under Red Skies and are therefore full of spoilers!  This is also a sequel of The Lies of Locke Lamora, so this post may be filled with spoilers from that book as well!  I will do a usual review post once the book is complete.

This week’s questions include through Chapter 13 of Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. The cliffhanger at the end of Chapter 13 was painful!  It took quite a bit of willpower to set the novel aside for reading after this week’s discussion.  There are so many secret agendas and betrayals, I can hardly keep them all straight!

1) I was much relieved when Jean and Locke made up, which started with Locke's gesture of a cup full of honesty with Cpt. Drakasha. Do you think that was hard for Locke? Or was he using this bit of honesty like any other weapon in his arsenal to get what he wants in the end? 

I didn’t think it seemed too terribly hard for Locke.  After all, he only told the truth up to a point, so he is still using the withholding and providing of information as a tool.  However, he could have just let Cpt. Drakasha make up his motivations for him.  I think Locke would have been more comfortable lying to the pirates, but he deferred to Jean’s judgment.  I think that was a very decent thing to do for his friend.

2) The Parlor Passage: We still don't know Locke's true name, but whatever was in that mist does. What do you think it is?

It appears to be some other form of magic in Lynch’s world!  I’m wondering if the voices have anything to do with the Eldren.  Or perhaps they could be spirits?

3) There was an interesting section of the book that started about where Locke assisted Drakasha in selling the
 Red Messenger; he put on the persona of Leocanto Kosta and used the alias Tavras Callas and then Drakasha was still thinking of him as Ravelle..... Did using all those various aliases in such a short amount of time have your mind spinning a little? Do you think Lynch did this on purpose to give the reader a sense of Locke's mind? 

I thought it was really cool that Jean and Locke had established various characters that they could slip into at need.  Maybe Lynch is hinting towards a future identity crisis on Locke’s part.  It puts another spin on why he might not have told Cpt. Drakasha the name ‘Locke Lamora’.  After all, it’s just another alias—one of a young thief in Camorr who grew up to be a master con artist J.  We don’t even know Locke’s real name, though he’s worn ‘Locke Lamora’ for most of his life.

4) That was a sweet little kiss between Cpt. Zamira and Cpt. Jaffrim at the end of the Captains' Council. Do you think they have some history, or is it just innocent flirting that's been going on for some time?

Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t read that as flirting.  Somehow, I got the impression that he was much older than the other captains (maybe in his 60s?), so I saw it more as affectionate teasing.  It seems like they’ve been friends for a long time, but I didn’t feel any sparks of romantic chemistry between them. 

5) Jean and Ezri. Cue dove-cooing and little winged hearts with sparkles. Do you think Jean will stay with the
 Poison Orchid or that Ezri will leave her ship to pal around with Jean and Locke? 

I’m guessing the series is following Locke, so I would hate for Jean to stay with Ezri.  We would never see them again!  I think Ezri could be quite a decent Gentleman Bastard if she set her mind to it.

6) What is Utgar up to? What are his motivations?

I hadn’t paid any attention to him at all, until that scene with Cpt. Rodanov.  From what I can gather, he’s been in Rodanov’s employ for a while.  It seems like Rodanov was very unhappy with the pirate’s actions that led to their thrashing by the navy of Tal Verrar.  I assumed that he had spies on each ship to make sure such a thing didn’t happen again. 

With Cpt. Drakasha backing Locke and Jean’s plan, Rodanov must be caught between his affection for her and his desire to protect the Ghostwinds.  I’m guessing Utgar is tasked with making sure Cpt. Drakasha doesn’t start a war, and with killing Locke and Jean if they seem to be taking too many risks.

As for Utgar’s motivations?  Probably money.

7) So last week we hashed over that Merrain killed some of Stragos's guards on Windward Rock. But when Jean and Locke visit him, he doesn't mention it. What is up with that?

No idea.  I don’t feel like I have enough information to make any realistic predictions about this subplot.  Maybe Merrain killed the guards and had them replace with Bondsmagi doppelgangers, so the archon hadn’t noticed that they were dead?  Maybe she’s planning a coup d’etat with her mages embedded invisibly in the hierarchy of Tal Verrar?  I really don’t know. 

8) This week's section left us where the book began - Jean pointing a crossbow at Locke's throat. Do you think Jean knows who sent these crossbowers? Is he on their side? Is it a clever ploy to get him and Locke out of this predicament? Did you find it
 excruciatingly hard to stop here?

Considering Jean and Locke’s conversations just previous, and the fact that Jean killed one of their pursuers, I think it's a clever ploy.  However, I don’t know if it’s a trick or not!  It was very, very hard to stop reading here.  I can’t even decide who I think the crossbowers might represent.  The list of people screwing with Locke and Jean is so long! 


  1. I didn't read anything between Drakasha and Rodanov either. At first I thought he might be the father of her children but as their relationship rolled on it became clear that they viewed each other as equals... Not that Rodanov likes the scheme Drakasha has come up with, As far as Locke making up with Jean goes, he made the only decision that would allow him to improve his position in a short space of time that just happened to be based on advice from a friend. He respects the pirates but he doesn't trust them enough to fill them in on every aspect of his story.

    1. I don't blame Locke for not giving them the whole story. I think they'd either assume he was lying or insane if he tried!

  2. I didn't think that Drakasha and Rodanov, but they seemed familiar enough that maybe they drunkenly hooked up several years back and like to joke about it now. It seemed like more of a gentle tease than a serious gesture.

    1. Yeah, I agree. I suppose I could see them having hooked up in the past, but probably not romance :).

  3. I love how Locke can so easily slip in and out of different personas. because i know it's him, I can follow them, but the looks on everyone else's faces are just brilliant!

    Drakasha and Jaffrim. i wonder if they have more fan fics than Jean and Ezri? ;) oooh, and Ezri. She so happy on the water, but she totally needs to take a vacation and chill out with Jean and Locke for a little while. She'd make a great member of the gang!