Saturday, May 12, 2012

Read-Along: Red Seas Under Red Skies, Part 3

This is the third 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 10 of Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. I commented on someone’s blog last week that I kind of hoped Locke and Jean screwed up their pirate captain impersonation.  I feel a little guilty now, because they failed dramatically. It was actually kind of painful to read, but I respect Lynch for allowing his characters to fail so believably and thoroughly.

          1. Locke and Jean's ability to find themselves at the center of a serious mess
          seems unparalleled. At this point, do you think that Stragos will get the return   
          he expects on his investment in them?

I might have still believed in Locke’s ability to pull something off, if Jean had not been against it.  At this point, I don’t think Locke can complete any part of Stragos scheme without Jean’s support.  I have no idea what they’re going to do about the alleged poison.

2. Merrain's activities after our boys leave Windward Rock are interesting. What do you think her plans are?

Merrain is still a question mark to me.  I am wondering if she’s somehow connected to the Bondsmagi.

3. Does anyone know why having cats aboard the ship is so important?

Last week, Genkinahito linked me a Wikipedia page on the topic ('s_cat).  It seems that they are typically important for catching rats and mice and for companionship.  In Lynch’s world, though, they also seem to have a symbolic religious purpose.  Either they haven’t said yet, or I just don’t remember, but I’m guessing women and cats are tied to Iono worship in some way.

4. The word "mutiny" creates a lot of mental pictures. Were you surprised? Why or why not?

I was not surprised at all.  Even Caldris saw the mutiny coming before he died.  With Caldris help, Locke was not that great of a captain.  Without Caldris, he was a disaster.  After those men died, and Locke couldn’t even give them a proper seafarer’s funeral, I knew it wouldn’t be long before the sailors turned on him.  I’m impressed Locke was able to keep them from killing him outright.

5. Ah, the Poison Orchid. So many surprises there, not the least of which were the captain's children. Did you find the young children a natural part of the story?

Captain Drakasha had a good point—Where else would she put her children?  All the crew seem to live on that ship, and they only ever disembark briefly at Port Prodigal.  I’m actually a little surprised that her children are the only ones on board.  I do wonder what happened to their father, though.

6. Jean is developing more and more as a character as we get further in to the book. Ezri makes the comment to him that "Out here, the past is a currency, Jerome. Sometimes it's the only one we have." I think several interesting possibilities are coming into play regarding Jean and Ezri. What about you?

I was just wondering last week why Jean had never been interested in anyone romantically.  I think Jean and Ezri’s budding relationship is going to be a wedge between Jean and Locke, though I don’t think any of them intend for that to happen.  I like Ezri, and I think she and Jean have a great dynamic together.  I hope she doesn’t get killed off in the next 100 pages!

7. As we close down this week's reading, the Thorn of Camorr is back! I love it, even with all the conflict.  Several things from their Camorri background have come back up. Do you think we will see more Camorri characters?

I hope we see more Camorri characters.  I think it would be hilarious if there were Camorri sailors who find out about Locke’s past.  Imagine their surprise when they learn that this failure of a fraud pirate captain is actually the Thorn of Camorr!  


  1. Had Jabril and the other sailors killed Locke it would have been a really short book! ;)

    I too worry that Ezri will be an inadvertent wedge between Locke and Jean. Locke is so used to being the center of Jean's life, he's completely spoiled. and now Jean has someone else he is giving attention to. Just because Locke sucks in the romance dept, that doesn't mean Jean should have to be a monk, you know?

    with maybe some other Camorri characters showing up, i'm totally waiting for someone to recognize Locke from some previous caper.

    Locke was such a shitty sea captain, how did Stragos ever think that would work? unless it failing miserably was part of his plan all along?

    1. Very true, but I expected them to try a more direct method! The sailors could have attempted to kill Locke and Jean, and then the two of them might have gotten free long enough to jump overboard. It was funnier the way Lynch wrote it, though. :)

      Yeah, I'm definitely on Jean's side with this one. I can see why Locke's feeling possessive, since Jean is kind of his only friend in the world. That still doesn't give him a right to veto Jean's romance!

      I'm seeing a lot of people suggesting that Stragos intended for Locke to fail. I had just assumed the Archon had an unrealistic idea of Locke's capabilities, but now I'm wondering, too. What would be the purpose of sending them out to fail?

  2. As you say Locke was a pretty useless captain even with the help of Caldris which makes me wonder whether Stragos believed the myth of the Thorn of Camorr or if he sent out Locke and Jean with something other than piracy in mind. Locke's silver tongue certianly came in handy for talking his way out of death!

    1. I just figured he believed the myth, but now I'm wondering if he had other plans. Locke's charisma comes in handy, but I appreciate that it can't make up for complete incompetence.

  3. I think Ezri will definitely be a wedge up to a point. As above, Jean has spoiled Locke really, not to mention pussyfooted around him in terms of Sabetha. But, you can see the spark between the two, you can feel it and it feels right - so good on them.
    I do wonder about Stragos - what was he hoping to achieve really. Why not use somebody with at least a little seafaring knowledge - it just seems almost as though he wanted Locke to fail.
    I loved after the mutiny when they were both just lazing in their little boat, quite calm, no reason to panic after all!
    Lynn :D

    1. After reading everyone's answers, I'm being persuaded that the Archon may have planned for their failure, too. I still don't see what he stands to gain from it, though!

      Locke and Jean in their boat :). I guess there is a certain peacefulness that comes from the realization that there's really nothing left that you can do to change your situation. Locke was pretty funny after they were picked up though, "I leave the boat with you for one hour, and look what happens!"

  4. It never occurred to me Ezri might not make it out of this book until I read it on other blogs. Now I'm scared it might actually come true. :(
    Oh, I really hope not - Jean deserves some happiness (for a longer time than a few weeks).

    1. I agree. Also Ezri is fantastic, just in herself. I just keep remembering what happened to poor Nazca...