Monday, November 18, 2013

Read-Along: The Republic of Thieves, Part 4

In this second-to-last read-along post for Scott Lynch’s Republic of Thieves, there are a lot of major surprises!  This is not just for this book, but for the series as a whole, so I’m adding an extra spoiler warning here.  This week’s questions cover Chapters 8 through 10, and they were kindly provided by Andrea of Little Red Reviewer. 

Major spoilers of this book through Chapter 10, and of the entire series, lie ahead!

1. We finally know why Sabetha dies her hair, and that's so disturbing even the Thiefmaker under Shade's Hill was disgusted by it. Too dark for this world? Or just right?

That is considerably more horrific than I had assumed from what Sabetha said before.  Considering the kinds of things that happened in Camorr in Lies, though, I have to say I don’t think it is too dark for this world.

In a way it is a bit lucky they had that tense moment with Boulidazi.  It forced Sabetha to calm down and think a bit, which ended up allowing Locke and Sabetha a chance to address the red hair argument almost immediately.  I’m glad that misunderstanding didn’t drag for days!

2. The "Asino" brothers are drunken idiots, but they're not blind. What did you think of the little rendezvous they helped arrange for Sabetha and Locke?

That was actually really nice!   They may not understand much of the situation beyond “Locke and Sabetha want to hook up, but can’t find a time or place”, but it was a very friendly gesture.  Locke and Sabetha were also pretty adorable.  Sabetha made a good point—she expects to do it more than once, and they can get it right through practice.  Or, as Jenora said, first there’s the enthusiasm, and artfulness comes later. 

Also, was anyone else reminded a bit of Moulin Rouge by the love triangle between Boulidazi, Sabetha, and Locke?  The conclusion of the triangle was definitely quite a bit different, though.

3. Locke managed to get everyone out of the Boulidazi mess we discussed last week . . . what do you think of this latest  Boulidazi complication?

I did not expect that at all!  I was pretty disgusted with Moncraine’s rant that she should have just “tried to enjoy it”, when Boulidazi assaulted her. I think Jenora did the right thing.  Now, it’s up to the rest of them to hide the corpse in plain sight and let the show go on! 

And back to Karthain...

4.Time is flying, and the election is getting closer. Desperation calls for cheap tricks. I think my favorite so far is Sabetha's special roof guards. What's your favorite election dirty trick so far?

I have to admit, the little old lady roof guards were fantastic. I also quite liked the back-and-forth with the snakes.  I couldn’t help but think that was a bit dangerous on Locke’s side, though.  Even non-venomous snakes can bite when agitated, and they were all poured on his head in a confined space. They might not have venom, but those little fangs must still be able to do some damage.    

5.There's a mole in the Deep Roots. Was that person's identity a surprise to you? And how did you like Locke's method of identifying the person?

I highly doubt this was a surprise to any of us readers, especially since we’ve seen Nikoros getting suborned.  This is exactly why I thought Locke and Jean ordering Nikoros to just break his addiction was a bad idea.  I’m guessing either they’ve never dealt with an addict before, or they just assumed the Bondsmagis’ adjustments would force Nikoros to follow orders.  They really should have just worked with him on rationing and acquiring a secure stash.  That’s not the most moral plan, but I think it would have been less likely to result in treachery.

As for the strategy, it’s basically the same one Tyrion Lannister used at one point in the Game of Thrones tv show.  It’s a good, solid strategy for finding a mole, but it does require that all of your most trusted allies don’t trust one another.

6.What's so important about this Lovaris fellow? The election is right around the corner, so why introduce someone new so late in the game? 

He made so little impression on me that the name doesn’t really ring a bell.  He was… the guy they wanted to bribe to switch sides?  I’m not really very interested in politicians.  I’m sure he’ll have some important part to play, but I just don’t really care about him at all. It does seem a bit late in the book to be introducing new characters.

7. It's so nice that Locke and Sabetha can finally have some nice, normal dinner dates. He even cooks her dinner! But that sneaky Patience, always interrupting everything! Finally, she promises some answers. that's nice. what, Locke is WHO? Locke is a WHAT? How much of it do you believe?

I don’t really know how much to believe, but in some ways, I’m not really sure it matters how much is true.  Also, the whole story about Lamor, his wife, and how he tried to get her back reminds me of Fullmetal Alchemist. Lamor was a fair bit more selfish, though, and inside an orphan kid is a much less ethical place to stick a soul than a suit of armor.

In terms of identity, I can’t really see Locke and Lamor as the same person.  It seems, from Sabetha’s description, that Lamor’s soul might have been somehow fused with the orphan kid’s, resulting in a new composite type of soul.  Even if that is not the case, Locke is a different person, with different memories, different desires, and even different skills.  Maybe they both fancy redheads, but does that really matter? At the end of the day, I think we’ve established that Locke loves Sabetha for much more than her hair.  I suppose if we learned that Sabetha was actually the reanimated wife of that Lamor fellow, then that might be a big deal.

However, I can see how it matters quite a lot to Locke’s circumstances.  Most importantly, the Bondsmagi are never, ever going to leave him alone.  He’s going to have to spend the rest of his life tricking them, if he can’t get something sorted now!  Maybe he can fake his own death?  He has one benefit from this situation, though.  Locke Lamora’s red name can’t be taken from him, because he doesn’t even remember it.  Therefore, the Bondsmagi will never be able to control him.

And on a final note, why on Earth did Patience have this wacky idea that she was compelled to interrupt Locke and Sabetha’s date to reveal all this information?  How does this have anything to do with their romance?  She didn’t swoop into Espara to warn them before they first fell in love, so I don’t see how she has any moral compulsion to tell them at exactly that moment, so many years after their romance began. (Also, I know, Patience didn't know who Locke was back then, so she couldn't have done or said anything.  However, I still think that the need to tell them about this is not exactly urgent.)


  1. "They may not understand much of the situation beyond “Locke and Sabetha want to hook up, but can’t find a time or place”, but it was a very friendly gesture." - I think you do them a bit of a disservice there. The Sanzas may not be as intelligent as Locke or Sabetha, but they're streetwise. I think they just choose to ignore their own wisdom most of the time. Which is probably a stupid thing to do, come to think of it...

    "Even if that is not the case, Locke is a different person, with different memories, different desires, and even different skills." - Yes, absolutely. Even if this does prove to be true, he's still Locke Lamora, and knowing him the very fact that he's being pushed in one direction means that he'll be kicking and fighting to go the other way.

    1. Okay, maybe I was a little unfair to the Sanzas. I know they're not actually stupid, and it is thanks to them that Sabetha and Locke finally had a chance to get together! :)

  2. The whole red hair issue certainly gave a little more perspective to what otherwise seemed a little bit like an over reaction by Sabetha. I'm glad that they had time for a breather, courtesy of Bouldazi, much better that the argument didn't drag on!
    Yeah, Moncraine - he punched Bouldazi just for offering him assistance! But then thinks Jenora should have just took it with no fight back!
    I liked the return to sender snakes! He sort of asked for it didn't he. I did wonder whether he might get bitten though.
    Good point - why did Patience choose that moment. I can't help thinking she's being a bit less than truthful! I think she's just messing with Locke's mind as part of come uppance for the Falconer - even if she didn't like him that much personally. At the end of the day, family is family - and you can insult your own family but woe betide anybody else who does so! Well, maybe, although I still can't decide. Even, if Patience's story is true - I don't see how it matters, surely Locke is still himself. This other character is totally repressed isn't he??
    Lynn :D

    1. The red hair thing was so much worse than I imagined. I can see why Sabetha blew up, but I'm glad they hashed it out. Moncraine is seeming like a worse person as the story goes on :(. I don't think we've seen anything of a former Bondsmage in Locke, so I'd say he's totally repressed. Maybe its part of those "2 parts" that Sabetha sees, but even so, that's pretty well integrated with Locke's identity. I'm hoping something's going to pop up to make sense of Patience's timing soon.

  3. 5. A pity you could not have advised Locke and Jean - forcing an addict to go cold turkey and then mostly ignoring the problem turns out to have been very poor judgement! I was also a bit shocked when Locke wondered what could have caused him to betray them, as if it wasn't EXTREMELY obvious.

    6. Same here. I found the scene with Lovaris a bit confusing (not sure how the council seats work) and I didn't understand why he was so important. Mostly, this scene seemed to be a means of making it clear that Locke had a mole, and didn't really have a proper understanding of Karthain.

    7. "Maybe they both fancy redheads, but does that really matter?"
    I fully agree that Locke is his own person at this point, but I didn't really dwell on the redhead issue. I guess at that young age his Locke personality was still developing and the tiny traces of his Lamor persona still held sway. Hence the sewing needle memory. And now we also have a better reason for why he found Sabetha's hair so fascinating. His instant infatuation seemed very odd to me. But yes, he does love her for more than her hair now.

    1. Yeah, I was surprised they didn't figure it out immediately, too, once they realized Nikoros was their mole. It's like they thought telling him to stop was absolutely the end of the whole drug problem.

      On Lovaris, that makes sense. Though it is a bit sad that Locke doesn't really have a proper understanding of Karthain, this close to the election!

      Your explanation for the red hair fascination (and sewing memories) seems to make a lot of sense. I didn't actually mean to imply that I thought the redhead issue was extremely significant-- the opposite, in fact! That is, unless there is something else we don't know about the situation that makes it more important.

  4. My thoughts exactly on question 7!
    Why did Patience choose that particular time - I didn't see any valid reason in all her speech. And I thought the same thing about Sabetha reincarnated as the wife it the whole previous life of Locke part was true. But I don't think that might happen - I don't think Locke is the Black Amaranth but I do believe there is a connection there.

    1. Yeah, I kept waiting for her to justify the timing, too, but I don't think she really gave a reason at all. I hope we get a little more information on the Black Amaranth situation before the end of the book, because I don't know what to believe right now :).

  5. Yeah, I was glad that Locke didn't allow Sabetha to simply walk away from him again right after the red-hair comment when Boulidazi shoved a knife in his face. Locke can be dense, but he isn't maliciously ignoring Sabetha's signals to him - he honestly doesn't know what to do with the few signals he gets.

    Haha! yes, Locke was probably dealing with a dozen or more little infected snake bites for a week or so after that little trick.

    Locke is definitely into Sabetha, for all that she is - not just her red hair. So even if Patience is telling the truth about Locke's long lost ID, the fact that the old, dead Lamor once fancied a red head is almost the say as saying the old dead Lamor fancied women of average height. It is not that telling by itself.

    1. I hope that Locke and Sabetha take that approach in the future, too, dealing with misunderstandings as they occur (instead of letting them explode into massive problems).

      Ouch, that does not sound pleasant :).

      I definitely agree with you, which is why I'm not sure why this revelation should have been especially relevant for Sabetha and Locke's relationship. Sure, it's weird to find out the guy you're in love with might have had a recent, previous life with the same soul, but Patience seemed to imply that there was some important direct impact of this information on their relationship. I don't see how, at least not with what we know now.

  6. 2. I chose to see the Asino brothers forcing Sabetha and Locke together as a sign of their worldliness. The lovers are too busy squablling and the Asino's know there's nothing better than to get all of the emotions out...

    5. At first mention of Nikoros and his unfortunate habit you could sort of tell it might get exploited. I really want him to go out like Tony Montana, dusted up and with a big bang.

    6. Lovaris is introuced late. I'm almost at the end so I bet he's some major part of Locke's plan. Up until now Locke and Jean have been roundly beaten. While I think Sabetha is the better thief etc. I don't think it will be a completely one-sided victory. Perhaps Lovaris will allow Locke a last minute win.

    7. Patience is telling the truth and at the moment when it most hurts - when Sabetha and Locke are really getting on well. I think that Patience explained that Locke was a new individual with none of the powers or memories of his former self but I wouldnt be surprised if in future novels he does access some well of power. Whatever happens now, Locke is going to be front and centre for anyone with knowledge of his past.

    1. 5. That would have been hilarious, especially since he's been so timid up until now :D.
      7. Yeah, I think he's going to have a lot of trouble from this, especially from the Bondsmagi. It will be interesting to see if he does end up eventually developing some affinity for magic.

  7. " was anyone else reminded a bit of Moulin Rouge by the love triangle between Boulidazi, Sabetha, and Locke? "

    Yes!! I totally was! I was waiting for the magic sitar that sings "I only speak the truth". lol!

    I think you hit it right on the head, that the GB's aren't used to dealing with someone who has an addiction. Sure, Chains smoked on occassion, but it wasn't a crazed gotta-have-it addiction. Leads me to believe they *don't* know how powerful an addiction is. And that is another interesting detail you brought up, how does addiction or other dangerous behaviors fit in with the Bondsmagi "adjustments" they do to people?

    and you get extra double super points for making reference to Fullmetal Alchemist! the creepy disturbing things people do for love. . .

    Yeah, Patience's crappy timing frustrated me SO MUCH. I mean come ON! you couldn't have waited a few more hours??

    1. Haha, and then the sitar gives the game away!!

      I guess we can't really answer that without knowing exactly how they're adjusted. It might have just made Nikoros feel even more awful about not being able to follow instructions.

      Yeah, seriously!! She seemed to imply that there was some compelling reason she tell them *right then*, but I didn't really understand why from what she said.