It's time for the final read-along post for Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves! I provided the questions this week, and I'll be adding links at the end of this post to everyone's answers. I'm sad to see this come to an end, but at least there are more books to come in this series!
Beware spoilers through the end of Republic of Thieves in this post!
1. The Republic of Thieves: It’s the first and final performance! What did you think of the play? Were you entertained, or eager to get on with the rest of the story? Also, how do you feel about how the play fits in the novel, in terms of the story and the characters who play the parts?
I enjoyed the play. It was fun to see how Calo and Galdo played off of one another, as well as Locke and Sabetha. I was a little eager to find out how they would get out of their mess with Boulidazi, but I still enjoyed it. In terms of our novel charaacters, I noticed that Locke was once again put in a fictional position of being expected to kill Sabetha. I’m starting to wonder if this is foreshadowing for the next book.
2. The Other Performance: Of course, the GB and company had another important performance to get through—the one that ensures none of them end up hanged! What was your favorite part of this scheme? Do you agree with their plan for dealing with Moncraine’s treachery?
The bathhouse bit was very undignified, but went surprisingly well. I think I especially liked their way of getting through the performance, having Donker play Boulidazi on stage. He wanted to die onstage, but at least he got to play a dead man? I think they did the only thing they could about Moncraine, but I wonder if Chains will be angry. Wasn’t Moncraine his old friend?
I also thought their lecture from Ezrintaim was pretty hilarious. She was so stern about pointing out Sabetha’s responsibility to a family that didn’t exist, and making sure she didn’t get pregnant by her fake, dead lover. It was certainly a strange lecture.
3. The Election: It seems Lovaris was indeed the final trick, and the election is over. Are you satisfied with how things turned out? Do you wish that the election had focused more on the political problems of Karthain, or are you satisfied with the mudslinging and pranks that went on between Locke and Sabetha?
I somehow expected something more to happen before the end. It’s not especially clear to me how they ended up nearly tied, given how far ahead Sabetha seemed most of the time (I guess that was an illusion). Neither Locke nor Sabetha seemed overly concerned with the turnout of the election, so Lovaris’ defection didn’t seem to matter too terribly much to our principal characters. Also, while the pranks were a lot of fun, it could have been nice to get more of a sense of the meaning of the election to the ungifted Karthani. Is it just a game to them, too, or do they expect their concerns to be addressed by their government?
4. The War: Do you have any speculation on what specific issues might have escalated the two Bondsmagi factions rivalry into this kind of violence? What do you think the surviving Bondsmagi will do next, with all their gathered money and knowledge?
We know that there’s the split between the more conservative and the more aggressive Bondsmagi factions, but it seems to me that there must be something serious to prompt them to slaughter an entire faction. Maybe the Falconer’s friends wanted to torch Camorr, like Therim Pel, after what happened to him there? As for what’s next, it seemed to me from Patience’s words that this was all part of a long-term plan. Maybe they’re trying to learn about what killed the Eldren, in order to eventually defeat it? If so, then perhaps they need to not be such an obvious target during the time when they challenge this power.
5. Patience: Given the final revelation that Patience does hate Locke for what he did to the Falconer, what do you make of her behavior towards Locke throughout the book? Do you think her plan of vengeance is well suited to Locke? What do you make of the Black Amaranth story now, as well as the prophecy she threw on top?
Given all this new information, I'm no longer convinced by the story of Lamor Acanthus. Since she is a demonstrated liar, I don't think Locke should trust in anything she says. She was adamant that she would never use the Falconer's true name against him, when she had already used it to cripple his mind. Also, she's been lying about her feelings towards Locke throughout the entire election. I think that there may be a connection between Locke and Lamor Acanthus, but it is not necessarily anything like Patience is claiming.
Concerning her vengeance, I'm having a hard time accepting that living in uncertainty is a worse punishment for Locke than slowly bleeding to death from that awful poison. Patience's vengeance seems to be surprisingly petty: telling him potentially fake stories about his past life, meddling in his love affairs, and cheating him of money.
However, I think the prophecy might be true. It’s obscure enough that Patience might see no reason to lie about. And then that makes me wonder what it means—will Locke and Sabetha take a throne together in the Marrows, have a child, and lose both? I can’t come up with any theories on the key. As for the silver rain, that makes me think a bit of dreamsteel. Is she prophesying that the Falconer will eventually kill Locke?
6. The Epilogue: Speaking of vengeance, do you think the Falconer’s vengeance against his mother was merited or excessively cruel, given the circumstances? On that note, how do you feel about the Falconer’s transformation and possible status as a continuing villain?
After learning what his mother had done to him, some kind of vengeance seems merited. I think his particular method of vengeance, though, was too cruel. I’m not sure what to think about the Falconer yet. Having an evil, maimed, vengeance-obsessed villain seems like kind of a cliché, but he may have a lot of interesting story ahead of him.
7. Wrapping up: Thus ends the third book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence. How do you think it compares with the first two? In the end, do you prefer the Espara storyline or the Karthain storyline, or did you like them both equally?
I enjoyed The Republic of Thieves, but I think that The Lies of Locke Lamora might still be my favorite, with Red Seas Under Red Skies as a close second. The Republic of Thieves seems to be gearing up for some very dramatic storytelling in the next few novels, but that also means that some large parts of the story are not really resolved. Within this novel, my favorite bit was the Esparan storyline. I loved seeing the Gentleman Bastards team in action! Locke and Sabetha worked so well together, I wish they could stick together in the present day.
Speaking of Locke and Sabetha, this brings me to something else I wanted to bring up. What caused Sabetha to leave in the end? I’m betting that Patience either spun her some offensive lies or used her true name to compel her. Yes, I know Patience says she didn’t use Sabetha’s true name, but she is also a known liar. Making Locke believe Sabetha chose to leave him would maximize his pain in an extremely spiteful way, which sounds exactly like Patience.
I can’t imagine Sabetha just running off because a Bondsmage showed her a picture of a redheaded woman, claiming without any particular evidence that it features Locke and his wife in a past life. Even if Sabetha believed her, I thought Locke and Sabetha had already gotten past this issue. While Locke does have a thing for red hair, I thought they both accepted that he is truly in love with Sabetha herself. Surely Sabetha doesn’t think that for someone to love you, they must not be physically attracted to anything about you in particular. I don’t see how Lamor Acanthus sharing Locke’s fondness for a certain hair color should affect anything between them at all.