Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along – Week 4

I wasn’t able to participate last week because of work but this week I’m back. Next week may be a gamble depending on whether I can find a wifi signal in San Diego, CA so I wanted to make sure I got in as much as possible this time around. Kinda sad I might miss the last go around because this has been a great read along. Anyway, on with it!

Thanks to Ashley at SF Signal for last week’s questions and nrlymrtl from Dark Cargo for this week’s questions.

Week 3

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?

He might but Locke and Jean will be extracting a price of their own as well, that’s my guess at least. Then again, they might end up at the bottom of the sea. These two seem to find attract every single bit of trouble any place has to offer. But if they didn’t, it wouldn’t be so much fun to read would it?
2. Merrain’s activities after our boys leave Windward Rock are interesting. What do you think her plans are?

I’m beginning to wonder who she’s really working for.
3. Does anyone know why having cats aboard the ship is so important?

Eat mice, scare rats?
4. The word “mutiny” creates a lot of mental pictures. Were you surprised? Why or why not?

No. I didn’t see this little boat ride going well for Locke, Jean maybe, but not Locke. He’s a good actor but he’s an actor. Someone was going to notice the man didn’t know what end of the boat he was on at some point. I’m surprised it took as long as it did.
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?

I was really surprised by the kids, mostly because there haven’t been any in the story except in flashbacks to mini Locke and Jean. It definitely humanizes Zamira and why she’s so cautious.

In a way, it is a natural part of the story though. Why wouldn’t someone have kids even a pirate?
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?

Oh yes.
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?

Again, oh yes.

 

 

Week 4

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?

Double edged question. I think he needed to be honest for Jean because he respects and loves him. And I think there may have been a slight (oh so slight) amount of guilt mixed in with that respect and love that made Locke understand that he needed to lay the cards of the table. But, yes, he always thinks of himself first and what he can get out of it so even by telling the truth he was still using the situation to his advantage.

That makes Locke sound awful but I don’t see him that way, it’s just who he is and what he does, even when he isn’t lying.
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’s driving me nuts that I don’t know his name! Not that there’s anything wrong with Locke which I think is a fabulous name but I want the real one.

I’m not too sure I want to think of what’s in that mist but whatever it is, is what creepy is made of. Then again, maybe it’s nothing and the fog is really just a chemical or a drug that causes hallucinations.
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 was surprised to see Tavras Callas back. First, because I sort of think of him as a scheme from the first book, and two, it seems risky to bring someone like that back even in a part of the world he isn’t know. I keep thinking that’s going to come back and bite him. It does make you wonder about Locke’s head though and how full it is of disguises and personalities that I questioned if Locke even knows who he was. I don’t think of Locke in anyway negative but the fact that he can switch his personality on and off made me wonder about his mental health.
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?

Can you say baby daddy?
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?

She’s the newest member of the Gentleman Bastards! She is. I know it.

And if she doesn’t leave to stay with Jean I’m going to be so upset. Finally, something nice for Jean. Don’t ruin it!
6. What is Utgar up to? What are his motivations?

It took me a second to realize what was going on here and I don’t like it. I have no idea what he’s up to but it’s all bad. That I know.
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?

I don’t get what’s up with her although I’m sorta digging her style. She’s like freelance killer, freelance spy, freelance I will tell you all nothing and play you all against each other.

Or, Lady Gentleman Bastard number two.
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?

It’s a way to get them out of the mess because I can’t believe that Jean would turn on Locke, even though he is a huge pain in the ass.

And this was the worst place ever to stop this week’s reading! Worst. Place. Ever!

Now that my answers are posted, I’m going to start reading again.

Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along Part 2

Back this week with an interruption in the #Reviewathon to play in the Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along. Part 1 is here if you’re curious. This week’s questions are from Andrea at the Little Red Reviewer and she also has more info here.

I decided I had some fun last week writing pretty much stream of conscience and decided to go with it again so ignore dangling participles, fragments, and if I used the wrong conscience (conscientious), ignore that too. I, seriously, never use that word correctly. It’s my nemesis.

1 – Now that we know a little more about Selendri and Requin, what do you think of them? I worry Locke is suddenly realizing this con might be a bit tougher than he expected.

I don’t trust these two at all. Requin doesn’t give hints about anything, although once Locke did seem to surprise him with what he had to say, but I think he already knows what Locke is up to before he does so there’s the possibility of all this going so very wrong. Then again, why should I underestimate a character that seems to be able to get out of almost everything, with the exception of being poisoned? Ugh, he should have know better.

As for Selendri, I now think of her as the new Nazca. This will persist until Sabetha shows up because I appreciate a strong female character. Which, by the way, I do think Lynch does very well. The problem is that he kills them off, gives them horrible back stories, and has them only show up when someone else mentions her as in the case of Sabetha. What’s up with that?
2 – Isn’t the Artificers’ Crescent just amazing?  If you could purchase anything there, what would it be?

I would buy a mini elephant, around the 20 pound mark. Like a decent size dog, not too big but not too small either. Just think how much fun it would be to play fetch with that! Was that a weird answer? I sorta think it is but I’m leaving it because it said anything in the question.

3 – What did you think of Salon Corbeau and the goings on that occur there? A bit crueler than a Camorri crime boss, no?

Esh. I couldn’t wait for Locke to leave. The games are horrid and while it sounds like a ‘nice’ ‘safe’ place, I’d run as far away from it as I could.

One of the reasons I like Locke so much is that he isn’t cruel. He might scheme money away from the rich, play tricks on them, but he’s never outright cruel. And really, where does a child learn that entertainment comes in the form of beating an elderly person with clubs come from! Crap that place was a rat hole.
4 – The Archon might be a megalomaniacal military dictator, but he thinks he’s doing right by Tal Verrar: his ultimate goal seems to be to protect them.  What do you think he’s so afraid of?

This has me confused, not the question, this character. I can’t figure out what he’s up to and why he feels he needs to protect the place. Also, why does he feel so safe that his spies aren’t known by Requin! He should know that if he’s willing to pay, someone else is willing to pay more for the information he wants. Spying 101 — cuz I know so much about that. I should stop talking now but hole already dug, going in for me.

I don’t think he’s afraid of Requin, he understands him as a nemesis (I’m trying to work this word into everyday conversation. Used it twice in this post even!) and maybe a slight threat to his plans, but I don’t think there’s fear there. However, maybe there should be. Is it all a misplaced fear and he doesn’t get it at all? I don’t know.

5 – And who the heck is trying to kill Locke and Jean every few days?  They just almost got poisoned (again!)!

Head, e-reader. I’m pretty sure there’s an N on my forehead from my nook. Can these two just stop drinking everything put in front of them!? I was glad to see they passed on the ale because, really, you had to see that one coming.
6 – Do you really think it’s possibly for a city rat like Locke to fake his way onto a Pirate ship?

I want him to play the part, and I think it will be amusing to see him do it, but no, I don’t think he can be a pirate. In my head, now and forever, that’s Johnny Depp.

Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along – Part 1

I had so much fun with The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along I joined up for the Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along.  What can I say; I’m a sucker for a series and for read alongs this year. It seems I can’t help myself when it comes to either. Yep, sucker.

Book two – Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. I love a good series and so far, a mere 100 pages in, this one is living up to the first for me. Honestly, I think it’s the fact that two of my favorite characters are back and up to their good old schemey ways. No spoilers this week so you’re all safe.

Thanks to My Awful Reviews for this week’s questions. You can find more information at the Little Red Reviewer if you want it.

1. The Sinspire. It looks like our heroes (can they really be called that?) find themselves in search of a way into an unbeatable vault. Do you think they have what it takes to make it happen?

I will call them heroes. Bad examples, but heroes none the same! OK, I have to admit that as soon as I read the scene where Locke starts talking about ripping off the vault, all I could think about was Ocean’s Eleven. Locke and Jean because Clooney and Pitt in my head. I have no issue with this, but that’s all I can think about now. When does the rest of gang arrive?

Do they have what it takes to pull it off? I want them to do it, I do, but right now their prospects are pretty dim. I have faith though, I have faith.

2.  Anyone want to guess how they’re going to make it happen?

Ah, no. I’m notoriously bad a guessing games and don’t feel the need to embarrass myself needlessly. Moving onto question 3…

3. It’s a little different this time around, with us just being focused on Locke and Jean. Is anyone else missing the rest of the Bastards as much as I am?

YES! Oh, I so wish they had their brothers back but I’m also thinking they may need to find some new ones which makes me a little unhappy because they can’t be replaced. I don’t know how they can pull off the heist without more of them though.

4. I love the section where Jean starts to build a new guild of thieves. It really shows just how well trained and tough he is. Do you think the Bastards will end up training others along the way again like Bug?

I loved that part. Or maybe I have a crush on Jean, not sure. Yes, I do think eventually a new gang will form with training all around but I think Locke’s going to resist and Jean will see it as necessary and go out and do it. I do hope the personalities are different in the new Bastards though, not because I didn’t like those characters, but new gang, new personalities just seems to be in order. Also, I don’t want to think of the new Bastards as stand-in zombie replacements because I’m not above thinking that in my head. See question one — I’m already playing the Ocean’s Eleven soundtrack in my head. I don’t need extra reason to mash things up.

5. For those of you looking for Sabetha, we still haven’t spotted her yet. Anyone else chomping at the bit to see the love of Locke’s life?

It’s funny, I see Locke as a softhearted guy, even with all the robbing and scheming to rip others off (he did save people in the end of the last book don’t forget) and I really want to meet the woman who ruined him. Let’s face it; she’s got to be some woman to do what she did to Locke. I want her to be a badass like Nazca. Steel-heeled boots and all. And now bondage is in my head. See, this is what happens when I write without editing. You think I kid but I don’t. Usually I’m much more reserved and professional, or I try to be, but for whatever reason, I’ve lost that battle with myself this morning. (Self, drink some coffee before attempting to write.)

I say he’s softhearted not only because of Sabetha but the way he misses the fallen Bastards. I think of Jean much the same. Yeah, I know they’re criminals but they happen to be fictional ones so I can like them all I want.

6. It’s early on, but the Bastards are already caught up in plots that they didn’t expect. How do you think their new “employer” is going to make use of them (The Archon, that is)?

Again, not good at the guessing game but I surmise it will be interesting and I hope Locke and Jean manage to turn to the game on The Archon in the end.

Read Along Public Service Announcement

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along was so much fun that I’m in for book two – Red Seas Under Red Skies. Scott Lynch, somewhat new to me author and new book crush. Really, hand to god truth. Andrea at the Little Red Reviewer is co- hosting again with @ohthatashely, Dark Cargo, Lynn’s Book Blog, and My Awful Reviews (Thanks co-hosts!) and here’s the schedule. We start reading April 20th. Want more info, go here.

Week 1 – Beginning thru end of Chapter 3, discussion questions go out April 26, posts go up April 28.
Week 2 – Reminiscence “The Lady of the Glass Pylon” thru end of Chapter 6, discussion questions go out May 3, posts go up May 5.
Week 3 – Chapter 7 thru end of Chapter 10, discussion questions go out May 10, posts go up May 12.
Week 4 – Chapter 11 thru end of chapter 13, discussion questions go out May 17, posts go up May 19.
Week 5 – Chapter 14 to the end, discussion question go out May 24, posts go up May 26.

Now go. Get your book.

For the curious, I’ll have a review of The Lies of Locke Lamora up next week, or soon anyway. When I get my act together. Let’s go with that.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along – Part 3

Week three of the read along and I feel I should confess something. *she whispers* I finished the book. Tell no one.

Yea, I couldn’t help myself. I’m bad with read alongs especially ones where the book is so good and each section ends on a cliffhanger and I just need to know so I keep on reading telling  myself that I’ll stop at the end of the section or maybe just finish off the chapter and put it down and then I don’t. Yea, that.

Thanks to the Little Read Reviewer for organizing and My Awful Reviews for putting together this week’s batch of questions.

Warning: my answers will be short. I’m not going to be the one to put a spoiler out there. As much as I want to I won’t.

1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage’s powers?

Initial impression is that the magic is very dark and never used for good. Then again there aren’t many (any?) characters in this book looking to help alleviate any social problems for their fellow brethren so it does fit with the story. I can appreciate that.

I’m confident Locke will come up with a plan to get himself out whatever trouble he’s stepped in but that bondsmage is badass.

2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here.

I have no idea. That’s the best I can do. That is such a crap answer but I won’t say more.

2.5 (since 2 wasn’t really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would)

NO, not Nazca! Ugh, I was annoyed to see her go. I was looking forward to the supposed dating/marriage thing with Locke. I really wanted to see what they would come up with to get out of it and maybe a date scene thrown in there with the two of them at dinner or something. I think it could have been entertainment to the hilt. But no, he killed her off.

Do I think there are more crazy turns? If he’s willing to axe a character like Nazca, then yep, he’s gonna take a few more crazy turns.

3. When Locke says “Nice bird, arsehole,” I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway?

That one got me too! My husband looked over at me (I said it out load and laughed) and just shook his head. It was awesome. And arsehole is so much funnier.

The corpse stealing scene also had me giggling.

4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they’re “cleverer than all the rest?” Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage?

I still have faith in the Bastards but I think they’re getting challenged in a whole new way. I’m don’t think they thought of their schemes as life and death —  they are supposed to be petty thieves for all anyone knows — even though they could have been killed by Barsavi if he found out what they were hiding. Now it’s more than just a gig to keep up till they can back away. I think Locke still thinks he’s clever enough to get out of it though, or at least rock headed enough to try.

5. I imagine that you’ve probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the “present” storyline, but I’ll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead?

Yes, I read ahead. No, I will not answer this question because I know the answer.

6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking?

Jean is a favorite of mine. I loved his introduction into the Bastards and of course his beating the crap out of Locke who roundly deserved it. He’s kind with a mean streak and that seems like a perfect combination for a Gentleman Bastard.

7. Now that you’ve seen how clever Chains is about his “apprenticeships,” why do you think he’s doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge?

I think the endgame is a well-rounded thief who can blend in no matter what, hide when necessary, and be capable of pulling on an accent, a cloak, or mannerism that will let him take over a situation when possible and necessary. And I feel I thought that one out too far. Really, Father Chains is a con man and he’s now got his own little roving gang of bandits and he’s training them to be the best possible players they can be.

And, that’s my two cents.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along – Part 2

We’re in the second week of The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along. I’m loving the book so far so if things feel a little gushy today, it’s because they are. Since there are no spoilers in this read along, this will be short and to the point. By the way, I love spoilers so you have no idea how hard this is for me. J

More info at the Little Red Reviewer and questions this week were supplied by Dark Cargo.

1 – Do you think Locke can pull off his scheme of playing a Midnighter who is working with Don Salvara to capture the Thorn of Camorr? I mean, he is now playing two roles in this game – and thank goodness for that costume room the Gentleman Bastards have!

First, the costume room is awesome. I so need a closet like that. Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but you get the point.

I have started to wonder how long he plans to keep this one going, but from what I’ve read, Locke has convinced me he can pull it off. And the badge is so cool that if that doesn’t convince anybody what will! I don’t think Locke will do anything to jeopardize the scheme but I think something else might. This is the time when I want to read ahead but I’m not. It’s just a suspicion and as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m back to reading to find out.

2 – Are you digging the detail the author put into the alcoholic drinks in this story?

YES! Does that answer the questions sufficiently? 🙂 No really, the detail is wonderful. As I said last week, and read on blogs of others participating in the read along, the details make you see Camorr — all its scars and bright spots. It’s just enough for you to picture it clearly but not enough to overwhelm the story. It’s such a fine line and Lynch is amazing me with how he’s walking it.

3 – Who is this mysterious lady Gentleman Bastard Sabetha and what does she mean to Locke?

I wish I knew because the suspense is killing me. From what I can tell though, she’s taken Locke’s heart, ripped it from his chest, stomped on it, ground it to powder under heel of her shoe, and kicked the rest in the water. I could be very wrong about this though.

4 – Are you creeped out over the use of Wraithstone to create Gentled animals as I am?

Yes, although I find the idea of Wraithstone fascinating. It’s back to details though. Camorr is a rough place and would the animals get freaked out and be unusable there is they weren’t gentled? I don’t really want this to sound like an endorsement of this particular use of Wraithstone because I don’t like it at all. Let’s just say I saw the point and appreciated the use of the Wraithstone but I didn’t like it.

5 – I got a kick out of child Locke’s first meeting with Capa Barsavi and his daughter Nazca, which was shortly followed up by the story of Barsavi granting adult Locke permission to court his daughter! Where do you think that will lead? Can you see these two together?

Nazca with her steel heeled boots and drunk — two things you have to love about a child. She’s an amusing character but I particularly liked the description of her as a child. You can picture her running her father’s enterprise too. Let’s face it, she already feels comfortable telling the guards what to do.

I can’t picture Locke and Nazca as a couple. Would they work well together though? Probably, umm, maybe. Locke’s hiding too much from Capa and I’m not so sure he could keep up the game if he really did fall for Nazca. I don’t know how he plans to get out of it though. That will be an interesting scene.

6 – Capa Barsavi is freaked out over rumors of The Grey King and, in fact, us readers are privy to a gruesome torture scene. The Grey King is knocking garristas off left and right. What do you think this means?

I didn’t need to be privy to the torture scene, mostly because I was eating lunch at the time. Uck.

Moving on. I’m looking forward to The Grey King’s appearance. Another dark character with designs on being in charge, bring it on.

7 – In the Interlude: The Boy Who Cried for a Corpse, we learn that Father Chains owes an alchemist a favor, and that favor is a fresh corpse. He sets the boys to figuring out how to provide one, and they can’t ‘create’ the corpse themselves. How did you like Locke’s solution to this conundrum?

This shouldn’t have made me giggle but it did. Locke is really too smart for his own good. In the end, it was a brilliant decision to the problem of obtaining a fresh corpse with minimal damage. However, what about buying one? Too obvious I guess. The extra little scheme was so Locke too. His mind was way too active for a boy that age and way too morbid as well. Then, that’s why I’m enjoying this book so much.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along – Part 1 Discussion

Section 1 question time! Want more info, want to know what this is about, then go visit The Little Red Reviewer.

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far?  If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?

I’m a first timer. I had a hard time putting it down at the stopping point and I’m not so confident I will adhere to the schedule. Please don’t hate me! Sometimes I’m bad at controlling myself when I get into a book I’m really enjoying. And what I really like is the setting. Love the Venice-like setting! And the cursing! Oh, the cursing is divine. Yep, I laugh at curse words in print. Obviously, I have no self-control whatsoever.

2. At last count, I found three time lines:  Locke as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?

I had a, “Huh?” moment and I started to wonder if I skipped pages when the time shift happened. I’m okay with it now that I know what’s going on though. In fact, I’m kinda liking it because I get to see what Locke is like at three different stages all at the same time, well, pretty much the same time anyway. I like the interspersed stories that go with each time frame too.

3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?

Ooo, so loving it! Yes, I already said that. You don’t see many fantasy books set in a medieval Venice like world and I’m so loving it. There’s something so intriguing about it.

4. Father Chains and the death offering. . .  quite the code of honor for thieves, isn’t it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into? 

After reading three different versions of Locke so far, I honestly can’t say. Normally, I would read ahead and find out but I’m reading this on my Nook and I find it a real pain to skip ahead so I don’t which is keeping me really annoying because I want to know who Locke turns out to be. I like the code of honor Father Chains follows (thief that he is as well) but I don’t see Locke taking it to heart. He might follow it out of gratitude or honor to Father Chains but I don’t see him being a big believer in it all his life.

5. It’s been a while since I read this, and I’d forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer  set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what’s happening?

I enjoy both and for me it really depends on the author’s ability as to whether or not I enjoy it. With this book, I’m liking all the setup up front. It’s helping me see the world if that makes any sense at all.

6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.

Hmm, this hadn’t occurred to me yet. Wonder what’s in my husband’s wallet… 🙂

 

The Historian – A Read Along

Coffee and a Book Chick sent me a note that there is going to be a read along of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.  I read The Historian years ago and loved it so I thought why not read it again.  Besides, every time I go to put something back on the shelf, I keep coming across this book.  A sign maybe?  I think it is.

It’s going to be read in chapters averaging about a 100 pages a week so a very doable pace that means I won’t have to drop anything else I’m reading to play along.  More info is at On the Ledge Readalongs if you want more details.