Author: Scott Lynch
Publication Date: August 2007
Red Seas Under Red Skies opens over 2 years after the close of The Lies of Locke Lamora, with flashbacks starting almost immediately after. Locke and Jean are working their way through a scheme to rob casino famous for its security and violent intolerance for cheating. Soon enough however, their actions towards a certain Bondsmage in the first book has caught up to them and they are blackmailed into service to start a war.
Jean and Locke’s cutting wit is the major highlight of this book, similar to the first installment. Without the rest of the Gentlmen Bastards from the first book though it just isn’t the same. Their absence is something sorely missed in this book although Locke and Jean’s characters are quite adept at keeping the humor coming.
The biggest problem with this book is that it can’t decide what it wants to be. Are we robbing a casino? Are we playing Pirates of the Carribean? Well, a little bit of both and they don’t quite mix well together. The casino-scheme is limited to the beginning stages of the book and the end stages. Going back to that storyline after spending the bulk of the book at sea and away from it doesn’t quite fit right.
It was nice to see Jean and Locke not instantly excellent at something though as they learn to navigate the sea. Everything they did in Camorr came so naturally to them that it is easy to think that they are without fault in the underground world of thieves. A character being good at everything though is a dangerous trap for an author to fall into but Lynch avoided it here by giving his characters something related to their work that they struggle with.
I enjoyed rereading this book a lot more than I thought I would. When I initially read this series, I read all of the then-released books back to back and, to be sure, Red Seas Under Red Skies is missing some unnameable quality that was in abundance in The Lies of Locke Lamora. I did not enjoy the subsequent books in The Gentleman Bastards series as much as I did the first one. Because of this I was not overly excited about rereading them but it was time for a refresher since the Thorn of Emberlain is about to come out. I am happy to report that this book had a much higher reread value than I remembered.
This exciting sequel had a lot of great things to it. Jean and Locke with their wit were by far the strongest one. When they were interacting with anyone, including each other, it was always funny and exciting to read. With a okay plot and okay bad guys, the rest of the story seemed to just be there. Not bad in any way, but nothing crazy special either. The first book definitely had the better advantage of the Gentleman Bastards group. Hopefully with the upcoming books more main characters can be established and the plot more interesting. While I love Locke and Jean, the stick of them being two funny and badass will wear thin pretty quickly.