The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. ★★★★1/2
I really loved the last two books in the series, and I liked this one too (maybe a little bit less). However, the one thing that bothered me about the previous two books is also present here: lengthy interludes.
I’ve gathered that the purpose of the interludes is to give information about characters and the relationships between characters. There’s pretty much two separate plots going on, one in the present, and one describing Locke’s childhood. While some of his childhood is interesting, I don’t think it needs this much page space – it distracts from the main plot and slows down the story. Some information could be woven into the main text and some could be deleted altogether. Scott Lynch really had to have them, he could have included them as a collection of extra scenes at the end of the book, or he could have posted them online. Either would be a better solution.
That one grievance aside, The Republic of Thieves is an excellent book. The world building is as superb as always, and a few hints were made as to the fate of the Elders, the long ago race who left amazing glass ruins as their only sign of existence. To my delight, more has also been revealed about the bondmagi (the world’s only magic users who are an organized group). They’ve got an organized political structure which is an important part of the book as Locke and Jean are hired to rig an election.
More has also been seen of the mysterious Sabetha. I was repeatedly frustrated and annoyed when the earlier two books continually referenced her without ever actually showing her. In Republic of Thieves at least, we’ve seen her in Locke’s memories and she’s now an active part of the plot.
She was one of the things that annoyed me about the first book. The only woman in the gang, and she’s disappeared years before and is never actually shown? Really? The other women in the book were all in opposition to Locke, or died very shortly in. Mind you, being in opposition to Locke doesn’t mean that they’re bad people, seeing as how Locke and his gang are thieves and con-men. The second book improved things immensely with the introduction of Drakasha, a female pirate captain, and Ezri, her second in command. I’m really hoping to see Drakasha again, though there’s been no sign of it so far.
While the series lacks a continuing plot, I feel that the end of The Republic of Thieves is the beginning of one. Like always with this series, I didn’t see it coming.