While I have already read and reviewed The Republic of Thieves, I am rereading it for a read along on the Goodreads SF/F Read Alongs group led by Imyril at x+1. For my posts on the read alongs of The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, check the “Gentlemen Bastards Read Along” tag.
The Republic of Thieves is the third book in the Gentlemen Bastards series, which follows the adventures of two talented thieves, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen. The last book left Locke in some dire straights, but he receives an offer of help from an unexpected party.
This week covers up to the end of Chapter Two. Questions are provided by Imyril. Spoilers below the cut!
1) In which we finally – finally! – meet Sabetha. What are your first impressions? How loudly did you cheer?
Since I’ve read The Republic of Thieves before, I was expecting her appearance. But oh my gosh, I was so excited when she finally arrived. The past two books were so frustrating, what with constantly referencing her but never actually showing us her. She’s got a large reputation preceding her.
At this point in the story it’s too early to say whether or not she lives up to it. This time around, I’ve been noticing how totally obsessed Locke is with her. He’s been “in love” with her ever since seeing her as a child? That’s sort of creepy.
I do like that in what we’ve seen of her so far her general attitude towards Locke has been that he’s an annoying little twerp. It’s sort of accurate.
2) Desperate times, desperate measures: making deals with a Bondsmage. Do you trust Patience? What do you think of the Bondsmagi’s form of entertainment?
Ahh, something else that I remember from my first read through! I don’t remember what my initial impressions of her were, but I think I cautiously trusted her. I was probably more focused on the fact that she seems like a super cool new female character. She’s the most powerful magic user we’ve seen so far, and she’s got hints at a really interesting backstory. She’s also a woman of mystery.
As for the election… I guess all powerful magic users have to find some way to keep themselves entertained? Playing with the lives of the more mundane mortals sounds familiar to the genre savvy.
3) “Despising us must be rather like staring into a mirror” – how fair is Patience’s assessment?
I think it’s more accurate than Locke would like to admit. If Patience and her fellow Bondsmagi mess with the lives of ordinary people as amusement… Locke sort of does so as well. He’d probably say that it’s different because he doesn’t have magic powers or maybe try to point to his priesthood and the need to keep the nobles in line. But Locke is manipulative. And I get the feeling that he jumps from one scheme to the other because he can’t fathom any other way of living.
Can you imagine Locke working a regular job? No, I can’t either.
4) Back in Camorr, Locke gets his very own Kobayashi Maru. Is it a test or a lesson? What do you think of Chains’s education (vs the Thiefmaker’s and in general)?
I think it’s both a test and a lesson. When Chains brought Locke into the Gentlemen Bastards, he knew that Locke tended to be over ambitious and didn’t always do as he was told. That’s incredibly risky, and it makes sense that Chains would want to test whether or not Locke would screw things up.
The Thiefmaker feels primarily self serving. Chains may be somewhat self serving, but he has a vision – he wants to take these orphans and train them, give them every advantage to become the best thieves possible, and make them his heirs. His planning seems to be focused beyond direct benefits to himself and more on forming a group that will last beyond his death. Although, it could be argued that he thinks more of creating a legacy for himself than what’s best for those he takes in.