“Place ten dozen hungry orphan thieves in a dank burrow of vaults and tunnels beneath what used to be a graveyard, put them under the supervision of one partly crippled old man, and you will soon find that governing them becomes a delicate business.”First line in The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Author: Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastard (Book 3)
My rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.
Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body—though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring—and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.
Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha—or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend (Goodreads).
To begin this review, I just want to clarify that I LOVE THIS SERIES! I enjoy spending time in this world and I’m so sad that I’ve now caught up with the series and have to wait for the next one. Nevertheless, I was very apprehensive before starting this third book in the Gentleman Bastard. From the synopsis I’d gathered that romance would enter the story with the introduction of Sabetha. In the previous books, we get a lot (!) of hints to Locke’s relationship with Sabetha without getting anything specific. I therefore feared that I would hate Sabetha and that the romance would take over the plot. Let me explain how wrong I was.
Sabetha is just a wonderful addition to the story in my opinion. I especially loved her in the flashbacks because she creates just a little bit of balance in that male-dominated Gentleman Bastards. It gave Lynch an opportunity to highlight the idiocy of teenage boys. It was hilarious and so on point. Of course, Sabetha also has her flaws at that age. Hers are just more related to her struggles about being the only girl and how she tries to retain influence and power in spite of this. Here is a quote from her:
I cannot stress how much I related to her and I applaud Lynch for giving us this version of a love interest for Locke. She could easily have become a cliché who was just there to fill out a role. But no, she’s her own person before she’s anything to Locke.
If you hadn’t guessed it, I could talk about Sabetha for hours, but let’s move on to my main critique. The plot. It hurts me just to write that because the plot has been magnificent in the first two books in the series. The setup was really cool. It looked like it could be even more amazing than the previous books with a very political plot. It felt like the perfect setting for the scheming and trickery we’ve been accustomed to with this series. Sadly, I ended up being kind of underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong. The book is still very good, but I don’t think it reaches the high standard of the first two books.
The best parts about this series are still Locke and Jean’s friendship and the writing. Just look at this quote:
How do you come up with a sentence like that? I’m baffled but I love it.
In short, all the humor and the swearing are still there and that is a big reason why I still enjoyed this book. Lynch’s creativity when creating these farfetched sentences is just mind-blowing.
That’s it for my thoughts on The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’ve read it, I would love to chat about it in the comments. I feel like liking Sabetha is a bit of an unpopular opinion so let me know if you feel the same or can’t stand her.
3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch”
I loved Sabetha: I loved that she was her own person, and unwilling to accept any of Locke’s shit. She’s got her own baggage and her own gifts – I was rooting for her throughout, to be honest. I was deeply relieved that she was elevated beyond redheaded manic pixie dream girl.
…I also shared your mild disappointment with the plot. The past/present didn’t weave together as well for me here as in Lies – I felt the structure undermined the tension in the present, which never quite delivered on its promise. All of which sounds horribly critical, so I have to add that it’s still head and shoulders above many of the other books I’ve read – it’s just that Lynch set himself such a high bar 🙂
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So happy to hear that you also loved Sabetha. I also found myself hoping she would win in the end. She just seemed to work harder for it.
And yes, the past and present didn’t really connect in this one as well as in the previous books. They very much felt like two seperate plots and I found the ending in the past to be more exciting and climactic than the present.
But totally agree with you that the bar is just that high after two completely perfect books. This one is still amazing.
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