Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

“The kitchen faucet makes the most bizarre sounds.”

First line in Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Published: October 1st 2018

Genre: YA science fiction/dystopia

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Everyone’s going to remember where they were when the taps ran dry.

The drought—or the tap-out, as everyone calls it – has been going on for a while. Life has become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t take long showers, don’t panic. But now there is no water left at all.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation and violence. When her parents go missing, she and her younger brother must team up with an unlikely group in search of water. Each of them will need to make impossible choices to survive.

Goodreads

Review

Going into this book, I was a little scared. I had just finished Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe and so naturally I was afraid that his other works wouldn’t reach the same level of awesomeness. And while Dry isn’t Arc of a Scythe, it’s still a very thought-provoking and gripping read.

What I really want to complement about Dry is its structure. Yeah, I know that sounds expectionally dull but stay with me for a second. We start the book with two POV characters, Alyssa and Kelton. Those are the ones who introduce us to the world and the problem of the water shortage. As the story progresses, we get two more POV characters but those aren’t introduced until they meet our “main” characters. I loved that. Another author would have us following all of them from the beginning simply because some of them would be relevant later. Shusterman proved that that isn’t necessary.

Also, even though this book is very character-focused, we still get glimpses of how the rest of California looks like during the crisis. These very short scenes from random places are so well done and honestly remind me quite a lot of Arc of Scythe. It was a really great way to give perspective and showcase ALL of the horrible things that were happening.

I want to talk about the characters as well because I have both praise and criticism to those. I especially liked two of the characters and by liked I mean that I wanted to strangle one of them. It’s rare that I hate a character that much. However, I like it when a book give me some strong emotions, no matter good or bad. The character was still very realistic and that character work was so well done.

One of the characters I didn’t really care for was the main character Alyssa because she was honestly kind of boring. I got a little bit of a Mary Sue vibe when reading about her. She was a little bit too good all the time. So it’s not that I hated her as a character. I would just consider myself indifferent and that not the ideal feeling to have for the main character.

The writing is great. It’s very easy to understand but still manages to be emotional and draw you in. I also couldn’t tell that it was written by two authors. There were no abrupt changes in the writing style along the way which always gives a more pleasant read. What did almost ruin the book for me was the ending. I don’t want to spoil you but I do think that the ending could have been a lot stronger. And by ending, I mean the very, very end. The last 10 pages could have been left out and I would have loved the book more.

However, Dry is still a great book that I will highly recommend if you’re into dystopia and other end-of-the-world kinds of books. The book really focuses on the mental state of these characters and how it changes because of the circumstances. The Shustermans manage to make it incredibly fascinating and real. Again, it will make you think, which is also why I think fans of Arc of a Scythe will like this one. I’m definitely going to be reading more of Shusterman’s books.

That was my review of Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. I hope I convinced you to read it. If you’ve read it already, let me know what you thought of it. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Fever King by Victoria Lee

“Outbreaks of magic started all kinds of ways.”

First line in The Fever King by Victoria Lee

Author: Victoria Lee

Published: March 1st 2019

Genre: YA Science Fiction Fantasy

Series: Book 1 in the Feverwake duology

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis:

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Goodreads

Review

The Fever King is the kind of book that isn’t perfect but I couldn’t help loving it anyway. The book initially caught my eye because it was set in the future but it also had magic. I think it’s rare to see a combination of the two and I just have to say that it worked really well.

The story takes place 100 years in the future in what was formerly known as North Carolina in the United States, now called Carolinia. Magical outbreaks have destroyed much of the land and have created huge groups of refugees. You see, magic isn’t only a good thing in this world. When you get infected with magic, you either get magical abilities or you die. Most people die.

It was very interesting way to create this refugee-issue that drew so many parallels our real world concerning the refugee crisis. I really liked how Lee incorporated this social commentary into the book. She clearly had something to say and I think that made the book turn out quite educational in that regard. I especially appreciated that frustration and passion about the issue we got through the main character Noam.

Noam is the character we follow throughout the whole book. He’s resourceful and passionate about his only goal which is to help the refugees anyway he can. Even though I didn’t absolutely love Noam, I do think he’s a great protagonist. He’s a well rounded character. The same can be said of many of the other characters altough there are a few who appear somewhat flat. However, it is a YA book so I would say that is to be expected.

Speaking of YA, I actually tried to find out whether this book is considered Young Adult or New Adult. All sources I found called it Young Adult but then I will definitely put it in the upper end of the category and leaning towards New Adult. These characters swear quite a lot and sex is also a prevalent theme although nothing too graphic. That’s it though. The narrative fits the Young Adult category and Noam is 16 years old so in that sense, the book is YA. Just be aware of those other things as well.

One thing that took my rating down a bit was the lack of information. The book uses a hard magic system (meaning it has rules) but doesn’t do a very good job of explaining it to the reader. I really want to know the reaches and limitations of the characters’ abilities to avoid the situation where they just solve a difficult problem by lifting a finger. It probably would turn a bit info-dumpy but I prefer that over the confusion I felt through the first half of the book.

Speaking of confusion, that beginning was really all over the place. It gave me the feeling that that specific beginning was just there to introduce us to so many things at once. The world. The characters. I was very confused by trying to remember everything and every name mentioned. However, when it settled down, I started enjoying the book immediately. It just wasn’t a great first impression.

To end this review, I want to recommend this book to the reader who enjoys YA fantasy and sci-fi and wants to read something a little more mature and serious without going into the adult section. It is also for the reader who enjoys a dystopian setting with a little bit of a fantasy twist. If you want all of this and a diverse read, I think you should read The Fever King.

There you have my thoughts on The Fever King. It was such a surprising read so I hope I at least have made you interested. How you read it already or do you plan to? Let me know in the comments. Have a great day!

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

“Simon Snow did what he came to do.”

First line in Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: YA/NA fantasy

Series: Simon Snow (book 2)

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

With Wayward Son, Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first. It’s another helping of sour cherry scones with an absolutely decadent amount of butter.

Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.

Wayward Son was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and therefore, I’m so happy to say that it was freaking amazing! I read it in 2 days even though I was trying to take my time with it. I’d been missing these characters for a long time, and it was such a joy to read about them again that I didn’t want to finish the book.

I had to spend some time thinking about what I’d read before I was actually able to write this review. However, now that my thoughts are in order, I will tell you about my likes (there’s a lot) and dislikes (just a few). I’ll tell you about my overall thoughts at the end, but first let’s dicuss the negatives.

  • Unnecessary action sequences

Here, you might think “how can an action sequence be unnecessary?”. Normally, I would think the same so let me explain. While on their American road trip, the characters (of course) run into trouble. The action scenes that ensue from this are actually really great and I loved reading them. My problem with them didn’t occur until I had finished the book and I realised that those scenes did really matter. They had no major tie-in to the overall plot. That made them seem like they were just put there to give the reader some excitement in an otherwise dialogue-heavy book. Not a big dislike on my part, but it could have been done better.

  • A set up book

A third book has already been announced to this series that was only meant to be a standalone. It shows in this second book although not as much as I’d feared. We spend a lot of time learning about new storylines and not very much is resolved by the end.

  • Villain

I won’t say too much about this as the villain is revealed quite late in the book. I just thought it was such a cool idea and so fitting for the story Rowell wanted to tell.

  • Character development

I LOVE THIS! I’m amazed at how well the character development is done. Rowell just continues the work she did in Carry On, and I especially love how she makes the characters so realistic. Her development doesn’t mean one long ascend to perfection. There are ups and downs and some flaws are even there to stay. I love every single character because of this.

  • The story structure

I think the entire build-up of the plot was really well done. The book starts kind of slow but I think that’s a necessity. We needed to get the feeling of where the characters were emotionally after the end of Carry On. I enjoyed that Rowell took her time with that instead of just throwing another villain at them from the start. As we get further along, the pace of the story continues to rise to the point where I couldn’t put the book down. I ended up reading the last 80 pages in one sitting.

  • A contemporary disguised as a fantasy

This might seem like a negative thing for someone who loves fantasy. However, this is actually the perfect solution if you want me to really love a contemporary. By calling it a contemporary, I mean that there aren’t a great focus on the fantastical elements. This series is way more about the characters and their identity and relationship with each other. I just love how the fantasy elements are incorporated into the issues.

  • The representation of depression

Depression is a huge theme of the book, and I will say that Rowell broke my heart several times with that. She showed us the thoughts of someone with a depression, but we also got the perspective of the depressed’s loved ones. From what I know of depression, this seems like a fairly accurate representaion. I haven’t seen anything like this in other fantasy books even though people in those probably should be having depressions all the time.

As this is the second book in a series, I just want to take a moment to compare it to the first book. I very recently reread Carry On so I couldn’t help comparing the two when I read Wayward Son.

The tone of the two books are very different. Carry On is such a funny and heartwarming read. You almost can’t help but smile all the way through. Wayward Son however has some more serious themes and as I mentioned above, it will break your heart if you love these character as much as I do. This doesn’t make the second book worse than the first, but I think you’re going to be dissapointed if you go into this expecting it to be Carry On 2.0.

I will say though that I did enjoy Carry On just a little bit more. Wayward suffered a little from “middle-book syndrome”, which I think is going to be more obvious when the third book is released. I still loved this book though because these characters are so well done that they will shine through even the worst developed plot points.

I will receommed this to anyone who has read Carry On of course and loved it. Even if you have some doubts about this continuation of a standalone. It’s definitely still worth your time.

That was my review of Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell, which I hope you enjoyed. Let me know if I’ve convinced you to read it. Maybe you’ve already read it? Let me know what you thought of it compared to Carry On. Hoping you are having a wonderful day otherwise.

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

“Two o’clock was missing.”

First line in Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Author: Tara Sim

Genre: Fantasy/Steampunk

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Series: Book 1 in Timekeeper (trilogy)

Synopsis:

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.

A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.

A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.

A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.

Goodreads

Blurb from Victoria Schwab: “An extraordinary debut, at once familiar and utterly original.”

Timekeeper is Tara Sim’s debut novel and with a starting point that is this good, I’m definitely reading more of her books. I didn’t have high expectations of this book going into it, but it caught my attention for its LGBTQ+ themes and because it’s set in Victorian London (although in an alternate reality). There was never really any doubt of me reading it because of those things, but the book ended up giving me so much more.

As always, I’ll give some headlines about what I liked and didn’t like about the book and then talk about it in a more general sense in the end. Even though I gave the book 5 stars, there are still a few things that could have been better but they didn’t do much to hinder my overall enjoyment of the book (but they might be the reason you don’t want to pick it up). I’ll start by getting those out of the way.

  • Inconceivable and vague magic system

The magic system concerns time and that is always a tricky one. It’s very rarely done perfectly and maybe that is why Sim didn’t give us too many details. At least not in the beginning. I had so many practical questions about time in this world and most of those weren’t answered until the last third of the book. The information wasn’t even withheld because plot points made it necessary, so it felt a little frustrating to be kept in the dark. 

It didn’t bother me too much in the end because it sort of felt like magical realism. It’s something that’s there that you’re not supposed to understand completely but it still functions as a backdrop for the characters to maneuver in. The first half of the book is heavily focused on Danny’s relationship with Colton and the magic is not that important yet.

  • Slow start

It takes a while for the plot to really unfold and instead we spend the time learning about the characters and their relation to each other. It felt a bit dull when I was reading it, but I also realized that it was necessary when I got further along in the book. If you’re a character-driven reader, I doubt that you’ll mind this slow start.

  • Themes

Timekeeper is a fantasy book that deals with some very relevant and modern topics, and that is my favorite part of this book. We of course have the LGBTQ+ representation. It’s handled very well and the characters actually talk about it a lot, which I find is kind of rare for a fantasy story. Another theme is mental health and specifically anxiety (not a spoiler, it’s in the first chapter). I have a soft spot for anxiety representation in fantasy and this is no exception. Minor themes include grief, identity and family issues.

  • Writing style

I found Sim’s writing really pleasant to read. She’s very good at depicting emotions and creating an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re there in London with the characters. It’s done very elegantly and without the use of too many words. I didn’t feel flooded by flowery descriptions which left more room for some beautiful dialogue.

  • The main character

I loved Danny as a main character! He is very flawed in this first book in a trilogy, which I like because that means character development. I really appreciated how he actually acted like a 17-year-old (often that meant that he was a bit of an idiot but a lovable idiot). Not all YA authors are able to write realistic teens but Sim honestly nailed it. I’m so intrigued to see how she develops his character over the next two books.  

Timekeeper is such a recommend-worthy YA novel for those of you who feel that YA fantasy is all the same nowadays. And I will highlight that this IS YA. Not a New Adult book trying to act like YA, which I really appreciated. The writing is simplistic enough and as I mentioned earlier, it felt like I was reading from a teen’s perspective.

I also briefly want to touch upon that fact that this story is set in an alternate Victorian London. ‘Alternate’ is the key word here. If you’re picking this up to experience the vibe and atmosphere of the Victorian Era, you might be disappointed. At one point, I actually thought that the world was more like our 2019-world just without the technological advances. Culturally and linguistically it felt very modern because Sim kind of just created the world she wanted for this story. It works very well in my opinion but you will feel cheated if you go into this thinking that it’s historical fiction.

Finally, I want to summarize this review by saying that I’m so glad I read this book. And I was so surprised by that fact. Even halfway through the book, I didn’t think very highly of it. I was going to give it a solid 3 stars and stow it away in that giant box of ‘okay, but forgettable’ reads. The last fourth I think changed everything and I couldn’t stop reading it. It gave so much more meaning to what I’d read so far and also promised a lot of excitement for the next books. I can’t wait to continue.

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Station Eleven

“The king stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored.”

First line in Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Review

Hello, people. Hope you’re having a great day. I debated with myself whether I should write this review or not, because it’s not a book I have that many feelings about. I finished it a week ago and I only now feel like I have my thoughts in some kind of order.

I gave Station Eleven 3 stars which means it was alright. Nothing more, nothing less. To give you more of an idea of what is behind those 3 stars, I’ll tell you what I liked and disliked about the book. We’re starting with the negative.

Dislikes

  • Missing Plot

It is a very character-driven story. Not a whole lot of plot in there, which I was waiting for, because it’s a dystopian. The genre just implies that there has to be a maniac who wants to kill or control everyone. Station Eleven is not that kind of dystopian. There was a hint of a plot at some point which got me really excited but it was resolved too quickly and rather effortlessly.  

  • Jumps In Time

This is a personal preference but I don’t enjoy stories that jump around in time. It breaks up the story too much for me. I’ll always prefer to stay in the present and just be told about things of the past. In Station Eleven, we go back and forth a lot so we follow characters both before and after the collapse of civilization. I’d rather just have followed the characters after.

  • The Contemporary Feel

This might sound odd, but this book felt like a contemporary to me. We spend a great deal of time with the characters before the collapse and isolated, those parts feel like an ordinary contemporary. Not that I hate contemporaries but that’s not what I came for, if you know what I mean.

Likes

  • The Writing Style

Mandel has a very pleasant writing style. Even when I wasn’t very interested in the story, she kept me reading because it just felt nice to read. It wasn’t too flowery and had a good flow to it.

  • World Development

I really liked how we were told about the collapse of civilization. It was probably my favorite part of the book because it was sprinkled throughout the entire story. I liked how Mandel really tied it to individual characters so we see it from their point of view instead of it becoming an overarching thing.

  • The Characters

We follow a large group of characters and they are all very well written. None of them are two-dimensional and I liked how Mandel made it clear how flawed they are. Each in their own way. I will say, however, that yes, I liked them, but I didn’t completely love any of them. Some of them, I was even kind of indifferent about but I still enjoyed reading about them.

Overall

I think I went into this book with the wrong expectations and that effected my experience of it. It’s by no means a bad book. I just wanted it to be more than it actually was. It’s a different dystopian than what I’m used to, and to some extent that was actually kind of refreshing. It was nice to see that there are other types of books within the genre than just the Hunger Games kind.

I think a lot of other people would give Station Eleven 5 stars. I would recommend it to those who prefer reading character-driven contemporaries or literary fiction, but don’t mind it when there’s a little twist of something from another genre. It would also be a good book if you’re trying to branch out and want to begin reading some dystopian or science fiction.

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

“Wax crept along the ragged fence in a crouch, his boots scraping the dry ground.”

First line in The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Mistborn: The Alloy Era (Book 1)

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.

After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

Goodreads

Review

I finally picked up this book which is a follow up to Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy. As you can tell from my rating, it was a bit of a let down without being a horrible book. It takes place 300 years after the events in The Hero of Ages and therefore, it has a completely new cast of characters. It also means that the world has progressed to a western inspired setting. I think this book has taught me that I don’t like westerns.  Just keep that in mind.

I’ll split this review up into what I liked and disliked about the book because there’s a bit of both. We start negative to end on a positive note.

Dislikes:

  • Pacing of the plot

I felt the plot was unnecessarily slow for such a short book. The edition I read was only 324 pages long, so I was actually expecting it to be very gripping and exhilarating from start to finish. That’s not what I got. A lot of time is spent on world building (which I’ll get back to) and so the plot almost felt like a side note. Like Sanderson forgot that plot is a thing and just quickly thought of something. In my opinion, the problems could have been resolved much faster but was drawn out to flesh out the world and the characters.

  • Awkward dialogue

Yes, this is weird, I know. Some of things the characters said just made me cringe to hard. Especially Wax when the topics just resembled anything romantic. Definitely not where Sanderson is strongest.

  • The main character Waxillium

We follow Wax for most of the book with a few short POV’s from other characters. That just means that your level of enjoyment is very dependent upon whether you like Wax or not. Well, I didn’t hate him. I just didn’t care very much about him and found him kind of boring. He’s very dry and always very responsible. He lightened up a bit when he had interactions with Wayne but there were very few of those.

Likes:

  • Wayne

Wayne was just a joy to read about. He was a necessary opposite to Wax’ gloominess and I just wish he’d had a more central role to play in the plot. I hope to see more of him in the next books. I need more of his amazing lines and quick wit.

  • Worldbuilding

Absolute favorite thing about this book and the reason I still liked it despite the dislikes I mentioned. Sanderson spends a lot of this book showing how the world and also the magic have evolved. I found it so intriguing to read about and just wanted more. It clearly opened up so many possibilities for the progression of the plot in the next books which I can’t wait to read.

Overall

The Alloy of Law very much functions as an introduction to the next Mistborn Era and it’s clearly meant to set up the next books. Maybe that’s why I overall found it a little underwhelming. Especially for a Sanderson novel. I wanted to be tricked and surprised, but I wasn’t because the plot felt very straightforward and predictable in my opinion.

I’m going to continue with the series and hope Sanderson returns to his earlier amazing storytelling.

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

“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

Genre: Fantasy

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).

Review

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.

Happy reading!