Red Seas Under Red Skies

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Lies of Locke Lamora was a tremendous book. It also told a complete story, pulling out all the stops to chronicle the rise and fall of the Gentleman Bastards.

Volume 2 picks up where the first left off and has the unenviable task of rebuilding not only the lives of the characters but the world that they inhabit.

The new situation that the main characters (Lock and Jean) find themselves in isn’t nearly as rich as the first book, mostly because the events aren’t tied in with their origin, or decades of history. To try and fill that gap, the author intersperses flashbacks with the “current” storyline. It’s a device that wears thin by the time it’s abandoned in the middle of the book. Still, despite the technical challenges, this volume manages to tell an amazingly solid tale of thievery and piracy.

As an author, Lynch has an impressive ability to find a way to move the plot forward when it seems like the characters every option has been cut off.

There’s also a lot of clunky storytelling masquerading as clever in this book, and a number of situations seem to provide nothing but a chance to put our heroes into yet another “inescapable” trap so that the author can show off their (and his) cleverness yet again.

Luckily, it never quite gets to the level of exhausting, and the book manages to wrap up what seems like an impossible number of plot threads in a tidy and entertaining manner.

This book isn’t the tour de force the first one was, but it’s a solid fantasy potboiler with excellent prose, and sometimes that’s more than good enough.

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