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Review: The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

By / November 25, 2013 / no comments

A book long awaited by me. It has been almost Martin-esque in it’s creation.

As with previous volumes, we’re partly reliving Locks past, while also following him in the present. This time around, Lynch uses the “past” parts of the book to introduce a new character, Sabetha.

We’ve had hints and more than hints about Sabetha, Lockes supposedly great love, throughout Lies and Red Seas, and finally we get to meet her. To me, it was a big letdown. Much of the time spent in the past revolves around characters killed of in Lies, and no longer with us in the Republic of Thieves. The Sansa brothers, lovable as they are, has no place in this book. They were killed off. Leave em be and lets get on with the show, literally speaking.

And that’s also my gripe with the book. Too much time is spent in “then”-parts, which really serve no purpose (but to introduce Sabetha).

The story has changed significantly. There is no heist to perform this time around. It’s probably necessary to leave it out to push the story onward, but I really do miss the heist parts. It was Ocean’s 11 meets fantasy, and it worked so well.

The story in Republic picks up where Red Seas left off. Locke is mortally poisoned and it’s up to Jean to find a cure.

Locke and Jean are offered a cure, in exchange for a service rendered. They are to travel to the high seat of the Bondsmagi, to act as political advisors for one of the two political  factions in Karthain.

Fast forward and we’re introduced to Sabetha. The introduction of Sabetha, and the Shakespearean love story between the two takes the front seat in Republic and that’s not a good thing. Many of the central elements from Lies and Red Seas has been left out. It’s a damn shame.

The real problem with the story is this: Lynch killed off the Sansa brother in Lies, and he still insists on using them to move the plot forward. He created a monster of a book in Lies, but also killed off half of what made it so unique.

Red Seas suffered from having only two characters, and Republic has the same defects. These can not be repaired by living in the past for half the book.

The introduction of Sabetha does not come off successfully. While interesting, it has no impact on the overall storyline. The love story between Sabetha and Locke is as much a tragedy as Romeo and Juliet. There is just too much teenage angst and pinning on Lockes part. Too much hard capable iron lady in Sabetha. Think Jon Snow and Ygritte from aSoIF. Or Twilight. I’m being unreasonable harsh here, and I know it. But it’s Lynch. My expectations have been soaring for nigh on 6 years.

The usual ending in the series is not up to scratch either. It’s predictable to a fault and to be honest, quite boring. Locke and Jean are no longer in mortal peril and the story suffers from this. There is no suspense and the expectation of the inevitable demise of Locke and Jean disappears halfway through the book.

And yet, after all that is said, I still enjoyed the book a lot. Lynch is a good writer, and though the book is not perfect, I would still recommend it for anyone who liked Lies.

About the author

Ben

Blog editor, admin and founder of BestFantasyBooks.comYou'll find me on the BestFantasyBook forums and spending my spare time reading fantasy books and writing lists for this site. In fact, I have no spare time -- running this site IS my spare time!

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