The Republic of Thieves

The Republic of Thieves
Book 3 of the Gentleman Bastard
by Scott Lynch

republicofthievesAs the third book in the Gentlemen Bastard series, it has already been well established that Locke Lamora excels at being a conman. But what would happen if he was pitted against someone equally as good as him? That’s what The Republic of Thieves seeks to answer. Not only do we get to witness an incredible test of Locke and Jean’s skills in yet another area they have little to no experience (rigging an election), but they are forced to deal with a ghost of their past, Locke’s mysterious heartthrob.

We finally get to meet Sabetha and get to answer a number of the questions that have been hanging over the series. Who is this mysterious Sabetha? What is her and Locke’s history? What happened to them? What happened to her? In addition to being able to explore their joint history (along with a welcome revisiting of Calo, Galdo, and Father Chains), we get to watch them be reunited and pitted against each other by the frustratingly powerful bondsmagi. There are also a number of other little plot points woven throughout the story (including a possible glimpse into where Locke actually came from) adding to the overall tale of The Gentleman (and woman) Bastards.

While I appreciated Locke being thrust (yet again) into a situation that was beyond the scope of his skills, I felt that the con the story was wrapped around was just a side-story to everything else that was taking place. Part of why I’ve enjoyed the series so far is seeing how Locke is able to subtly pull the right strings like a master puppeteer making a marionette dance. This time though, it felt that Locke was dancing more than he was mastering. Granted, he pulled some amazing things off while having his own strings pulled, but I was honestly more impressed with Sabetha’s performance than his.

All that said, I’m looking forward to the next book in the series when it comes out.

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The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora
Book 1 of the Gentleman Bastards
by Scott Lynch

liesoflockelamora

<Longer Review Pending>

 

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Real Marriage

Real Marriage
By Mark and Grace Driscoll

realmarriage<Longer Review Pending>

 

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Uprooted

Uprooted
by Naomi Novik

uprooted<Longer Review Pending>

 

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The Last Mortal Bond

The Last Mortal Bond
Book 3 of the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne
by Brian Staveley

TheLastMortalBondPart of me is at a loss for words as I struggle to describe how fantastic this book (and series) is yet the other part wants to gibber madly in a futile attempt at it. To put it succinctly, this book was excellent!

The story picks up almost a year after The Providence of Fire. So as a reader, there’s a bit of disorientation as we try to understand what all has transpired between books. At first I found it frustrating that so much had been skipped, but I later realized that had Brian tried to fill in that gap with actual story-telling, the final book would have probably been split in two. And honestly, most things that transpired in that period probably would have slowed the overall pace down.

Instead, in just a few short chapters, Brian masterfully tells us what all has transpired in the lives of each character and in the world around them. Some of the backstory was a bit of a shock, others teased at additional, future plot twists, and others took glimmers of hope I had and doused them with cold water. He then spends the rest of the 800+ pages taking us on a rollercoaster of events. Things you had believed to be true become suspect by a single question being asked. Good, heroic characters are morphed into broken, twisted people by a series of inevitable choices, and villians become victims before becoming self-sacrificing heroes.

When their father called them his Blades in his battle against the Csestriim, Valyn, Adare, and Kaden were untempered steel. And in book 1, they were obviously young adults, making young adult decisions. But by the time of book 3, the steel has been tempered. The Blades have been put to use. They’ve been bloodied, broken, mended, sharpened, and used. In the past books, they’ve been wielded by others, but in this book, they each come to a point where they make a decision to wield themselves. I have to say that the character development in this book is absolutely phenomenal. As I look at the arc of each character and see how they have matured and changed, I am simply amazed. These are truly three-dimensional characters. The characters at the end of The Last Mortal Bond are not the same characters from the beginning of The Emperor’s Blades. They’ve grown and adapted, and the voice Brian gives to each of them reflects that!

I will definitely be reading this series again….and probably again after that. It is giving fierce competition for my favorite fantasy series, and for good reason!

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Perfect State

Perfect State
by Brandon Sanderson

PerfectStateI picked up this book for $.99 during a sale as I’m a big fan of Brandon’s and was interested in this Hugo-nominated novella. At just under 50 pages, I anticipated it being a quick read, and sure enough, it only took me about 45 minutes to tear through it.

Remember Neo from The Matrix? He was ‘The One’ in the simulated reality and had god-like abilities in the matrix. Take that image then expand it to where every real person was ‘The One’ in their own, tailored version of the matrix. That’s the setting for Perfect State. Each real person is (knowingly) in an artificial world where they can conquer, rule, and control it however they see fit. The creators of these worlds, the Wode, inform the people of the illusion, and introduce a number of things which break the ‘fourth wall.’

The Wode need the real people to procreate with each other in an artificial meeting place between their artificial worlds to continue humanity’s real existence (this had a hand-wavy answer as to ‘why,’ which I didn’t find all that satisfying of an answer, but hey, it’s a novella, right?). The parties must all be willing participants, and the resulting meeting between the all-powerful, egotistical ‘gods’ of each world is quite humorous. Throw in a little bit of danger with each person’s unique ‘powers’ not working in this meeting place, and you get a surprising amount of action and intensity. There’s also a highly satisfying plot twist at the end that I didn’t see coming.

All in all, I’m impressed that Brandon Sanderson was able to pack so much into so little. But then again, he’s one of my favorite authors for a reason!

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(The sale is still going on! You can pick it up from your favorite ebook vendor here!)