Review: The Republic of Thieves
Friday, August 9, 2019

The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3)The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's been quite a while since I read the other books in this series, so I was worried I'd be lost, but I had no problem falling right back into the story and the world. In general, I enjoyed the book, though I didn't particularly like the ending. Not terribly surprising since this is one of the few series I read where I don't expect a happily ever after. Recommended for fans of court intrigue.

Characters & Voice:
The book alternates between narrative characters, spending most of the chapters with Jean and Locke, and a bit with their rival Sabetha. There were also chapters following the narrative of other, lesser characters. It was sometimes difficult to tell who was narrating, or which characters we were with until a few paragraphs in.
The main protagonist, Locke, is essentially a rogue. He is a criminal and a con man, but he does have a certain code and lines he will not cross. For the most part he comes across as extremely capable . . . except in his interactions with Sabetha. The author did a great job of making Locke tongue-tied and nervous around her. That said, I felt like his counter-moves were too reactionary. At times he seemed quite stupid and not at all his usual, high-functioning self. He proclaims several times that Sabetha is at least as clever as him and Jean, yet he gets caught off-guard when she makes the same or similar plays as him.

This book definitely focuses on world building. The cast of characters is limited to a small, necessary number, most of whom we've met at least by reputation in the previous two books. There was a lot of attention paid to details like the architecture of the magi city, available foods, people's accents, clothing, etc. There were also references made to other areas of the world, like a brewing war in a neighboring land, so that the story didn't exist in a vacuum but was part of a larger, interconnected world.

Language & Mechanics:
The book is written as parallel stories, past and present. In the story of the present, Locke and Jean have been hired by one faction of the magi to swing the results of an election. The opposing party has hired their former friend and Gentleman Bastard, Sabetha to tip the scales the other way. Locke finds himself faced with the dual goals of defeating Sabetha in the election and winning the heart of the girl who got away.
The second story is a tale about the young Gentleman Bastards, back when Sabetha was still a part of their group and Locke won her affections for the first time. The two stories mirrored each other beautifully, managing to be complete stories on their own while twining together in a meaningful way.
Lynch does a great job of writing right up to a tense moment, then switching stories, jumping between the past and present to keep the reader in suspense.

Parting thoughts:
As I mentioned in the overview, I didn't like the ending. Not because it wasn't a happily ever after, which I no longer expect for anyone in Lynch's world, but because I didn't find it particularly believable. I don't want to give any more than that away, so you'll just have to read the book and make your own decision.

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