Previous in the series: Red Seas Under Red Skies.
I have so many thoughts about The Republic of Thieves that I honestly don’t know where to begin! Everything I said about The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies still applies. These books might as well have been written specifically for me. They have con artists, pirates, theatrical troupes and a steadfast, loyal companion who will always be one of my favourite characters in anything ever. (I even started writing a parody song about him, which I may post if I ever get it finished.)
As in the first two books, I am a huge, huge fan of all the flashbacks to Locke’s younger days. It’s impossible to say that any one book has my favourite set of them, because I love them all, but I do absolutely love what we see of Sabetha in The Republic of Thieves. As Locke’s love interest, she had a lot to live up to, but she more than surpassed my expectations. There’s nothing simple or uncomplicated about Sabetha and yet, unlike some love interests I could name, she speaks plainly to Locke – both about her feelings and about their arguments.
“Let’s be obvious, me brute, you weasel.”The Republic of Thieves, Scott Lynch
“Agreed. You brute, me charming mastermind. But there’s no sense in setting things too taut before we even know who we’re dealing with. Be a brute that plays nice until provoked.”
“So we’re not actually playing characters at all, then?”
I adore that they argue. It makes the relationship feel so much more real. A lot of what I love about it is the same as what I love about seeing Locke and Jean together. They know each other well to make each other miserable, and yet they’re still both trying to make things right. It feels a lot more adult than some fantasy relationships, and I think Sabetha has a lot to do with that.
Similarly, Locke and Jean talk about some pretty complex topics in The Republic of Thieves. They have a genuinely rational, erudite conversation about religious symbolism and nightmares. It’s conversations like that which allow me to maintain my faith in Scott Lynch. Even when he hints at some things I’m not the biggest fan of…
Which brings me to spoiler-territory! There is simply no point reviewing this book without talking about the big, potentially series-changing twist that happens. Consider yourself warned!