This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele-and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.
Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb-until they are closer to the spoils than ever. But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough.
D.G.’s Rating: 4.5 skulls (A-)
Crooked Warden! But there was some action in this book: pirate raids, fights at sea, prison breaks, a mutiny, vengeance, rappelling down cliffs and buildings, fights to the death, cheating at cards, double crossings, deceptions, schemes and everything you would expect out of the Gentlemen Bastards, all spiced with a healthy dose of humor, staggering violence and lots of style. Plus we got to see the depths of Locke’s and Jean’s relationship and how much they mean to each other.
There was so much danger that at every turn I feared Locke would be embraced by the Lady of the Long Silence but alas, Jean was at his back to break necks and take care of business. One of the things I like most about this series is that Locke is not a good fighter. In a fantasy world full of monsters and REALLY SCARY PEOPLE, Locke wins the day with his brain, resourcefulness, glib tongue and amazing acting skills. Not that they got everything they wanted at the end. Like the last book, there was some loss and heartbreak.
There aren’t many women in this series but the few ones that show up are just FRIGHTENING. Women are not dismissed because of their gender and there’s a great feeling of equality because they are treated like any man; they are portrayed as competent, tough, and just overall badasses. I would be scared to death to meet any of these women in a dark alley.
I had several slight problems with the story but my biggest disappointment was one of the things that didn’t work out at the end. I know they should be happy to alive with all their limbs but after all that trouble!
Something important that drives the story is not resolved (don’t read the description of book #3 if you don’t want to know what it is.) That didn’t bother me but some people may consider it a cliffhanger. If you want to read the book, I wouldn’t let that deter you because as of today there’s not a publication date for The Republic of Thieves (book #3) and given that this series is not a trilogy and the author has had some personal problems, there’s no guarantee that “Thieves” wouldn’t end up with similarly unresolved issues.
Michael Page was simply masterful with the narration. It took me a while to get used to his voice in the first book but as the series is full of men, his gravely voice is really an asset. It’s amazing how he has such two different voices for Locke and Jean, and how he’s able to portray Locke’s emotions when he’s really feeling them and when he’s pretending. He has this panache even pronouncing the section numbers that tells you that you can’t wait to hear what’s coming up next. I really, really hope he continues narrating the series when we finally get the rest of the books.
Series Reading Order:
1. The Lies of Locke Lamora
2. Red Seas Under Red Skies
3. The Republic of Thieves (yet to be released)
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