Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along, Week Five

After five weeks, it’s the final installment of the Red Seas Under Red Skies read-along.   At long last, we learn whether or not Jean is betraying Locke in the prologue or if it’s all just part of their elaborate plan.   The events come fast and furious this weeks, as do the twists and turn.  If you’ve not read the book and plan to do so, I will warn you there are SPOILERs ahead.

This week’s questions come from Lynn at Lynn’s Book blog.  And the read along is hosted by Andrea, aka The Little Red Reviewer.   If you want to see what others think of the final chapters and the book, she’ll have a ton of great links to other participants.

And so, here we go with the final installment…

1.       Oh my god, such a lot going on I thought the showdown between the Poison Orchid and the Sovereign was brilliantly written and they were holding their own until Utgar and his nasty device turned up.  Well a lot of you had kind of predicted it, and I suppose we’d been let off too easy so far in terms of deaths of well-liked characters  – but come on,  did you expect something like that?  And how on earth will Jean ever recover?

Looking back, I should have realized that there was little or no way that Ezri could or would make it out alive of the novel.  I guess the romantic part of me hoped that Jean might find a little happiness with her for a book or two before she shuffled off this mortal coil.   But it appears the rule from classic Star Trek is fully in play here–kiss one of the main cast members and you’ll either be beamed off the ship or killed before the final credits roll.  Of course, Jean is going to have his mourning doubled by losing Ezri and eventually Locke.

OK, so maybe I watch too much TV, but I kept getting echoes of the series finale of House as I read the final conversation between Jean and Locke.  It seemed to echo the end of that series and the final scenes in that show.

And yet, as surprised as I was that Locke would give up his own chance to save Jean, looking back on the whole novel it shouldn’t come as a huge shock.  Locke wanted to die in the beginning and it was only by Jean’s actions that kept him from dying in the beginning.   In terms of the series, it makes me wonder what Lynch has in store next…do we see Locke any in the next novel?  And will this make Jean hardened, rougher and maybe a bit like Locke in the long run?  To see his two close friends die can’t be easy nor something that future stories can or will ignore.

2.       The deceit, the betrayal, first Rodanov and then Colvard.  Even now I’m not entirely sure I understand Colvard – Rodanov was never keen on the oath but Colvard seemed okay with it all and yet in this final deceit she was more devious than Rodanov – what do you think was her motive?

Both of their motives seem to be a desire to be left alone and allowed to do things their way.  And in the end, they both achieved that.  Both of them were willing to do what it took in order to achieve it and that’s why I think the oath was taken.

3.       Merrain – such a puzzle, no real answer, the mysterious tattoo, the determination to kill everyone to keep her identity and that of her master a secret.  Does anybody have any ideas where she’s from and what she’s up to exactly and who the hell is she working for??

That is quite the dangling plot thread, isn’t it?   I can only assume that Lynch has a long term plan for Merrain and that we’ll see her again soon.  For now, I’m going to say she’s working for someone that Jean and Locke crossed in the first novel or during one of their earliest cons and who is out for some measure of long term revenge.

4.       Finally we get to the point of the GB’s latest scheme, all that elaborate planning for two years, fancy chairs, gambling, dust covered cards, abseiling lessons – all for one gigantic bluff. I loved the diversionary tactic here but having finally reached the end of the story and, more to the point, the end result – do you think the GB’s are as clever as they think they are?

I think their plan was clever enough, but in the end they weren’t aware of every possible nuance to it.  The point about the paintings being clever reproductions was a nice twist and it reminded me a bit of an article I read a while back and how it pertained to SPOILERs.   Basically, it says that with so much content out there for TV, movies and books that you can’t avoid SPOILERS for everything because there is no way you can read or watch it all.   In this case, Locke and Jean thought they had all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed, only to find out they missed one thing.  And so that’s two years for less return on the investment than they thought.  It’s interesting that the two try to console themselves that at least they made something and they’re disappointed that they didn’t get as much as they thought they could or should.

5.       I must admit that I liked Requin and Selendri – particularly at the end – I don’t think Requin will go after Locke and Jean, he was even sort of cool and composed about it all, in fact he came across as a bit pleased with himself because he had the last laugh.  Plenty of good characters this time which did you enjoy reading most about this time?

I have to admit that I liked Ezri a lot, if only because she allowed Jean to be happy for a bit.  He’s really had a lot of negative things thrown his way over the course of two books and while it ended tragically, at least he got to enjoy it for a while.

6.       Finally, a triple barrel question, I know I shouldn’t ask this BUT, on reflection do you have a favourite between LoLL or RSURS??  And why?  Are you going to pick up Republic of Thieves?  And, where do you think Lynch will take us to next??

While I enjoyed RSURS, I have to admit I enjoyed LoLL a bit more.  While I’ve enjoyed reading along and sharing answers with everyone over the course of the past five weeks, there were times in the middle of Red Seas that I felt like things were dragging out a bit or going in circles.   I can see that Lynch is world-building and character developing but in terms of pushing the narrative forward, I found myself getting a bit frustrated. It’s not so much that I wouldn’t recommend the book to others, but Lies was so relentless in barreling forward with developments, twists and turns that, in the end, I enjoyed it more.

As for the next installment, I plan to read it at some point.  It may not be right away but I’m curious to see how long after Red Seas it picks up and where we find Jean, both physically and emotionally.  Will he become more like Locke?  Will he rebuild the Bastards?  (I get the feeling he will since the the series is called The Gentlemen Bastards…kind of need a couple of more to make that a plural, don’t we?)  And will he be as clever in his schemes as Locke?

I think I said a few weeks ago that it would be interesting to see a scheme that failed for these two…and while this one didn’t exactly fail one hundred percent, it was far less successful.  I’m intrigued to see the impact.

And based on what I know about Lynch, I expect that he’ll create some new characters that I’ll come to like, only to see him kill them off or put them through the wringer physically and emotionally.

10 Comments

Filed under Read Along, Red Seas Under Red Skies

10 responses to “Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along, Week Five

  1. Oh my word, I never even considered that Locke might not live. In my own private little world we reach the next book with the two of them scheming away and then we have one of our little moments where we look back and somehow, somewhere, a remedy has been found!! How I can remain so optimisitic in the face of everything else that Lynch throws our way is a bit of a mystery.
    Lynn :D

  2. My thoughts exactly on Locke giving the antidote to Jean. I didn’t see it coming but once it happened, it seemed so obvious.
    Btw, I’m sure Locke will make it – I’m just wondering at how it’s going to happen.

    Btw, am I actually the only one who prefered RSURS to LOLL? Every post I read seemed to prefer LOLL.

    • No, I don’t think you’re on your own. I’m a bit on the fence and can’t make up my mind. First time reading LoLL won this hands down but I think it’s part of the novelty of a new world – Michael, I was twitterpated! (knew I’d find a use for that word). Second time reading of course it’s not got the same novelty value and so I suppose you’re judging both books in the same way. I really enjoyed RSURS a lot more this time round and I appreciated much more the real LOL moments.
      Lynn :D

  3. Pingback: Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along Finale « Darkcargo

  4. In #1, that is exactly what I was referring to as the “kiss of death” in my answers :). I couldn’t remember where the rule came from. In general, it seems like most continuing stories don’t feature successful romantic relationships. I guess having happy couples is seen as removing some necessary element of tension or trauma. I hadn’t even really considered that Locke might actually die of the poison. I hope that doesn’t happen!

  5. I didn’t see the antidote switcheroo coming. It’s the type of tricky exercise Locke would do. I think Locke will make it into the next book and begin rebuilding the Bastards. Perhaps this whole poison was just a ruse andif it isn’t, maybe some higher power will intervene…

  6. I think Locke will rebuild the Bastards. That’s one of the things that i’m anticipating the most from this series.

  7. Pingback: Final Red Seas Under Red Skies read along discussion « the Little Red Reviewer

  8. Hey, I still think that this whole poison business was bullshit and that mentioning it was enough to get them do what Stragos needed, so why actually bother making a real one? The old guy could have been paid by him to pretend he has the antidote and everything… I really don’t think Locke will die anytime soon, anyway.

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