I got a bit behind on my read-along reading last week. So, while others all across the book blog-o-sphere were posting about chapters 11-13 of Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies on Saturday, I was sitting on the sidelines, not reading the posts as they came up in my reader because I didn’t want to SPOIL myself on what was to come.
Finally, I was able to get enough time to read the chapters and now am finally able to respond to this week’s questions, which come to us courtesy of Nrlymrtl from Dark Cargo. The read-along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and if you’d like to see what other have said, you can find a list of those participating on her site.
1) I was much relieved when Jean and Locke made up, which started with Locke’s gesture of a cup full of honesty with Cpt. Drakasha. Do you think that was hard for Locke? Or was he using this bit of honesty like any other weapon in his arsenal to get what he wants in the end?
“Truth is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” I think Locke felt like he’s exhausted all his other options and lies, so why not try the truth? I’m not sure how difficult it was for Locke because even when he’s being honest, you have to wonder just how honest is he being? Is he telling the whole truth or just enough to win Drashka over to his cause.
2) The Parlor Passage: We still don’t know Locke’s true name, but whatever was in that mist does. What do you think it is?
3) There was an interesting section of the book that started about where Locke assisted Drakasha in selling the Red Messenger; he put on the persona of Leocanto Kosta and used the alias Tavras Callas and then Drakasha was still thinking of him as Ravelle….. Did using all those various aliases in such a short amount of time have your mind spinning a little? Do you think Lynch did this on purpose to give the reader a sense of Locke’s mind?
If Locke’s goal is to try and confuse his enemies, he’s doing a good job. I don’t see how he keeps up with the various identities he assumes in the course of the novel, much less changing them so readily. Really, the guy changes identities more often than some of us change shirts. But it probably does give us some insight into how Locke’s mind works. He’s a chameleon and always adapting to every situation.
Every time I read about the various identities Locke is putting on, part of me thinks there has to be a scene right out of a sitcom where Locke is confronted by two people at the same time, but under two different identities. Would Locke allow that to happen or would circumstances conspire for this to occur? It could. Locke’s good but he can’t foresee every possible encounter.
4) That was a sweet little kiss between Cpt. Zamira and Cpt. Jaffrim at the end of the Captains’ Council. Do you think they have some history, or is it just innocent flirting that’s been going on for some time?
It could be a bit of both. Perhaps a history of flirting and then this kiss. Or mayhaps it’s being done to plant a seed in the minds of others (and us the reader) for later.
5) Jean and Ezri. Cue dove-cooing and little winged hearts with sparkles. Do you think Jean will stay with the Poison Orchid or that Ezri will leave her ship to pal around with Jean and Locke?
One of the criticisms often lobbied at sci-fi and fantasy is that certain writers can’t write romance and/or sex scenes. For example, Kim Stanley Robinson in the Mars trilogy. Those are some of the most painfully stilted and cold romantic sequences and sex scenes to ever be put to the printed page.
The same can’t be said about Scott Lynch who has not only made the Jean and Ezri romance a solid one, but it’s an earned one. It goes along with what we know of Jean as a character and we’re given enough of Ezri’s story that we can see why this attraction is happening and how its developing. And while Lynch isn’t exactly burning up the pages ala the torrid romance novels, the scenes as Ezri and Jean dance toward and become intimate are tinged with just enough to make them sexy but they’re not over the top, clinical or they tell too much. Lynch leaves things to the reader’s imagination (and I’m sure there’s some fan-fic out there that details everything).
6) What is Utgar up to? What are his motivations?
I get the feeling he’s motivated only by money. Or that he’s meant to be a reflection of what Locke could be without the training for Chains, Jean’s friendship and the Bastards.
7) So last week we hashed over that Merrain killed some of Stragos’s guards on Windward Rock. But when Jean and Locke visit him, he doesn’t mention it. What is up with that?
I think it’s all part of an elaborate trap for Locke and Jean.
8) This week’s section left us where the book began – Jean pointing a crossbow at Locke’s throat. Do you think Jean knows who sent these crossbowers? Is he on their side? Is it a clever ploy to get him and Locke out of this predicament? Did you find it excruciatingly hard to stop here?
That could be the one good part about being behind…I don’t have to wait long to finish reading and find out what happens next! Of course, this is the penultimate section of the read-along so I suppose I could be forgiven if I kept on going.
As for the predicament, we’ve seen how we got this crossroads but we still don’t know Jean’s true motivation or if it’s real or part of the plan. I wonder if this is Jean choosing Ezri over Locke or trying to distance himself from Locke and his plan for the sake of Ezri. Love and lust are a powerful motivating force.