Red Seas Under Red Skies, by Scott Lynch
If you haven't read the first book, The Lies of Lock Lamora, read that first.
Does this second installment live up to the first?
In a way, yes, but in another way...it was a bit disappointing.
The Blub and Nothing But the Blurb
Initially poised to rob the Sinspire, the notoriously thief-proof casino where the penalty for cheating is death, Locke and his partner, Jean, are unwillingly sidetracked into joining and then leading a pirate crew, swindling their way across the sea as they had previously done on land.My General Feeling
I know Mr. Lynch has had some illness to deal with, which is why, although the second book proclaims(!) the third installment will be in 2009(!)...alas, it's due out this year. (Or maybe it's out already. I'll have to check that.)
Anyway, my general feeling is that this is a bridge to the third book. Have you ever read a trilogy - or series - where one book is all set up for the next book?
This is not that type of book. (Gotcha!)
No, this isn't all set up. There's plenty of action, on pirate ships, on far away islands, all that. But at times, it felt very disjointed to me, as if Mr. Lynch was trying to come up with ideas to fill this book. Again, the pirate angle is a personal fave of mine, so I didn't mind Locke and Jean being hooked into a pirate escapade, as much as it made me scratch my head as to why. (I know you have to suspend disbelief for fiction, but sometimes that disbelief is stretched too far.)
That said, I did enjoy the pirate stuff, especially as it introduced a female swashbuckling captain (with two kids in tow, yet!), and a love interest for Jean, Ezri. I won't say what happens to the two love birds, but when the story came to a certain point...I wasn't expecting it.
However, the ending seemed forced to me, as if Mr. Lynch had to quickly tie up some loose ends. I mean, it was fun, in all its cursing glory (and there's plenty of that; wouldn't be a Scott Lynch book without major cursing, lol), but certain coincidences had to happen...and certain things had to occur to Locke and Jean...just sayin'.
Look, coincindences in books usually don't annoy me, but for some reason, they did in this book. Maybe because I wasn't expecting them. Maybe because I expected the book to be a little longer than it was to tie up those loose ends.
Pretty funny to say I wish a 700 page book was longer, hmm?
I give this a C. It's possible Mr. Lynch was already feeling his illness and was on deadline to get this done, which means he had to wrap up things in a hurry. Or it may just be me. Or maybe it's the sophomore jinx.
No way to know for sure.
Is this book worth it? Yeah, I still had a blast reading about Locke and Jean's adventures, even if they went off on a tangent that didn't completely make sense. Worth a read, if you can find it at the library.
But read the first book before tackling this one.
A handful of dark moments clash uncomfortably with the overall devil-may-care atmosphere. Most frustrating of all is the handling of key secondary character Ezri Delmastro, who shines too briefly as an energetic romantic interest for Jean.