Republic of Thieves Readalong, Weeks 3 & 4

I’ve been completely failing at staying caught up with readalongs lately.  Here are my responses to the discussion questions for weeks three and four of the Republic of Thieves readalong.

Week 3

Week 3’s questions are written by Lynn.

The election competition. Sabetha isn’t wasting any time throwing pranks at Locke and Jean. Mostly it seemed fairly harmless, or at least not overly serious, until they were kidnapped and put onto a ship and taken out to sea. What did you make of Sabetha’s latest plan? And what did you think about the way she executed it?

Sabetha’s plan was brilliant, even if it was a bit cold.  She knew Locke and Jean well enough to exploit their weaknesses, and they walked right into her trap.  However, I think she’s underestimating Locke and Jean’s determination, especially since the outcome of the election actually means something to them.  To her, it seems like more of a game, but after what happened with the Falconer, there’s no way that Locke and Jean are giving up anytime soon.  They intend to win.

During the escape overboard and Jean’s rather subtle nose dive into the water – I was curious about the lights Locke saw deep in the water when he was performing his rescue – Locke thought they looked different once he was under the waves which I suppose they would but he also had the feeling that he was being watched? Do you think this relates back to the Eldren or some other presence?

I suspect that Patience’s faction is indirectly involved with controlling the weather and/or currents to give Locke and Jean an advantage.  We already know that that’s within their power, and I think it’s subtle enough that it doesn’t violate the rules of the game.

Given that Locke hadn’t seen Sabetha for five years how did you think their first meeting together went (well, it wasn’t strictly speaking their first meeting of course – were you surprised that Jean and Locke hadn’t figured out that the woman pickpocket was Sabetha?) and also what did you make of Jean and Sabetha’s reaction to each other?

If Locke wasn’t thinking with his penis, Jean’s gut instinct could have prevented them from falling into Sabetha’s trap.  The pickpocket scene was amusing, and representative of the equally balanced game of cat-and-mouse that they’re playing.

So, the gang have arrived in Espara and already the plans have gone wrong through no fault of their own! Jail for a year plus lose a hand for slapping a noble?? What do you think of the justice system in Espara and how does this bode for the gang?

You would think that Moncraine would have known what to expect after presumably living in Espara for most of his life.  Aside from that, it means that the Bastards are royally screwed, since they did much worse than merely slapping someone.  We know that they make it out alive and intact, and I’d love to see exactly how they do it.

The acting company are finally coming together and we’re watching the gang as they try to read, act and grab the best parts – are you all ‘happy face’ with the whole theatre scenes or, sad face! Also, I can’t help feeling like this whole storyline is a step out of character for the gang. Any ideas of how it will play out??

I don’t find it to be out of place for the Bastards, in fact, I think it makes a lot of sense.  In the other two books, the elaborate schemes that the Bastards come up with rely heavily on acting.  Locke and Jean change personas and backstories as easily as you or I change our clothes.  They weren’t born knowing how to do that, and the theater scenes explain how they got so good.

We are also being introduced to a number of new characters, particularly Moncraine and Boulidazi. What are your first impressions of these two and the other new characters in the Company and any particular likes or dislikes so far?

Moncraine’s hubris and pride make him prone to depression and self-destruction.  Reminds me a bit of some characters we all know and love.  *wink*

Boulidazi is a sleazebag, and I don’t like the way he looks at Sabetha.

The rooftop scene and the apology. How did it all go so wrong? And how will Locke get out of this latest fix with Boulidazi?

Boulidazi is smarter than he lets on, and Locke and Sabetha underestimated him.  This is going to bite them in the ass.  One of the interesting parts of reading scenes like this is that we know that Locke and Sabetha both survive the encounter, so we get to speculate and puzzle without fearing for their lives.

Week 4

Week 4’s questions are written by Andrea.

We finally know why Sabetha dies her hair, and that’s so disturbing even the Thiefmaker under Shade’s Hill was disgusted by it. Too dark for this world? Or just right?

There had to be at least one scene in the book that was gruesome enough to make readers feel nauseous.  The Republic of Thieves seemed a bit more light-hearted than the first two books, but this scene emphasizes that the Bastards live in an incredibly cruel world, and shows just how lucky they are to have found a home with Chains.  Wow.

The “Asino” brothers are drunken idiots, but they’re not blind. What did you think of the little rendezvous they helped arrange for Sabetha and Locke?

It was adorable.  Boulidazi’s cock blocking was making life awkward for everything, and the smuggling room was the perfect opportunity for Locke and Sabetha to get some much needed time to themselves.  I also think it’s cute that Locke hasn’t slept with anyone else over the years and has been true to Sabetha, even though they weren’t together.

Locke managed to get everyone out of the Boulidazi mess we discussed last week . . . what do you think of this latest  Boulidazi complication?

I was so wrong about the Boulidazi parts.  I thought that he was going to see through their little charade and realize that they were actors, not nobles.  I didn’t think he’d be quite so rapey.  He more than deserved his demise, but it makes things a lot more difficult for everyone else.

Time is flying, and the election is getting closer. Desperation calls for cheap tricks. I think my favorite so far is Sabetha’s special roof guards. What’s your favorite election dirty trick so far?

I loved the roof guards as well.  They were awesome.  My other favorite had to be the snakes.  It was delightfully juvenile (and therefore hilarious).

There’s a mole in the Deep Roots. Was that person’s identity a surprise to you? And how did you like Locke’s method of identifying the person?

I’ve been guessing from the start that the drug addict was gonna end up a liability.  I was more surprised that it took Sabetha as long as it did to find him and exploit his weakness.  Locke’s method of identifying the culprit was brilliant as usual, but it took long enough that a lot of damage has already been done to his efforts (see the next question for more on that).

What’s so important about this Lovaris fellow? The election is right around the corner, so why introduce someone new so late in the game?

Since I accidentally stayed up till one in the morning finishing the book instead of writing my post, I know the answer to this one.  My thoughts at the time though… How embarrassing for Locke!  It must have been incredibly difficult for him not to show his frustration that Lovaris already knew what his plan was.  I felt like Jean was wasting his time trying again since Locke’s initial encounter with Lovaris was tainted by a mole, and I was puzzled by the importance they seemed to place on him.

It’s so nice that Locke and Sabetha can finally have some nice, normal dinner dates. He even cooks her dinner! But that sneaky Patience, always interrupting everything! Finally, she promises some answers. that’s nice. what, Locke is WHO? Locke is a WHAT? How much of it do you believe?

OMG OMG OMG.  My response was “What the flying fuck just happened?!”  Even after finishing the book, I’m not sure what her game is.  If she’s right about Locke, it complicates things, but at the same time, even if it’s true, Locke as he is now is a completely different person than the mage he once was.  He’s got a perfect mix of genius, insanity, and compassion (a quality which the Bondsmagi are severely lacking).  I’m inclined to think that there is some truth to Patience’s story, but that it’s not the entire truth.  Also, I’m really glad that Patience isn’t Locke’s mother.

Comments make me happy! Please feel free to leave a reply.

10 comments

  1. Everybody seems to be saying that they were surprised it took Locke quite a while to figure out that there was a mole in his operation but when you think about the schemes he’s running there’s so much going on that something has to stand out, a series of events go wrong, before something like that might cross someone’s mind and they decide on a course of action to deal with it. Plus you can bet that Sabetha was very delicate in the way she used information to make sure that the mole wouldn’t be rumbled.

  2. Everybody seems to be saying that they were surprised it took Locke quite a while to figure out that there was a mole in his operation but when you think about the schemes he’s running there’s so much going on that something has to stand out, a series of events go wrong, before something like that might cross someone’s mind and they decide on a course of action to deal with it. Plus you can bet that Sabetha was very delicate in the way she used information to make sure that the mole wouldn’t be rumbled.

    1. I was partially surprised because he seemed to suspect that Nikoros’ addiction could be a problem from the very beginning. Yes, he tried to circumvent it by forcing Nikoros to quit cold turkey, but if magic dust works the way earth drugs do, it was unlikely that he was going to break an addiction that easily.

  3. I like that you point out that in the Espara timeline, we know that the GBs survive whatever mess they will get into. So we get to relax a little and try to figure out just how they will do that.

    Yeah, I half expected Sabetha to have blackmailed Nikoros prior to the election fun really beginning, or even while the boys were out of town on their little voyage.

    1. That’s one of the things that I love about the flashbacks. It provides a break in the suspense to get to explore different characters’ reactions to a situation, and we can appreciate their cleverness and the mischief they get into without worrying that they’re gonna end up drowning in a barrel of piss.

  4. “What the flying fuck just happened?!”
    yes! that!!! epic brick shitting! I read that section like four times, and I was like “NO WAY!” just had to get that out of the waay first, because dude. holy shit.

    Boulidazi totally got what he deserved. Getting him out of the picture simplifies a lot of things (especially with Sabetha), but they are in super deep shit if anyone finds out. Well, Chains did send them out there to learn and grow and bond and whatnot, and being party to a murder is quite a bonding moment. Earlier in the Espara story, Sabetha explained to Locke that she was frustrated with how he takes everything for granted, and that she felt he replaced her at the Glass Cellar. She’s the one who finished off Boulidazi and got rid of his servant, I sure hope the rest of the boys gain more respect for her.

    1. Yes! I did not expect anything like that at all. I think it’s going to represent a change of tone for the rest of the series. So far, the adventures have been relatively small/contained, but now I think the GBs are gonna get wrapped up in a large scale with the rest of the world and it’s future. If it’s true, the Bondsmagi aren’t just gonna let Locke walk away, and if it’s not true, it’s still gonna impact the way he views himself.

      Boulidazi was a total sleazebag, and he deserved what was coming to him. There’s nothing like a dead body to add to the suspense of a play. 😛