Warning: for those of you who have not been reading along, this post will contain major SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the book yet, please do so immediately, and then come back when you’re ready to scream because _________ just happened. I’ll also be posting a spoiler-free review of the book in the near future.
1. The Republic of Thieves: It’s the first and final performance! What did you think of the play? Were you entertained, or eager to get on with the rest of the story? Also, how do you feel about how the play fits in the novel, in terms of the story and the characters who play the parts?
Nothing like a corpse to add to the dramatic effect. I think that at times, the large blocks of text from the play were a bit much, but the play itself was central to understanding how Locke and the GBs became such fantastic actors. As I said in a previous post, they trade personas like you or I would change clothes. That takes skill, and that kind of skill isn’t something you’re just born with. The play was cast perfectly. Calo and Galdo made an awesome twin chorus, and Locke and Sabetha got to kiss on stage. How romantic!
2. The Other Performance: Of course, the GB and company had another important performance to get through—the one that ensures none of them end up hanged! What was your favorite part of this scheme? Do you agree with their plan for dealing with Moncraine’s treachery?
My favorite part was when the innkeeper was just like “Oh, you think I’ve never had to dispose of a body before?” That cracked me up. I agree with their plan for dealing with Moncraine, but I wish that Chains’ reaction when they got home would have been included in the book. Is Moncraine a good friend, or was he just an asshole that Chains’ was once acquainted with. Was this Chains’ revenge for having to put up with a house full of hormonal teenagers?
3. The Election: It seems Lovaris was indeed the final trick, and the election is over. Are you satisfied with how things turned out? Do you wish that the election had focused more on the political problems of Karthain, or are you satisfied with the mudslinging and pranks that went on between Locke and Sabetha?
The election wasn’t going to be focused on the political problems of Karthain, because Karthain really doesn’t have political problems. The town is controlled by the Bondsmagi, so the only political issues present are those which the Bondsmagi allow, and they’re more of a spectacle than a reality. The mudslinging and pranks were hilarious, and I was pleased with the way it ended. Locke and Sabetha are evenly matched enough that there can’t be a clear winner.
4. The War: Do you have any speculation on what specific issues might have escalated the two Bondsmagi factions rivalry into this kind of violence? What do you think the surviving Bondsmagi will do next, with all their gathered money and knowledge?
It goes back to what Patience said about the Bondsmagi being afraid of the fate of the Eldren. One side likely thinks that it’s superstitious drivel and is unconcerned about their actions. Meanwhile, Patience’s faction thinks they’re being irresponsible and are gonna wipe out all human magic with their reckless displays of power. I think the remaining Bondsmagi are gonna hole up for a while and keep their art secret.
5. Patience: Given the final revelation that Patience does hate Locke for what he did to the Falconer, what do you make of her behavior towards Locke throughout the book? Do you think her plan of vengeance is well suited to Locke? What do you make of the Black Amaranth story now, as well as the prophecy she threw on top?
I’m not sure what to think about Patience’s revelation. I don’t think the Bondsmagi would outright lie, but they might omit parts of a story. The prophecy is going to come back to haunt us in other books, especially as the Falconer is still alive. Remember also that Locke has a tendency toward going all emo when he’s left alone with his thoughts. The whole being-a-reincarnated-Bondsmage thing isn’t gonna sit well when that happens.
6. The Epilogue: Speaking of vengeance, do you think the Falconer’s vengeance against his mother was merited or excessively cruel, given the circumstances? On that note, how do you feel about the Falconer’s transformation and possible status as a continuing villain?
It was excessively cruel. I was eating when I read it for Chrissakes! (Note that in Scott Lynch novels, the time that I am eating something and the time that I read the most gruesome scenes coincide like clockwork. You all remember what happened to poor Nazca.) It was incredibly graphic, and highlights the fact that the Falconer is a horrible horrible person. I didn’t see a little paralytic coma stopping him though, and I’m not at all surprised that he came back.
7. Wrapping up: Thus ends the third book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence. How do you think it compares with the first two? In the end, do you prefer the Espara storyline or the Karthain storyline, or did you like them both equally?
I think this book was a lot less traumatic than the first two books in terms of favorite characters dying, but it also took the GB’s problems into the wider world. The first two books were build around specific events and schemes. This one, on the other hand, set up far-reaching problems that will continue throughout the rest of the series.
I enjoyed both storylines. Karthain was the more pressing one, and Espara was a nice break to spend time with old friends and to shed some light on how the different characters got to where they were today. They were such typical teenagers too! I loved that they weren’t always how they are now, and they went through the same difficult phases that anyone would.