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Quick book review
Just a quick book review; there are many, many more coming if I ever get back up to speed. *looks in despair at enormous piles of books, both read and unread* Red Seas Under Red Skies, Scott Lynch
This is the direct sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora
, and one of those you really can’t summarize because doing so would give away too much about the first book. Suffice it to say that it does continue the adventures of Locke Lamora, master thief, in a far different setting than the previous book—in fact, settings
, since he also becomes a pirate. If you read the first book for the thrilling detail behind the larceny plots, there is no drop in quality at all; in fact, I think this one is slightly better as far as that goes.
Alas, for me it was a disappointment. I think Locke is on the verge of becoming the lovable rogue archetype. He smashes threats too easily. At one point in the book, there is what looks like it will be a complicated problem for Locke, because for the first time he’s really thinking about the morality he’s ignored. And then the complicated problem turns out to have a simple solution. Um, no. It’s akin to having the hero “solve poverty” by taking the throne.
Also, I just can’t buy the idea of Locke as a Robin Hood, which is supposedly part of the appeal of the books. First of all, he doesn’t
steal money from the rich and give it to the poor; he steals money from the rich and keeps it for himself. That’s a rather important distinction. Second, I don’t care if he was born in one of the poorest parts of his own city; he’s been raised and trained to be essentially a nobleman. So he has all kinds of advantages that other people around him don’t have. At several points in the story, despite the danger threatening Locke, I was rolling my eyes because so much
of the danger was a result of his own actions that I couldn't truly pity him. Locke wasn’t someone forced into defending himself from an enemy who attacked out of the blue, the way he was in the first book. He made
enemies. On purpose. Excuse me if I don’t think that their striking back is really unjustified, and if the “straight white privileged male angst about reasonable consequences” is getting a bit boring.
Tags: book reviews
|Date:||October 3rd, 2007 11:03 pm (UTC)|| |
I don't think that Locke has ever been set up as a Robin Hood type character. Gentleman thief, maybe, but his deeds have only ever been noble if they can help him or his immediate circle of friends. The city of Opak-Re (where they're hiding now) (well not really but...) could be falling into the ocean due to some malevolent tinkering courtesy of the bondsmagi and he would be doing his damnedest to find a way out of town before things really went south....
...unless, of course, those same bondsmagi have his friend (drawing a blank, long day at work) in peril, in which case there'll be hell to pay and, oh yeah, the city might be saved too.
He's a reluctant hero at best. Further, he's a reluctant hero who has occasionally bought into his own press, which is why he's shocked to be threatened. He's the Thorn of Camorr, dammit! How dare this aristo see through his cunning plan to...
I never pitied him. Feared for his life, because he's a damnably cheer-worthy rogue, but never felt sorry for his lot.
[srallen on LJ]
It's reviewers who compared him to Robin Hood. And in the first book, where he has more of a community, there are moments he resembles that. But not here.
As for not being noble, the big appeal of a lovable rogue depends on never examining the morality of his deeds too closely, or assuming that because his victims are rich, they deserve everything he does to them. That also brings in the Robin Hood vibe. But then, if they deserve to be attacked because they're rich, why doesn't Locke deserve to be attacked for being rich?
"You know, it's all very sweet; stealing from the rich, selling to the poor..."
-- Wash, 'Firefly'
I also found RSURS to be less enjoyable overall than LLL. I'm not entirely sure why...I suppose it seemed too episodic and incohesive or something. LLL had a fairly linear story, with one (big, messy) complication to resolve; but RSURS sort of lurched from one complication (the robbery of the tower) to another only marginally related complication (wherein Locke and Jean decide to join the Pirates of the Caribbean).
Anyway, I found a couple of books recently you might like, if you haven't already read them: "Mistborn", and "The Well of Ascension", both by Brandon Sanderson. They are parts one and two of a trilogy due to be completed next year (though the first book is essentially a self-contained novel in itself, with a very satisfying ending). The entire time I was reading them I was strongly reminded of several past Limyaaelian rants.
I've heard the episodic complaint from several other reviewers, as well. Oddly, I think it helped that I read the book over many small sittings, so my reading seemed to match its pace.
I have Elantris by Sanderson, and am going to read that first. After that, depending on how well I like it, I might try the others.
I thought Elantris was ok, especially for a debut novel. But, in my opinion, it's not Sanderson's best work.
Oh man. H8 "straight white privileged male angst about reasonable consequences". (Even though that's Siddharsvara to the jot and tittle.) (But he's on purpose.)
As for your getting up to reading speed, I can't imagine how mid-terms, working on post-graduate work, and teaching bonehead plagiarists is possibly affecting your free time! NO IDEA.
... I do hope that you get some free time, though; you've always seemed happiest to me when you have some time to let your mind wallow in words.
In the first book, Locke is attacked by enemies he never expected, so I thought his angst had good reason. Here, it's just...okay, how do you not expect to be trapped in a bad position when you've deliberately screwed around with the powerful of the city?
I'm a little freer now; I've finally worked out a system where I alternate the writing with other things, and that helps.
|Date:||October 16th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC)|| |
Another Scifi Book by Le Guin
This is a bit off topic, but if you want another good scifi book to read, The Dispossessed by Le Guin is another good one to try. I haven't finished it yet, but the parts I have read are really interesting and engaging. I don't know if InsaneJournal lets you whether you have comments or not so that's why I put here instead of the older scifi poll entry.
I haven't read The Lies of Locke Lamora or the sequel, but judging by your review they're really not my type of thing. I'm just not into rogue stories. It takes a lot to make me empathize with a criminal.
On the other hand, I read The Privilege of the Sword and Swordspoint and I liked them both. I liked The Privilege of the Sword so much that I bought it. I never would have read either book unless you had recommended them so thanks for recommending them. I've also gotten into A Song of Ice and Fire too, thanks to your recommendations.
I also read the first book of The Belgariad by Eddings, just to see if it was as cliche as you said it was. Going from Martin and Kushner to Eddings was...interesting to say the least. Lets just say I won't read the second book.
Wow, that went on longer than I thought it would.
|Date:||October 16th, 2007 10:22 am (UTC)|| |
Do you think you could do a book review on 'The Silver Crown' by Robert C. O'Brien? A friend recomended it, but I'm not sure if I should read it...
|Date:||October 20th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)|| |
I really don't see how "straight white privileged male angst about reasonable consequences" is any worse than "black privileged lesbian angst about reasonable consequences", particularly in a fantasy universe.
|Date:||November 3rd, 2007 04:40 pm (UTC)|| |
Perhaps because one is seen more than the other, but they can both be fairly terrible. Easy categories to fall into, though.
That doesn't mean I didn't have the "squick" moment when reading the phrase. Lim always has some interesting things to say, but reading said phrase sort of tuned me out for the rest of the review.
Which is to say, that's my own reaction. It has nothing to do with my opinion, your opinion, or Lim's being right or wrong. Just that they exist. :D
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