May. 23rd, 2009 09:24 am
greek_amazon: (Hedgehogs know a thing)
[personal profile] greek_amazon
So I've decided to start posting about the books I read. Mostly because, um, I want to. I'm just going to start where I am at the moment, which means, unfortunately, that I won't be talking about some of the fabulous books that I've read recently, like Corambis or Midnight Never Come. Anyway. I don't want to structure these like reviews, cause then I'll never keep doing them. Instead, meme-format is how I'll do them.

Just Finished?
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. (Fantasy)

Reason for Reading? It's the second book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence, following The Lies of Locke Lamora which was one of the most incredible books that I've read recently. Not reading the this book would have been a crime after enjoying Lies so much.

Was it Good? Fuck yes.

Why? These books are clever. They're not just pretending to be clever, either, which is a bad habit in books that (I suspect) occurs when the author isn't nearly as bright as the people he/she is writing for, these ones actually ARE clever. Red Seas has likable, well-written characters, who live in a beautifully developed world. It's got layers upon layers of things happening, and, much like real life, have scenes that are gut-wrenching, as well as scenes that are so hilarious one cannot help but laugh aloud. Plus the characters are my type of characters.

What's it about? It's about thieves - Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen again, as well as others that join the cast for this book. Thieves, pirates and politicians, really. It starts off with one of Jean and Locke's fabulous schemes, the pair of them trying to move on after the disasters in Lies. Eventually, there are pirates.
If you ever watch the bonus features on the Road to El Dorado DVD, one of the people describes that story as being like picking the characters Rozencrantz and Gildenstern and giving them their own story, rather than making them side characters. Something about them being more interesting than most main characters. Lies and Red Seas are like that, but instead of Rozencrantz and Gildenstern, it's Fagin, Dodger, and their little gang of mischief.

Who's your favourite character? Locke, who I also like to think of as the "main" character, even though Jean is just as "main".

Favourite secondary character Requin! Holy crap that guy is attractive.

Would you recommend this book to others? Yes. I think that quite a few people would enjoy Lies and Red Seas. That said, these books are not for people who do not fantasy - though, if you only like it sometimes, this would probably be on of the times that you do.
Maybe more importantly, these books are not for people who don't like to read. If you rarely read books longer than 200 pages and/or your idea of a complicated plot involves Hugh-Grant-movie-style love triangles, don't bother. These books are fairly hefty, and the plot can be twisty-turny: I suspect you'd lose the basic thread of it if you weren't paying full attention to the book. (Fortunately, Lynch makes it difficult NOT to pay full attention to the book.)

Anything Else? I find myself cackling at a lot of the interactions between Locke and Jean. Also, I adore the concept of the Crooked Warden. This book sees Jean gain a love interest, a love interest that, Gods above, I'd go for (good job Mr. Lynch! Love interests are often so... dull or annoying.) During this, we see Locke feeling, well, a little put off, even if he's also happy for Jean. I'm sure this is meant to be generally negative, but I found myself relating to Locke in those scenes more than I've directly related to a character in as long as I can remember. That maaaaaay make me a bad person.
Red Seas is one of several books that I've read recently - Corambis and Midnight Never Come to name a few, not mention a slew of books on the history of London - that have made me think of cities and places as characters in their own right. Not every book does this, of course, and I think I would be disturbed and put off were that the case. But when it's done well, as it is in Red Seas, I love the 'City as character' concept. Winnipeg (my city) I don't believe is the type of city that acts as a character, which may be why the concept is something fairly new to me. I've certainly been to cities that do fall into that category, however: Athens, Naplion, Ottawa, Victoria (and I'm led to believe that London and Los Angeles fit the bill as well. Thinking about the character of cities themselves is very interesting.

Up Next?
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. (Fantasy)

Why? Because I've been reading Sarah Monette's Livejournal. She often praises this book, and cites the character Alec as being being an early 'ancestor' of her character Felix Harrowgate. Further, she notes that this book was the first one she read that showed her that hetero-normativity need not occur in every made-up world.
I've been curious about it for some time, and so I ordered it off Amazon (for less than $3! @_@). Additionally, it's fairly short (only 319 pages), and, while it is part of a series, I don't *own* the next book(s) in the series, unlike some of the books of planning to read in the near future. That can make it a nice little "break" book.

Hopes? High, but not as high as they were going into Red Seas.

Want to know who's read this book before you? Yes please! And what you thought, if you want.
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