BLURB – After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, ﬂed the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long — and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.
This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine ﬂoors attract the wealthiest clientele — and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior… and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.
Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine ﬂoors… straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb — until they are closer to the spoils than ever.
But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough…
Well I feel like a douche for this rating. Especially since I rated the first book a solid five out of five stars and can be quoted as “willing to bare-knuckle fight in a mud pit anyone who said that Scott Lynch wasn’t a fantastic fucking author.”
But to be fair, I would still back that up. I ADORED Gentlemen Bastards #1. Still do in fact, but this one just fell a little flat for me.
If I was rating this solely on writing style, story telling ability, character and world building/progression, it would get five out of five stars again. It was the story itself that left a lot to be desired.
We start out two years after the ending of the first novel, although it jumps back and forth between directly after the ending of Lies and what the pair are up to now. Jean and Locke are attempting to rebuild their lives after losing their closest friends. Locke has given up and could care less what happens to him, but Jean won’t allow him to wallow in his self pity. The best way to get Locke out of a funk? Plan a big heist. What is more invigorating to the soul than stealing from the fabulously wealthy?
Two years into the making however, a very large knot in the plan develops. Jean and Locke have made some very powerful enemies, the Bondsmagi and they have given over their identities to another powerful man in the new town they intend to rob blind. Stragos. Who poisons them and forces them to work for him for the antidote to stay alive and needs them to start a war between pirates and the good people of Tal Verrar. Just another day in the life of the Gentlemen Bastards.
Here is where it began to lose me because the story becomes How to Sail a Ship. For far longer than I thought possible we are dragged through learning how to sail a ship with Jean and Locke. What seemed like every friggin’ detail. Then when anything happened ship related, we were treated to several paragraphs of describing how to do what needed to be done in order for the ship to do the desired thing. It became tedious and more than a little bit annoying. I probably shouldn’t be grumpy because it taught me more than I previously knew about ships but dear lord, I just could not do it anymore.
Douche. I know. Despite this, I would definitely still read the next installment. The characters, writing, world-building and over all story line are just too good to pass up. I’ll just consider this a bump in the road to the rest of the story.
Check out the rest of the series, and book 4
The Thorn of Emberlain is out later this year (Provisionally September)
Review originally posted by Hybrid on her Goodreads account