Review: Red Seas Under Red Skies

887877Title: Red Seas Under Red Skies
Author: Scott Lynch
Genre: Fantasy, adult fiction

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, target 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.
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.

Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely loved the first book in this series, The Lies of Locke Lamora. It was that book that you pick up with high expectations that manners to shatter them anyway. It was incredibly clever, intelligent, moving, disturbing, and over all very entertaining. It is perhaps the most fun I've had reading a book in years.

So with that kind of standard, Red Seas had a lot to live up to.

I really liked this book, I promise! The 4.5 stars here would probably be a 5 star book in relation to other books, but this book was just the teeny tiniest bit below the level of the first one, so I had to knock it half a star.

Red Seas picks up a few years after Lies leaves off, with interludes explaining what happened in those missing few years. Jean and Locke are planning to rob the Sinspire, the most notoriously impregnable establishment in the area. It is run by the formidable Requin, a man who takes fingers before he stops to ask questions. Matters get slightly complicated when unexpected forces intervene, leaving Locke and Jean caught between two equally formidable masters and an unpredictable third force. How can the Gentlemen Bastards outwit all of these foes, and at what cost?

This book was just as entertaining as the first book, but I was slightly disappointed that it wasn't as big on the heists. I know that series have to grow and change as they go on, but it seemed very disjoint to go from cons and battles with the Capa to pirates. I did really like the entire pirate crew though! Zamira and Ezri are incredible women, and they are definitely not just token female characters. The pirating got a little stereotypical, sure, but the characters certainly did not.

I think what keeps me hooked to this series is how much the characters care for each other. I know Locke and Jean will always have each others' backs (at least I hope they will... there were a few moments where that came into question!), and I love reading about their friendship. At the end of the day, it's not really about the heists at all - it's about these characters, and I love them to pieces.

I also really like how unpredictable and adrenaline-filled this series is. Things keep happening to complicate the situation, and not every plan goes the way it's supposed to. There aren't shocking twists thrown in for the sake of it - the entire book is just one big maze, and you never know what direction you're headed.

Even if I wasn't quite as charmed with this book as the previous one, it was still incredible, and I highly recommend this series!

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