Lynch, Scott: (02) Red Seas Under Red Skies

Being on vacation is surprisingly tough on my reading plans. I didn’t have time to read Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies, which I’d really been looking forward to, until we’d been in Japan a week. I got a large chunk read on the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Kyoto to Shin-Yokohama; a bit more while doing laundry at a coin-op place; and the end early on an insomniac morning. These were not the best circumstances to be reading, but no matter the conditions, I think I would have been disappointed in Red Seas.

The book opens with—well, actually, it opens with a prologue that takes place a good long ways into the book, and which I find annoying. But it really opens with Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen in the middle of a complex plan to steal from a famous casino, two years after the end of Lies. Flashbacks show how they got there. These end about 200 pages in, or just after the plot takes a hard right turn into piracy, or more specifically, Locke and Jean having to become pirates.

My major disappointment is that the caper plot and the piracy plot aren’t integrated very well, or maybe not even at all. The caper plot ends up feeling almost unnecessary, certainly in relation to the amount of detail that’s given—not that the detail isn’t great inventive fun as would be expected in a sequel to Lies. My minor disappointment is that as soon as a major new character was introduced, I knew what that character’s arc would be. And while I fervently hoped that I was wrong and that annoying cliche would be averted, my hopes were not fulfilled.

I was pleased at some of the consequences from the last book, and am intrigued at some of the suggested consequences by this book. I’m not sure whether book two of seven is too early to start trying to spot long-term series goals, but I suspect ambitious things are in store. But this was piecemeal stuff, because I don’t feel that the book came together into a unified whole.

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