Well, this book fucked me up more than I expected. And here I thought that the first book was sad thanks to Scott Lynch destroying everything right at the end. You have the same thing here. So, I’m sad and I’m wondering how he’s going to get so many more books. But, Scott Lynch also finds a way to weave everything together in the end, so I have faith.
If I had to give a summary of it, I’d just say that it starts with a heart attack and ends with one, but I don’t think that’s specific enough. This book picks up a couple of years after the first book. Another heist, another shit storm that leads you from simply conning the rich — although, like usual, Locke decides to make his con far from simple — to a interwoven web of different cons that all tie into one another. There are pirates, guys. Lots of pirates. And, just so you know, you can’t resolve your beginning heart attack until basically the end of the book, only to be followed by more heart attacks.
And, just so you know, you can’t resolve your beginning heart attack until basically the end of the book. Along the way, there are other smaller ones. Then, the first heart attack is resolved and, after that, you have bigger heart attacks that cause much pain.
Am I not selling the book correctly? Damn. Maybe I’ll try another angle.
Lynch’s writing is as superb as usual. Yet, it has many different ranges. It can go from beautifully perceptive:
“As for history, we are living in its ruins. And as for biographies, we are living with the consequences of all the decisions ever made in them. I tend not to read them for pleasure. It’s not unlike carefully scrutinizing the map when one has already reached the destination.”
“Look for us in history books and you’ll find us in the margins. Look for us in legends, and you might just find us celebrated.”
“Anyone in command feigns ease when death is near. We do it for those around us, and we do it for ourselves. We do it because the sole alternative is to die cringing. The difference between an experienced leader and an untested one is that only the untested one is shocked at how well they can pretend when their hand is forced.”
“ I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once.”
“Ah,” said Locke. “Near as I can tell, that’s the definition of ‘family’ right there.”
To, well, vulgar and usually hilarious out of context:
“Any man can fart in a closed room and say that he commands the wind.”
“Maxilan, darling.” Locke raised one eyebrow and smiled. “I knew you were driven, but I had no idea you could smoulder. Come, take me now! Jean won’t mind; he’ll avert his eyes like a gentleman.”
“It was always impossible to put a price on making your enemy shit their breeches.”
“You’d have to take your shoes and breeches off to count to twenty-one!”
Have I not convinced you yet? Okay, let me try again. This time with the characters.
You have basically the same cast of characters as in the first book. Locke and Jean. Some noble person for a con who has someone by their side that will be perceptive of the situation while the noble person isn’t. Someone who throws a wrench Locke and Jean’s plans. It’s the same basic set up as the first book, something I worried about at first, yet it took such a twist that I loved it.
This book is where Lynch introduces a few new characters, namely Zamira and Ezri. Those are the two that stand out the most. Both are pirates, yet both take a very different role in the story.
Zamira is a black, single mother going on 30…. who is also a damned awesome pirate captain. I seriously would love to read more of her adventures, so I sincerely hope that there’s a spin-off series focusing on her. She’s mainly known for Lynch coming back at a fan who tried to say Zamira couldn’t be awesome because she’s black, a single mom, and thirty. But, seriously, she’s an amazing character. Strong and smart. Doesn’t bow under pressure and is harsh, yet extremely loving towards her loyal crew and her children.
Ezri is one of Zamira’s crew, mainly her right hand woman. She’s incredibly loyal towards Zamira throughout the book. My only qualm with her is that she was mainly the love interest for someone. Yes, unlike the first book, there is romance in this, although it didn’t feel awkwardly placed and wasn’t badly done. It was just that I wish Ezri could have been explored fully outside of the romance. She certainly wasn’t one sided, just I would have liked to see more sides of her.
What can I tell you to expect? Heart attacks, lots of feels, hilarious quotes, and great characters.