Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was brilliant fun. Absolutely loved the ride. I enjoyed the The Lies of Locke Lamora, but I feel like Lynch really hit his stride in this book. I enjoyed the plot of Red Seas so much more than Lies. The cause of that enjoyment stems from one word--pirates! I never knew that I loved pirates and pirate stories. This book opened my eyes and now I am searching for more books that will give me a similar feel.
The characters were fleshed out well. I loved Zamira and her first mate. Almost every character on the ship was lovable and after a while I felt like I knew them--like I was part of the crew. The antagonists felt sufficiently malicious. They were doing things for their own gain and I hated them for it.
At times, the tension was thick and I couldn't stop reading because I had to see how ol' Locke and Jean would get out of this one. But then there were times when the tension wasn't heavy enough. The second pirate battle felt like that. Like Lynch dropped a Deus Ex Machina so we could just move on. I was expecting that fight to be much bigger than it was. Although the results of that battle were far reaching and a major difficulty for the characters.
Now, this is a fantasy books and while I love me a good book with a map, sometimes fantasy authors are not the most beautiful writers. Jordan cannot turn a phrase like James Joyce or William Faulkner, and some readers would say that that isn't the point to the fantasy genre. But, I'm a bit of a book snob. One has to be when you teach AP Literature and Composition as long as I have--when you are surrounded by the best writers our world has to offer. But I have to admit, Lynch is a great writer. I found myself, on more than one occasion, highlighting lines because they were beautifully written. We need more fantasy authors like this. More that can tell a good, riveting story (about pirates) and give us beautiful sentences that leave the reader thinking. For example: "It was a red moment, all the world from sea to sky the color of a darkening rose petal, of a drop of blood not yet dry." Holy crap! This sentence! This! Such a perfect, beautiful image.
I most certainly will be reading The Republic of Thieves, but not right away. It is such a rare occurrence to find an author like this. I want to savor these books.
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