GENTLE READER: DO NOT CONTINUE READING UNLESS YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE MAJOR SPOILERS, TOLD THROUGH EXCESSIVE CURSING AND EMOTIONAL VOMITING IN THE FORM OF A BLOG POST BOOK REVIEW.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Holy fucking shit.
I’m sorry for the spoiler-filled review, but no one else I personally know has read this book and ranting to people who don’t understand and haven’t gone through this emotional ripping-out-my-heart-and-forcing-me-to-watch-it-bleed that is the ending of Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch makes it difficult to talk about, so I’m forced to vent here to at least process these emotions and I can’t do that without expressing the obvious.
You killed her.
Yes, Mr. Lynch, I have to address you directly here, though I know the chances of you actually reading this review are about the same as Jean and Locke ripping off both Stragos and Requin successfully, yet I just feel like this has sort of become personal, almost, so I must address you?* Because you killed her.
I mean, of course I knew this was coming, but I dared to hope, you know? As the first flirtations between Jean and Ezri were introduced, I was already cheering for them. After that back-and-forth banter of them arguing fighting tactics and the quoting of different poets, I knew. When the romance finally blossomed, I was all abroad. I was completely and totally invested. I dared to hope. I dared to trust that, as the schemes became more complicated, as the betrayals began to rain in, as the plot continued to thicken and thicken and thicken, I dared to believe that there was an ending where both Jean and Ezri made it out alive.
And you ripped that hope away through fire.
“Gods damn you, Jean Tannen. You make this…you make it so hard.”
How freakin’ could you.
Of course, I wanted Locke and Jean to pull off their scheme. I wanted them to take down Stragos and completely blow Requin’s mind. Especially after Locke and his crew blew my mind in The Lies of Locke Lamora–and my heart was completely stilled at the deaths of Calo, Galdo and Bug. But then the stakes here, in Tal Verrar, made their schemes in Camorr seem like child’s play. I wanted them to succeed and I was shaking my head in complete awe at how they managed it.
Yet I would have traded all that success for Ezri’s life back.
I’m not sure what it was about her relationship with Jean that invested me to the point where I definitely almost started crying at her death and then I was covered in chills when Jean made his death-offering. I can’t explain why their relationship was so important to me, but it was. And damn if I’m not pissed that it’s over, that she was taken away from him and because of what? Fucking Utgar? Utgar?
As a reader, I am completely and utterly heartbroken right now.**
But as a writer?
All I can do is applaud.
In my review of The Lies of Locke Lamora, I made it pretty clear that that novel is one of my favorite books of all time. Might be the favorite book, after Tolkien. (I’ll also have you note that, in that review, I was also begging the, “How could you,” question at Lynch, so there seems to be a trend starting…) So my expectations were the highest for the sequel. And every single one of them was matched, if not exceeded.
Red Seas Under Red Skies was an excellent sequel.
I will forever adore the way Lynch writes, his interweaving of history and backstory and worldbuilding and plot, twisting through time and events to deliver each piece of information and each bit of action so expertly, to pack the highest punch (I mean, look at how the book started? My heart dropped before I was even five pages in). I love Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen. The humor was amazing and the banter was fantastic and their friendship is incredible. I laughed aloud prolly an equal amount to the number of times I almost threw the book across the room in complete and utter frustration at either what was happening, what was about to happen, or, in a very weird and backwards sense, in a sign of utmost respect and awe at what just happened. The time the pair spent aboard the Poison Orchid was my favorite bit of the entire book. I was so entranced by Drakasha and her crew that, if Jean and Locke became permanent members of their crew and the rest of the books followed their adventures as pirates, I would be completely and utterly content.
You know, after a certain character’s death was erased and she was back aboard as first mate, her entire body whole and intact and most certainly not burnt to a crisp to the point of unrecognition.
Needless to say, I’ll be in a bit of a book hangover for a while. I already own the third book–and after reading that synopsis, I have a feeling my third review of Lynch’s work is going to follow very closely in the vein of the first two–but I think I need to read some other books that (hopefully) won’t cause me to be so…wrecked, afterwards.
Because fucking hell.
* Hey, I know it happened, but the chances of their scheme actually working was really slim, you gotta admit that.
** Some of you may be thinking, This is a bit dramatic of a response, Nicole, don’t you think? If you do, then you obviously haven’t read a book before. And you definitely haven’t reach Scott Lynch.