Red Seas Under Red Skies Review: Blood on the Water

As we discussed last week, this book had a pretty badass cover. Now, it’s time to answer the really important question: how’s the actual book?

Well, it’s certainly wild. Not nearly as good as the first book in the trilogy. But it’s still a book well worth your time.

Having recovered from their losses in Kamore, Locke and Jeane are ready to pull of their next big heist. Unfortunately, after two years of preparation, their plan begins to go awry. Mysterious assassins go for their throats, the Bondsmagi appear to take their revenge, and powerful political figures poison our pair to manipulate them for their own ends. Worst of all, the two get sent out to sea with practically no nautical knowledge whatsoever! Can even the Gentleman Bastards, richer and cleverer than everyone else, survive this ordeal?

The story here is one hell of a rollercoaster! With twists at every turn, it constantly keeps you guessing all the way to the end! All the while, you’re treated to the series’ signature lovable asshole characters and delightfully crass dialogue. It’s a wonderful follow-up to ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ in almost every way!

Keyword being almost.

The first third of this book can be a bit tedious to get through. Chapter after chapter, you’re bombarded with long exposition scenes. Locke and Jeane ask questions, then the person they’re talking too delivers an incredibly long-winded answer. On and on it goes. The plot doesn’t really get started until they finally set sail.

Far more frustrating is the book’s primary plot twist. See, in the prologue, the book introduces a very strong hook before rewinding a few months to the actual beginning of the story. That hook was the main thing that kept me going through most of it. How was that situation going to be resolved?

And the answer could not have been less satisfying. Turns out, there was no crisis, no mystery whatsoever. A character just didn’t notice something important. That whole hook, the thing that the entire god damn book started with, was literally nothing at all! You could have cut it out of the story entirely and it wouldn’t have changed a thing!

Glaring issues aside, I still enjoyed most of my time with ‘Red Seas Under Red Skies.’ It’s a solid addition to the Gentleman Bastards series. While I didn’t quite like it as much as the first book, I can still wholeheartedly recommend it.

Hopefully the series can end on a high note. But that will have to wait for another day.

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