This read.. terribly. I scarcely made it a few pages in before having to abandon its staccato phrasing, massive front-loading of characters and shalloThis read.. terribly. I scarcely made it a few pages in before having to abandon its staccato phrasing, massive front-loading of characters and shallow attempts at backstory.
Within a few minutes we go from a to-and-fro between the protagonist and her mother (a conversation which just seemed to be arranged in a confusing manner), to the introduction of a male character, and a handbrake turn into him attempting to strike the protagonist for no apparent reason. There's no build-up, no pacing, and the characters manage to flee the state to a relative's house in the space between chapters - but not before they've apparently shrugged off this attempted assault from someone they know. Next stop: 'edgy' swearing and "let's find incubi"!
Charming and (from what I can gather) very Swedish. In saying that, I mean that "Yaa haat-har Lawn-dawn" is a gently wry look at a moment in the artisCharming and (from what I can gather) very Swedish. In saying that, I mean that "Yaa haat-har Lawn-dawn" is a gently wry look at a moment in the artist's life, which happens to be focused upon London. I found it very relatable: at times unsettling, daunting, but also filled with the excitement which does seem to percolate through hostels. Honestly, I may simply be imposing my own rather stark memories of moving abroad and staying in a hostel upon the work, but the pacing and artwork felt evocative.
I also commend the book on its bilingual approach. The narration is given in English, as are all of the English-language conversations she had - but Swedish dialogue is translated in callouts below each strip, and there are pronunciation guides for the various town names. Although the dialogue is simplistic by design, it's nice to be able to switch minds like this, at points in Gustafsson's story where 'Swedishness' sits in starkest contrast to, say, live in Tower Hamlets.
The experience is rounded off for me by Gustafsson's art style, which is very clean, and quite alien in places. Most other characters in the story are depicted as large-mouthed, pupil-less caricatures who remain nevertheless humanoid. One might perhaps draw parallels to the puppets of "Avenue Q". The artist's avatar is an androgynous, long-snouted creature whose somewhat depressed look only contributes to the feeling of distance from this foreign city and the quirks of living out of hostels for a while....more
This is definitely as sequel, insofar as it lacks the novelty of book 1 and occasionally languishes in the aftermath of that book's events - but it doThis is definitely as sequel, insofar as it lacks the novelty of book 1 and occasionally languishes in the aftermath of that book's events - but it does this well, with a likeable protagonist and the author's continued penchant for threading local history and cultural quirks into the plotline. There's humour, deep-rooted and discomforting encounters, and a richness which does keep me invested in PC Grant's London. Sign me up for more....more
I wasn't entirely sure to expect, and nor am I entirely confident in my reflections upon the book, but I know this: I found it to be an enjoyable rompI wasn't entirely sure to expect, and nor am I entirely confident in my reflections upon the book, but I know this: I found it to be an enjoyable romp, despite some seemingly bizarre turns (a reflection of the central premise, perhaps?) and a lack of character. This was contrasted against a plot which explores some quite abrupt life events, and I think that the way the author dealt with these is what gave the book its unexpected charm. Nothing I've read before has attempted to deal with domestic abuse, alcoholism, attempted rape, the breakup of a family and a few other subsequent events which shall not be spoiled here.. all focused upon a young man who can teleport himself away in the blink of an eye.
The book doesn't spend much time at all exploring the fact this power comes at such an advantageous time, whereas some other texts might have slapped their protagonist into angsty monologues. Nor does it spend any time attempting to explain the root of this ability, which is simultaneously frustrating and refreshing. I only miss that because I expect it, but instead I find I must read on......more
One certainly couldn't accuse Scott Lynch of rushing an ending. As I approached the final chapter (which runs with a few staccato interludes for flavoOne certainly couldn't accuse Scott Lynch of rushing an ending. As I approached the final chapter (which runs with a few staccato interludes for flavour) I still had no idea how the main events of the book would pan out, in much the same fashion as "Republic"'s prequels. With that having been said, those prior books had much more going on to keep up the pace, with "Lies" in particular being quite the ride throughout.
"The Republic of Thieves" is a considerably lighter book, lacking any of the inspired scheming and plot-twists of its predecessors. Instead this third book in the series dwells at some length on the relationship between Locke and his estranged and hitherto mysterious love, Sabetha. Whilst I can't begrudge her as a character - engaging, competent and sultry - I began to tire of the middle stretch of this book, in which a lengthy chapter is devoted to a single conversation between her and our protagonist. In it, Locke seems to circle around to the same position three times, to an incredibly patient and outright dismissive Sabetha. Whilst it seems very much in character for Locke given how much of his time has been spent wallowing (another aspect of him which garners a surprising amount of focus earlier on in the book), that believability came at the unfortunate cost of my entertainment.
I am grateful for the many flashbacks we've now had, peering into the past lives of the Gentleman Bastards. That aspect of the book was handled very well, and really redeemed it for me. I only wish the 'present day' plot could have held its own in parallel, as it is a bizarre thing to be left wanting to know more about the play the Bastards were trying to put on, rather than the inner machinations of the (somewhat poorly-defined) Bondsmagi of Karthain....more