Reading Level: Adult
Size: 672 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Gentlemen Bastards series
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 5/5 stars
This is the third book in the Gentleman Bastards series and man has it been a long time coming. This book has been delayed so many times that I had kind of given up on it ever coming out. However, it was worth the wait. It is very cleverly done and I really really enjoyed reading it.
This book was kind of like two books in one. The main part of the book is in the current day and deals with Locke and Jean and their recovery from dealing with the Falconer. Locke has been poisoned and is clearly dying and Jean is desperately trying to find someone who can help cure him with little success. Then the Bondmagi Patience shows up and offers to cure Locke if him and Jean promise to help her faction compete in a political game of sorts. Then Locke finds out that his opponent in these games of politics will be none other than the mysterious Sabetha that we continually hear about.
The second book is woven into the above story as sections called Interludes. These Interludes alternate with the current day chapters and comprise about half of the book. The Interludes tell more of Locke’s backstory. They start when he is very young and first meets Sabetha and continue on to the story of how Chains formed the Gentlemen Bastards. The story then continues to when they are all young adults (Jean, Locke, Sabetha, and the twins) and are sent to a different city to pose as thespians who are performing the play “The Republic of Thieves” in an effort to save the career of a playwright who is Chains’ friend.
We finally get to meet Sabetha! This whole book is basically the story of how she and Locke meet and how their relationship progresses over the years. Sabetha is a force to be reckoned with. She is smart, daring, and cunning. Some of her past still remains a mystery throughout the story. However we learn quite a bit about why she is troubled over her relationship with Locke and why she has such conflicted opinions about him.
Locke is almost disturbingly focused on his obsession with Sabetha, it is both endearing and a bit creepy how much Locke wants to please her and what he will go through to keep her in his life.
Of course all of the above drama between Locke and Sabetha is woven with a complicated political game in which Locke/Jean and Sabetha are pitted against each other and supporting opposing political parties. All of the political games end up being yet another distraction for a larger scheme involving the Bondsmagi. It is all very cleverly done and there are layers upon layers of deceit.
The writing is absolutely top notch. The descriptions are wonderful and the characters incredibly engaging. There are a number of laugh out loud moments and some heartbreaking ones as well. The world is rich with detail and excellently done.
The book is very very long, however it didn’t really feel all that long as I read it. It did take me quite a while to read, but the whole time I read it I was entertained and engaged in the story.
Overall an excellent continuation of this epic fantasy series! We finally get to meet and spend time with Sabetha which was awesome, it was awesome to have such a strong and smart female character as a part of the story. The world building is excellent and the plot complex. There are layers upon layers of deceit…yet it never gets confusing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and thought it was the best book in the series yet and well worth the wait. Highly recommended to fans of epic fantasy.