If I could give Scott Lynch all the stars, I would. No stars left for anyone else, Scott Lynch has them all. Scott Lynch is giving himself a hard time, because my expectations for his next book The Thieves Republic
make the Sinspire itself look like a thimble.
Our favorite Gentleman Bastards Locke and Jean resurrect their career from the ashes of their last adventure and set their thieving sights on the gambling empire of the Sinspire. And somehow end up stealing a pirate ship, pretending to be captains? And then losing it to actual pirates to foment a rebellion? Caught between the two scheming political powers in the city, poisons and pirate alliances, far too many disguises to keep track of, and their own fatal cleverness, there's never a dull moment for our intrepid heroes.
And no barrels of horse piss, this time.
Scott Lynch really outdoes himself in further exploring Locke and Jean's characters. Locke is a delight wrapped in a package that's smooth and spiny at the same time. His cleverness often outmatches his own physical capabilities, but this little thief has the best luck ever witnessed in fiction. He's still so very human, though, and never more so when he's dealing with Jean. And Jean is dependable, solid, and really someone you just want to give a hug to because he's so delightful. His scholarly flirtation with Ezri was the cutest scene in the book (second only to Regal's constant harrassment of Locke).
And Zamira is simply the best, bar none. She probably earned Scott Lynch a whole constellation of stars. Incdentally, it is his defense of her character to a belligerent and shutter-brained fan that got me interested in his books in the first place. When she finally showed up in the book, I was amazed that anyone could ever find her to be anything less than FREAKING awesome.
Scott Lynch was brilliant enough already, but his vision of a world where the sexes were truly equal (female warriors and officers and characters of their own unique strengths, personalities, positions of power everywhere! And a great many of them straying from the hot, white, busty fantasy stereotype! Gasps all around! Pearls clutched!) put him in a league of his own. I've read a lot of fantasy books, but rarely has the playing field ever been this level, and unobtrusively so.