What a great read, and what a great author! Scott Lynch is really kicking a lot of ass in the world of fantasy fiction, and he's doing it in all the ways I love; that is, he's writing action-packed genre-blending books which are fun and full of verve while simultaneously ruminating upon serious aspects of the real world. I've always been a huge fan of fantasy, but that of course means that I've read a lot of fantasy novels which...well, to call them mediocre is a kindness. These days, if a fantasy novel doesn't have something to say or add to the genre, if it's not an innovator or a game-changer, if it doesn't have something special or remarkable about it, then I just don't have time for it. There are simply too many other books I want to read for me to bother with run-of-the-mill genre fare.
Red Seas Under Red Skies is hardly standard fare.
Red Seas picks up right where The Lies Of Locke Lamora left off, but this is no mere Oceans 12 or Lies Of Locke Lamora Part 2. No, instead Lynch takes our two plucky (though drunken) heroes into an entirely different style of adventure, which I greatly appreciated. Where the first book in the series was a straight-up con artist heist novel, this one takes Locke and Jean onto the high seas to try their hands at piracy, and really, who doesn't like pirates? I feel very comfortable admitting at this juncture that I've always been a sucker for naval adventure novels, so this turn of events suited my fancy quite nicely. Of course, there was murder, romance, betrayal, plunder, mutiny, and sundry other elements that typically make up this style of tale, but the book isn't weaker for its faithfulness to such conventions - rather, it made me cherish it the more. That a book can do all this and still take a hard look at classism and the pursuit of wealth makes it doubly impressive to me.
I highly recommend this series to any fan of fantasy or crime novels.