The Republic of Thieves - Scott Lynch

I'm going to try to avoid spoilers, or rather, will only have minor spoilers.  For instance, anyone who has read the first two books knows Locke was in love with Sabetha and not over it.  And anyone who has read the blurb for Republic of Thieves knows that Sabetha is to appear in this book.  Got it?  Okay.


Mostly, I'm going to talk about the history between Locke and Sabetha as their relationship has been explored through flashbacks.  I'm going to be non-specific, but some may prefer not to read this.



I adore Sabetha.  I feel like she highlights so many feminist issues, and it's a lot of things that I'm just not used to seeing brought up.  Locke's feelings for her have problems, which she brings up.  The big one, to me, is that he practically deifies her.  At one point, while professing his feelings, he tells her he would be happy to kiss her shadow.  She is so high up on that pedestal.  And this has been a problem for her, thank goodness.  She's smart.  It took me some really terrible relationships to understand the problem with men who put women they have feelings for up on that pedestal.  I don't want to be worshiped.  I want to be seen and loved for who I really am, and that means recognizing the flaws I have.  I don't want a man who will be happy to kiss my shadow.


Another issue is Locke's ability to lead others.  He is not smarter than Sabetha.  Often, the two of them have the same ideas, yet when she suggests them, they're taken as mere suggestions.  When Locke suggests the very same ideas, everyone listens.  Bringing up her gender here is important.  I've been the only girl in a group of guys.  As a role-player, that used to be a common occurrence when I was younger.  It's hard.  You often become the subject of everyone's desire.  Like her, I had to turn down several of the male gamers I was friends with.  


I really appreciate Locke's respect for Sabetha in his pursuit of her.  I'm glad the author didn't bring in the romantic comedy trope in which the woman turns down the man, so he continues pursuing her until she changes her mind.  Locke makes a point of respecting her feelings, once he convinces her to share with him what they are.  More authors need to pay attention to this love story.  This is how you write it in a way that is feminist-friendly.


One thing that didn't really work for me in this book was the story format.  It's similar to the previous two novels, I admit.  I generally enjoy getting to read the story out of their past, and I enjoyed this one quite a bit.  But it really hindered my enjoyment when the story switched over to the other time line every single time something interesting started to happen.  It caused me to set the book aside a few times, and really take a lot longer to read this than I would have if I'd been able to read each half of the story on its own.  But I do understand the reason it was formatted in this way.  There was a parallel between their past and their present, and it might have taken away from things if the reader went into the later story already knowing their history.


There were revelations in the end that I really want to know more about.  I do hope this isn't the last we'll get to see of Sabetha.