The adventures of Locke and Jean continue as they each deal, in their own way, with the losses they incurred in book one. This time they are all over the place, trying to fleece a powerful casino owner while getting tangled up with the military leader of Tal Verrar. In the middle of their game they find themselves feeling quite at home on a pirate ship.
Thus far in this series, Scott Lynch has proven to have a way with words and dialogue and he is fantastic at keeping the action and pace rolling so there is never a dull moment. He is also pretty adept at creating characters with depth whom you care about. I especially enjoyed the introduction of the pirates and a new gang for Locke and Jean however short-lived. And it ends on a nice cliffhanger that leaves you wondering how they will escape their fate once again. With all of this goodness, I had no problem really enjoying this book.
However it had some problems that have me a tad worried about book 3. My main concerns are:
1) The over-use of flash backs and non-linear narrative. That was appropriate and a cool approach to book one but in this book it felt like a cheat to artificially create drama and it grated on my nerves a bit. It just felt like a klunky device that didn't fit.
2) I'm starting to get a little tired of Locke. I think we are supposed to see Jean as perhaps the nobler person but for me he has become far more interesting and likeable than Locke and it makes me resent the attention Locke gets. Basically, I think the steps taken to present Locke as flawed have gone a little to far. On a side note, I was pretty excited that Jean has a couple of scenarios where HE is the one noticed first, HE's the one preferred. But I'm also worried that I felt that way:)
3) This book felt less disciplined. There are two distinct books in here, which are tied together, but not well. I liked the first part, and I loved the pirates but I got really irritated when one storyline intruded on the other; a sure sign that there was not enough synergy between the two plots.
But I also feel a bit of a jerk for pointing out the flaws, because I really enjoyed the book despite them.
Finally, I listened to the audio narrated by Michael Page. He did an okay job and got all the right inflections for the snarky dialogue. But his voice wasn't quite right - to my imagination it sounded a little old/mature for Locke and Jean.