After the amazing "Lies of Locke Lamora", I admit I expected a lot from "Red Seas Under the Red Skies".
And it did start off pretty good actually - the sarcastic banter, the wise-ass remarks, a couple of crisp, artistically crafted new characters, a new intriguing city-state as a story backdrop and the usual dare devilish and/or foolhardy schemes to pull off ! All was well.
But after about 200 or so pages into the book, things started going downhill for me. The next one-third part of the book delved deep into a completely tangential pirate story. For no specific reason that I could fathom, readers are bombarded with a lot of naval jargon and some unnecessary maritime details.
Luckily for me, this detour of sorts did not last very long and the story resumed its total awesome-ness in the last act !
Just like the first book, the protagonists were embroiled in 3 or 4 different story arcs - all connected by a common theme - and all of these story arcs converged and concluded in a fairly well executed crescendo !
One great point to note are the female characters in Scott Lynch's fantasy world. Without making a great deal of it, without making any fuss, you would see the women characters doing jobs which are traditionally considered masculine in such fantasy fiction worlds. The women in this world are formidable warriors, bodyguards of important people, captains of pirate ships and also doting mothers and fierce lovers.
Overall, I would give 'Red Seas Under the Red Skies' a 4/5. This is a fiction, fantasy book and I believe it does deliver on its promise of entertainment and storytelling - just not in the same perfect way as the first book did.