The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Lies of Locke Lamora is the story of a group of con men who are sworn to the Thirteenth god, who has many names, and is the patron of thieves. These con men call themselves the Gentleman Bastards.
The most impressive part of this book is the narrator’s voice. Scott Lynch (for the most part) uses an omniscient narrator that makes cynical and irreverent observations about various characters in the book and society as a whole. Scott Lynch takes a risk with his narrator using a lot of parenthesis for his humorous asides. He’s not afraid to tell (rather than show) which proves that good authors can break the “rules” (as if there should be rules for a writer). We’re big fans of writers who take risk and aren’t afraid to draw outside the lines. For this reason The Lies of Locke Lamora makes our Must Read Fantasy Books list.
The book is filled with action and tension with threats coming from multiple sources at once. This keeps it moving once the premise and characters have been set up. But, be warned you’ll have to struggle through much of the first third of the book before the fast paced action carry you away.
One of the things I found distracting was some of the dialogue felt juvenile, forced, and overacted. Here’s an example: “Oh, you have a magic boy. Why didn’t you say so? … Magnificent. I’ll plant him in the fucking ground and grow a vine to an enchanted land beyond the clouds.”
Another thing I thought was overdone was switching back and forth in time for a single scene. I have no problem with the author using this mechanism to fill in back story, but on a single scene it seems lazy. I suspect he is trying to build tension by starting the scene at a critical point, then flashing back an hour to all the boring stuff that wouldn’t have been interesting without knowing what comes next. I prefer a good story to gimmicks.
But the author’s unique way of describing things makes up for much of what I thought was distracting. Here’s an example that I particularly liked: “Eighty-eight thousand souls generated a certain steady volume of waste; this waste included a constant trickle of lost, useless, and abandoned children.”
Overall, The Lies of Locke Lamora is a good solid fantasy book, with plenty of action and humor, told by a great narrator.
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