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The Lies of Locke Lamora

Posted by phduffy on 2007-06-03 22:42:14
1 forum posts

I picked up the Lies of Locke Lamora about a year ago, since it looked fun, and had some fantastic reviews (including the above-mentioned review by Mr. Martin). I then put it in with the rest of the books in my to-read pile, and sort of forget about it.

After a few months, a couple of my friends told me how awesome it was. And so, because I wanted to read something fun, and because I wanted to put off reading any non-fiction, I picked it up.

And the reviews are correct. This is a great fun book. Now, since I'm slow and didn't bother to read the back of the book, I thought that this book would have something to do with a mysterious lake, aka Locke Lamora. This is wrong, it has to do with orphan Locke Lamora (who is named after a character from the video game Final Fantasy VI - The author, Scott Lynch, is a year older than I am, and appears to have read a lot of books that I like, and played a lot of video games that I played with I was younger).

I've been describing this book as a cross between Ocean's Eleven and Lord of the Rings, but that's not really true, that's just what I say to people who aren't familar with fantasy and would really only know LOTR. Truth is, LoLL takes place in a Venice-like city state. So it's more like a cross between O11 and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, the famous duo of Fritz Leiber.

So anyways... Locke and his friends, the Gentlemen Bastards, steal from the rich and... well they get rich. But they mostly still through complicated con games, ala O11. Lynch does a great job of developing the characters through extended flashbacks. As their current con game progresses, flashbacks show the reader how they became who they are, and who the other characters are. We learn about the city's crimelord, the Duke, the blind priest who trained the Gentlemen Bastards and other.

I've heard LoLL described as 'fun', and while this is true, there is a certain darkness to the novel. After all, it is about thieves in a city where thieves are hung and/or fed to the sharks. THink of Steven Brust's Taltos novels - fun and deadly at the same time. I supposed that the twists and turns are what makes this nobel fun, and it certainly has its share, all of which are pulled off magnificently.

There is the first of 7 Gentlemen Bastard novels, plus a few associated short stories. I hope that Lynch can keep up the pace. Novels 2 through 4 will each be set in a different city, which should help, and while self-contained, LoLL did leave a few questions unanswered, and did ask new questions at the end. I suspect Lynch will have to change formats (I'm not sure character revealing flashbacks will work in the seventh book), but I'm also sure that he's talented enough to pull it off.

Highly recommended.
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