Author: Scott Lynch
Read: July, 2016
An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.
A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.
Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.
Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…
Damn that’s a long summary. To be fair, it’s quite a long book – Lynch’s writing is very detailed and entertaining, but it does lean toward the denser side at times. In fact,part of me feels that sections of the book were superfluous and indulgent, but part of me also thinks that the jumpy, sometimes seemingly meandering time line of the book was necessary. Everything, from the characters to the religious system, the setting of Camorr to the various cultures found within the world, is richly drawn and explored as a result; Lynch’s world-building, a cornerstone of any good fantasy novel, was excellent and immersing because of this.
The characters, especially Locke and his ever faithful band of thieves, The Gentlemen Bastards, were distinctive. I loved the friendship and camaraderie that existed between all the Gentlemen Bastards – their exploits made for interesting reading. Lynch takes care to slowly divulge elements of each character’s backstory, interspersing these “Interludes” throughout the novel, slotting them in where the content is most relevant to the immediate predicaments of the characters.
The plot was clever and engaging – just when you think you know where it’s going it takes a sudden twist or turn in a direction you never saw coming. The actual heists/general shenanigans of Locke and his friends are well thought out and described brilliantly.
Overall, I found The Lies of Locke Lamora to be a good, solid fantasy novel that’s lots of fun. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
“Someday, Locke Lamora,” he said, “someday, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.”
“There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.”
If you like this try:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson