The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Published: June 26th 2007 by Random House Publishing Group
Series: Gentlemen Bastards
Format/Source: Paperback from Goodreads’ giveaway
Genre: Adult Fantasy, Adventure, Crime
The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a ghost that walks through walls. Half the city believes him to be a legendary champion of the poor. The other half believe him to be a foolish myth. Nobody has it quite right.
Slightly built, unlucky in love, and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. He certainly didn’t invite the rumors that swirl around his exploits, which are actually confidence games of the most intricate sort. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else, pray tell, would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny of it. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves, the Gentlemen Bastards.
Locke and company are con artists in an age where con artistry, as we understand it, is a new and unknown style of crime. The less attention anyone pays to them, the better! But a deadly mystery has begun to haunt the ancient city of Camorr, and a clandestine war is threatening to tear the city’s underworld, the only home the Gentlemen Bastards have ever known, to bloody shreds. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends will find both their loyalty and their ingenuity tested to the breaking point as they struggle to stay alive…
OMG OMG. Amazing.
Funny story about this book: I was about halfway through it when I reached a page that seemed very familiar. I had definitely read those paragraphs before. And then I remembered: I had picked this book up at the store, flipped to a random page and began reading. It wasn’t just a “oh, let me read a sentence here and there and see if I’d like it.” No, it was definitely, “well crap, I’ve just read two paragraphs and really want to know what is going on!”
And the grand question here is: WHY didn’t I buy it then?!
For starters, let’s address the length. Yes, I am someone who while I definitely read longer books, can definitely be intimidated by books over 500 pages. A book of significant length requires more of a commitment. It means finishing one book in the same amount of time I’d normally finish 2-3 shorter books. And yet, everytime I make the investment to read a longer book, I realize their perks. It’s a complete story. There is (sometimes) better pacing, real development, and intricacies that might otherwise be missing.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is no exception to that. I haven’t experienced world building like that in a long time. Camorr is a dirty (both figuratively and literally) city-state, with corruption to its core and honest people being kept ignorant. One of my favorite things about this novel is that for a fantasy story, it didn’t stick to an English-type of culture (I find that there are a lot of fantasy novels where the names are all Anglicized, as is the geography). It felt almost Italian like, with the names of the people and the roads as waterways. And that’s not even going into depth about the other cultural aspects like the pantheon of gods, the different districts and their histories, and the notable persons.
There’s even science fiction to balance the fantasy elements. Where there’s magic, there’s also alchemy. Where there’s destruction from sorcery, there’s indestructable alien structures. There’s a history to this world that really helps the story come alive. The interludes really add to the story as well as growing the suspense of the action.
I tweeted when I first started reading this book that if you like playing the video game, Assassin’s Creed, you’d enjoy this book. I stand by that recommendation, but really I would broaden that a bit more. If you like pirates, thieves, fantasy, adventure, or stories about friendship, you could very well enjoy this book.
(And you can always tell if I really liked a book when I really want to discuss every aspect of it, not regarding how long the review grows!)