The Lies of Locke Lamora – Gentleman Bastard #1 – Scott Lynch
In this stunning debut, Scott Lynch delivers the thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his tightly knit band of tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood,” one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling….
An orphan’s life is harsh–and often short–in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly.
Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game–or die trying…
Ah well, there you have it, another excellent Fantasy novel to add to this year’s list. After Robert Jordan’s “The Eye of the World” and Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name of The Wind” there is now Scott Lynch’s “The Lies of Locke Lamora”. How do you review a book that you simply read from cover to cover, forgetting the world around you and stepping in to the most wonderfully created world with the most amazing characters you’ve read about in a while. I dreaded writing this review, as I do with all books I adored. But maybe now I can find the right words to describe why it was so great and if there were maybe some things I enjoyed less about it.
Let’s start with the latter, discussing what didn’t quite work for me. Mind you, it only bothered me occasionally and it didn’t diminish the writing or the amazing story in any way for me. Starting this book, it all quickly became a bit too much for me. Lynch has created this beautiful, complex, wonderful world that’s so imaginative and grand I couldn’t take it all in at first. I had a hard time really getting in to the story that way, but (big but!) that all changed when Locke started his first scheme. From then on, it was like a switch was flipped on (or rather, the switch tagged “the real world” got switched off) and I was a goner. I devoured the rest of the book like it was the most delicious cake in the bakery and I hadn’t had anything to eat for weeks.
The same problem did pop up here and there, especially when Lynch went into an elaborate description of this world he kept seeing in his head. He just lost me sometimes. I could read a page of description about Locke’s surroundings and when I reached the end I had totally forgotten what I had just read. It didn’t sink it. I don’t know why that is, but I had to read some of the colorful images he painted of Camorr multiple times to really get them. Although that did disrupt the reading a bit for me, the total brilliance of the story and the writing in all the other parts of the book made me forget about it almost immediately.
Now about the story itself. Locke isn’t your average hero, he’s a thief. A brilliant thief. He’s a genius, a schemer, a lier, a crook. He’s not exactly a bad person, he just grew up that way. He has never known anything else. The book makes this pretty clear to the reader by shifting between the present time, where our Locke is fully grown and leading his own gang of thieves, and the past, where we get to see how Locke grew up and what made him the person he is today. I loved these bits and pieces that steadily told me how Locke learned from certain mistakes and how his character came to be what it is now. It was also fantastic to read how his relationship with the other gang members grew and how much he really loves them. They are his family, the only family he has ever known and he would give his life for these boys. It’s stuff like this that show us Locke isn’t black or white, he’s all kinds of grey (I’m not going to say shades… because). This only makes him more interesting and makes me want to get to know him more than I already do. We don’t know the full story after finishing the first book, but that’s one of the motivations to keep on reading the series and picking up “Red Seas Under Red Skies” as soon as you can.
The other crooks, his gang members, his family all have a distinct personality that gives a great contribution to the “Gentleman Bastards”, as they call themselves, but also to the story itself. The humor between these guys, seeing them laugh together or brotherly insulting each other, it’s beautiful. It’s so realistic and genuine, Lynch actually succeeds in making the reader wanting to be a part of the group, wanting to be there. He definitely made me want to be a part of it.
Not only that, but the way they can seamlessly work together on their schemes makes them a dream team for the schemes Locke comes up with.
And those schemes are fantastic! I bow to Scott Lynch for coming up with such elaborate evil games for his characters. He weaves them together masterfully. I wasn’t expecting half of what Locke and his gang did or how they went about it. The surprise-effect was always there and keeping the reader guessing is one of the main ingredients for a good book.
The writing itself is one of those other main ingredients and all I can really say about this is: read the book yourself and you will see, Scott Lynch is a great writer. He knows how to keep the reader interested (well, most of the time, see my second paragraph) and he knows how to spin his sentences to make them brilliant. I loved reading his writing style. It’s not over the top, not too simple, it’s just right. I can’t describe it well enough for you to understand completely. I’ll just repeat: read it and you’ll see.
So, did I like this book? I LOVED it. Scott Lynch managed to write a classic here, a book that will and has stolen its way into many hearts and minds and will probably stay there. Top shelf for me, absolutely!
Posted on October 3, 2013, in Scott Lynch and tagged Bantam Spectra, Bug, Camorr, Fantasy, Gentleman Bastard, Jean, Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch, The Lies of Locke Lamora. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.