Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Lies of Locke Lamora

Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Author: Scott Lynch
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 499
Why I read it: "read before I die" challenge
Grade: B-

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. 

My review:
I'm quite late to the party in reading this one, as it was published years ago, but it's been on my to-read list for so long that I finally put it on my list for the "Books to Read Before I Die" challenge.  I wanted to get to it, and having it on my challenge list made me do it.

I've struggled with my feelings about this book, to the point where I don't quite know how to grade it.  On the one hand, I really loved the plot.  It was original and complex.  And once I figured out that the timeline wasn't necessarily chronological, I stopped feeling quite so lost.  But the fact that I was lost for a bit, trying to figure it out lessened my enjoyment a little bit.  For nearly a whole chapter, I was trying to figure out if I, as a reader, had previously been tricked or if something else was going on.  Maybe that was the author's intention.  I don't know.

I also could have done without the endless descriptive details about every building, every bit of history, every single place the characters happened to be.  I don't mind some details.  It definitely adds to the story when you have them, but there are times when I really don't care, and I just want to get back to the meat of the story, so I end up skimming over paragraphs.

All in all, though, I did like Lies of Locke Lamora, and I will continue on with the series, even though I've heard the second isn't as good.  I really liked the plot and the humor in the first, and we'll see how the second turns out.  I would recommend this to fans of gritty fantasy (although there really is very little fantasy in this one), and to those who like a little intrigue in their stories.


  1. Hmmm...I sure love the cover of this one. Too bad it was so confusing for you. And yet, you say you will continue on even tho you have heard the second one isn't as good. LOL :)

    I've never heard of the phrase "gritty fantasy" -- interesting.

  2. I don't quite know how to define gritty fantasy. I just know it when I see it. ;)

  3. I completely agree that the timeline is confusing! I was confused by that in the second book, too.

    I didn't personally enjoy the second book so much as the first because a LOT of it takes place on a boat, which I found tiring.