Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch [5]

*****/***** (5/5)

As I'll be returning to sff soon (continuing with romance at the same time as well), here's a review/reaction of a novel I read earlier this year and released last year...

Scott Lynch weaves a very entertaining tale of mischief, mayhem and chaos in this story about a cunning thief, Locke Lamora. The Gentlemen Bastards are a very unassuming and seemingly insignificant gang of orphaned thieves trained and raised by a sage priest, Chains. Locke Lamora leads this gang, but not by steel, not by strength, not by magic, but by his cunning, deceptive mind.

THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA stands out for its cunning, witty dialogue, hysterical humor, deceptive legerdemains, and of course for the funny, yet gritty, characterization of Locke Lamora.

As Locke tells us at one point in the novel, "...there's no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated." One of his cohort-brothers answers, "Gods, yes...If we were any freer we'd float away in the the sky and fly like birds."

Unfortunately, our unassuming, yet richest, gang of thieves receive some undesired attention when a mysterious Gray King arrives at Camorr (the city serving as the backdrop for the entire novel). Our crafty Locke and his Gentlemen Bastards' schemes and thievery go terribly, terribly awry as they face one complication after another. Locke - short and skinny - must exercise his wit to get him out of the complications that start piling up for his gang.

Scott Lynch's worldbuilding is very thorough, if not prodigiously overdone at times. His city of Camorr and outlying city-states comes alive vividly, from the feel to the looks, from the smells to the tastes, from the languages and accents to the trade and economy, from the political bureacracy to the entertainment.

I do have two complaints.

It took me two weeks to get through the first 200 pages, while two days to finish the last 300 in this hardcover edition. It wasn't until after Chapter 5, The Gray King chapter, that events seriously started spiraling out of control for our band of thieves. I was reading other books during the first 200 pages and I just lost interest in LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA during this time. But man, do things pick up after Chapter 5.

And secondly, the interludes really bring the momentum of the story to a screeching halt. Although they were mercifully shorter later in the novel, they were still jarring to me. The long interludes in the beginning of the book really, really slowed things down.

Otherwise, a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable reading experience, one I would unabashedly recommend to everyone...

No comments: