The Lies of Locke Lamora audiobook
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If, like me, you are deeply disturbed by horrific violence, stay away from this book. As I write this, Im wishing that I had the wisdom to put the book down sooner. Im also struggling to remove the bookss gruesome images from my mind. I suspect they will never go away completely. The torture scene in Shogun haunts me to this day, as, I fear, will the torture scene from The Lies of Locke Lamora.
I suppose one could say that the fact that this book disturbed me so much indicates that it is well written and brilliantly descriptive. Maybe so. I read just over one third of the book and found it to be somewhat interesting. Were it not for the torture scene, I would have finished it and I probably would have read the next book in the series as well. Instead I deleted it from my tablet.
Sensitive readers, youve been warned.
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I left this unread on my Kindle for about 2 years. I had started it but lost interest after the first few pages and read other stuff. Nothing significant in my abandon, it was cheap and am not that into fantasy in general. Too much re-Tolkien and not enough innovation.
I recently decided to give it another go, read it all through and bought the 2nd in the series right away.
First of all, it is very well written, plenty of subtle wit. The characters are quite well developed and you can see that the author has a lot of backstory about them. Locke is a bit perfect for my taste, but he is entertaining enough that I let it pass. And… he is a massive fail at combat, which is a nice twist and keeps him from being another cardboard hero.
The second bit is how atmospheric and well-described the world is. Camorr is a Venice-built-on-alien-ruins and Lynch totally runs with it. Its descriptions tease you and intrigue you, but do not overwhelm the story*. The somewhat Italian Renaissance names and society fit in perfectly and things are easy to visualize.
Set in a modern day crime novel, the plot would have enough twists and turns to keep you riveted. The Gentleman Bastards are confidence tricksters, grifters and con-men. Schemes meet counter-scams and you’re almost expecting a Nigerian prince 419 phishing email to come along. Every so often, I would come to a point where I would think “but what about X? it makes no sense that…”. You know, typical big gaping plot holes in silly books. And, every time, it turned out that what I thought was an oversight was actually built into it and made sense.
Finally, unlike many writers who believe that a good plot needs to be confusing, Lynch has kept it very simple and focused. At least after each twist.
In a low-magic medieval setting, with bloody, luscious, combat scenes**? This story rocks.
Last, how can one resist a novel with ‘contrarequialla’, scantily-clad women gladiators who fight in arenas against sharks? Where this makes sense, rather than being just “jumping the shark”? That’s only 2 or 3, glorious, pages’ worth, but it shows how well-thought out even minor bits of the story can be because you have two setup scenes before the main combat one with the requalias.
* I liked the descriptions myself, but they could be a bit much if you’re not into descriptive novels. I’m on the fence – descriptions annoy me sometimes. These worked for me, but they’re a biiiiiig part of the book.
** And… it’s a very grim book at times, quite amoral and graphic in its violence.
Audiobook The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
i downloaded the sample of this book and absolutely loved it. as far as opening chapters go, this might be one of the funniest and most clever ones i’ve ever read. the conversation between the thiefmaker and father chains is just hilarious, and hearing about locke lamora before actually meeting him is great way to set up the central themes of the book. so then i bought the book and kept reading, and was i faced with my first problem: the first chapter deals with locke as a child, but chapter two takes place years later when locke is already an adult. the book goes back and forth, telling interludes from his youth in between chapters of the main storyline, which is kind of annoying.
but i’m willing to overlook that because the writing is so good, the setting so vivid and detailed, and the characters so entertaining. locke lamora and his crew of thieves are all great characters, and most of the supporting cast like father chains and capa barsavi and brilliant as well. they’re all unique and memorable, and even minor characters are given enough personality to make them interesting. the dialogue is great, its fast and witty and consistently funny, but doesn’t get in the way of the narrative.
my main problem with the book (and why i’m doing 4 stars instead of 5) is that the tone of the book changes quite drastically right in the middle of the story. the first half of the book is basically a light-hearted caper comedy; locke and his crew are trying to rob a rich nobleman without their crime lord finding out about it. however, the middle of the book introduces some serious violence and death to the story, characters start getting killed off left and right, and the whole tone shifts from “caper comedy” to “brutal revenge plot.” it was kind of jarring and i didn’t really like it, even though the book was still great as it raced toward its action-packed conclusion. it’s not that i don’t like violent revenge novels, but the change in tone was just too surprising and left a bad taste in my mouth. i will admit that from a character standpoint, its really well done and forces locke to make sacrifices and admit that he’s had it easy for far too long. but seriously, so many people get killed off so violently that it almost makes the game of thrones seem tame by comparison.
Audio The Lies of Locke Lamora narrated by Michael Page
A book I couldnt quite abandon, despite several times feeling the urge. The setup, probably a full quarter of the book, feels smug and contrived and takes forever to actually get anywhere, with the group of con-men known as The Gentlemen Bastards (lead by the titular Lamora) leading lives so charmed that any potential drama or intrigue is completely undercut. When, finally, the mysterious Grey King starts to make his presence felt in the (admittedly fascinating) city of Camorr there is a welcome injection of peril that begins to move things along at pace, and almost makes the insufferable setup worthwhile the Bastards are thrown into levels of intrigue and danger far outwith their comfort zone, and the reader is finally carried along with them. The final quarter of the book seems to slow down just as it should be charging onwards, but scores are settled, daring escapes made, and intrigues resolved. None of this displeased me, but its too long by far and finishing it was ultimately a chore.
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Locke, you really are a little s***.
And thats why I like this book. Its clever, its often very funny, and the world-building is excellent. I know there have been comparisons between Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss the latter even addressed this in his review of this novel but I genuinely think thats wrong. Both authors are distinct in their own ways, and I enjoy both writers works immensely.
That goes for The Lies of Locke Lamora. The chapters flip between present day Locke and interludes, where Locke is still a child, which gives the reader a nice insight into backstory. Initially I found the beginning of the novel difficult to get into, even considering putting it down, but Im extremely glad I didnt, for the sole reason that it very quickly turned into rip-roaring fun.
Fun. That is the word I would probably use to describe this book. It reads almost like a film and I dearly hope some skilled director brings it to life one day, because it would be fantastic. The characters are well fleshed-out, the details of world-building tight and many. Lockes wit and sarcasm is right up my street, and he is a character I quickly came to adore and despair at when he got himself into scrapes which, by the way, is often. Oh, my god is it often. Little s*** indeed. There is mischief and mayhem aplenty, and what a joy it was to read.
Fantasy-lovers, if you have not yet read this book: WHY NOT? READ IT. READ. And then read the sequel, which I certainly plan to do.
It is enchanting, riotously funny, and above all, epic. Honestly, I could not recommend this enough.
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