The Lies of Locke Lamora By Scott Lynch
Audiobook Edition, Narrated by Michael Page
Finished on 2/8/2017
1 Cheeky Thief Who is Too Smart by Half, 1 Genius Bruiser Who Bails Out Cheeky Thief, 2 Cardshark Jack of All Trades and 1 Thieving Oliver Twist out of 5
Man, I wish I didn’t wait so long to read this novel for the first time.
A positively delightful novel. Locke, Jean and the rest are all fun guys to be around (at least until ‘the rest’ cease their mortal existence), cracking jokes and making fun of the bad guys. These scheming arseholes are delightful characters to interact with. Even the authorial voice, the texture of the novel, carries the stinky scent of the Gentleman Bastards.
The City of Camorr struck me as being a semi-Italian sort of setting, with names like Capa (Italian for Head) and Donna (Italian for Lady). This, combined with the focus on exquisite seafood, really brought out a Mediterranean flavor I’ve never experienced from the Fantasy genre save slightly from Bujold’s Chalion books. The book’s striking worldbuilding, with the city’s five glass towers and innumerable glass constructions left behind by the last civilization, add a temporal depth to the book, the hint of deep history.
But for the sake of fairness I did have a couple of problems with this novel.
We got to see a lot of Camorr but we got almost no hint of the wider world. I wanted to see hints of this world’s cultures outside of Camorr.
Similarly there were no ‘good’ characters, everyone was either shades of black or grey. To use DnD terms I wanted a Lawful Good character to show up and refuse to take a bribe on sheer principle, something like a paladin of the 12 gods. Because of this lack there was no problem Locke & Co. couldn’t just throw money at to solve.
The villains were too moustache-twirly, too devoted to being Eeevil because Eeevil Feeels Goood. Capa Raza and the Falconer were as one dimensional as you can get, with the first’s motivation being ‘VENGENCE!’ while the second was ‘Do my job in the most violent possible manner, and maybe murder a couple people on the side for giggles.’
Finally, the overwhelming mandate of the ‘Rule of Funny’ occasionally overwhelmed the plot. The book’s humor is great, but when characters and causality warp around it I can no longer suspend my disbelief.
If you haven’t read this book already, start!