Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
3.5 stars

Reasons for reading: recommended by both
Renay and Owlmoose for Herding Cats

Description: "They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he's part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count. Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich - they're the only ones worth stealing from - but the poor can go steal for themselves. What Locke cons, wheedles and tricks into his possession is strictly for him and his band of fellow con-artists and thieves: the Gentleman Bastards. Together their domain is the city of Camorr. Built of Elderglass by a race no-one remembers, it's a city of shifting revels, filthy canals, baroque palaces and crowded cemeteries. Home to Dons, merchants, soldiers, beggars, cripples, and feral children. And to Capa Barsavi, the criminal mastermind who runs the city. But there are whispers of a challenge to the Capa's power. A challenge from a man no one has ever seen, a man no blade can touch. The Grey King is coming. A man would be well advised not to be caught between Capa Barsavi and The Grey King. Even such a master of the sword as the Thorn of Camorr. As for Locke Lamora ..."

First line: "At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-seventh Year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy."

My thoughts: I really liked the solid male friendships and loyalty in this book. It's almost two books, it start out quite lightheartedly with Locke coming to Father Chains, learning to be a thief, and meeting his fellow Gentlemen Bastards. In the middle, the tone changes to a much darker and sadder one, which took me by surprise. There was still Locke's spunk and cleverness and the strong friendship, but it took me a while to adjust. That said, the book is still satisfying and probably more so for the change to a more serious vein.

I had some of my usual problem with fantasy with this book - the world-building. Although the eerie, beautiful, alien Elderglass towers of Camorr are interesting to read about, I just don't have a lot of patience. That's why I tend to prefer my fantasies set in our world, like the Dresden Files books. But Camorr held my attention better than most. It was very Venice-like, with bridges and canals and Italian-sounding names. There's even a Mafia!

The verdict: Huh, I may protest too much, I seem to be becoming more of a fantasy girl. Darn Husband for geek-ifying me! :-) I think I might read the rest in this series, especially since Renay says it's "the one I really want to list because the female characters in Red Seas Under Red Skies are more awesome than all of you bitches." I can get behind that! Also, I just learned that Lynch is from Minnesota, which always gives folks an in with me. :)

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