The Lies of Locke Lamora
June 27th 2006
The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through walls.
Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke's gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves. The Gentleman Bastards.
The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they have ever known. But now a clandestine war is threatening to tear it apart. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends are suddenly struggling just to stay alive...
I love fantasy, but I rarely read adult fantasy. I don't know why, I just like YA, you know. I have had a blog dedicated to reading and reviewing YA books for, like, four years now so that's not really surprising to anyone. But I do like to read outside the YA box sometimes, so I picked up The Lies of Locke Lamora and a couple of other adult fantasy books that I'd seen around because fantasy is the shit and I'm just in that kind of mood right now. Anyway, the whole point of this whole paragraph of unnecessary context is that I am super freaking glad I took that step out of that YA box. Because The Lies of Locke Lamora is a darn good book.
There are so many things that I liked about Locke Lamora. The titular character, especially. It's nice to read a book about a guy who you would expect to be the ultimate Gary Stu, but who is actually a really interesting character that is no where near perfect. He's charming and incredibly intelligent and sharp, but also kind of an idiot and so ambitious that it just gets him into major trouble, but he's so good at being a conman. It's seriously amazing sometimes, the things he gets away with. But it's not just Locke, it's all of the Gentleman Bastards. Just the name alone is so fabulous, but they have such a great dynamic that just makes the book so fun to read. Locke and Jean especially have one of the best bromances in fantasy that I've read about for a while.
The book itself takes a while to get into (the prologue is 30 pages. 30 PAGES.) but I think that despite this it's a really well structured story. It's not always linear which really suits the nature of the story, because with heists/crime stuff like this with big cons and it's just a good way to build tension and stuff. Plus after the first hundred pages maybe it gets really gripping and by the end I really didn't want to put it down. And it was grittier than I thought it would be, too. Not super gritty, it's still a fun world and a fun book, but there was some surprisingly sad stuff. I nearly cried, and I was definitely not expecting to actually feel actual emotions reading this book, but alas. It was the better for it, though, definitely.
The world building was really great too. It wasn't too overwhelming or info-dumpy, and and the end of each chapter there would be 'interludes' about Locke's and the other Gentleman Bastards childhoods, as well as other details about the world which I thought was a really good way of bringing in those aspects of the world. I love good world building, good plots and and interesting characters and Locke Lamora had all that. The writing was great, too. It wasn't too heavy or overly descriptive so it was fairly easy to read without feeling like I was being bogged down with details.
I did that thing again where I left it way to long between reading the book and writing the review, so this is all I can really think to say even though I did properly love Locke Lamora. I would recommend it to anyone who reads a lot of fantasy or even if you don't because it's at all inaccessible and it's a fairly low magic world with a gritty feel to it. Also, there is some violence but it's not nearly as gratuitous as it could be, though it did get a bit gross at one point. And there is, like, no sex in this book. I was definitely expecting there to be unnecessary sex but there was not so I was pleasantly surprised on that front. Plus, even though there weren't that many female characters central to the story, there were a few and there was an effort made to always say that there were men and women in the criminal underworld or this world as well as every other profession, which was nice.
SO YEAH. The Lies of Locke Lamora is pretty swell. Pretty swell indeed.