Books · Reviews

Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

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Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora

Author: Scott Lynch

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 530

Published: 2006 (this edition published in 2007)

Publisher: Gollancz

Format: Paperback

Acquired: Bought in local bookstore

Rating: ★★★★☆ [3.5]

 

Book Blurb:: 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 Gentlemen Bastards.

The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they’ve 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’ll admit, I had very high expectations about this book. The idea of thieves is really appealing, and the blurb made it seem as though Locke wasn’t as capable as the rumours make him out to be, which would be exactly my kind of book. It made me think of my favourite Frey in Chris Wooding’s Retribution Falls series, and I thought Locke would be a very similar character. While this book is still good, it didn’t quite match up to what I thought it would be, so I was slightly disappointed (through my own fault rather than the author’s!).

****

This first book in the (still ongoing) Gentlemen Bastards series is actually Scott Lynch’s debut novel, which is amazing as it has SO many good reviews. Locke Lamora is the main character and the ringleader of his small family group of thieves, The Gentlmen Bastards. Now, they are not your average group of thieves; by dressing up and putting on very realistic performances, they are elite con-artists that infiltrate noble society to steal from the rich. They are good at it, too.

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Peaky Blinders Gif from giphy.com (I couldn’t find a suitable gif, sorry)

 

However, there is a Secret Peace act in the Venice-esque city of Camorr which agrees that thieves should not steal from police or the rich. Not only do they lie about their activities to the boss of the Underworld, Capa Barsavi, but unbeknownst to them The Gentlemen Bastards’ latest (and one of their biggest) heists also attracts the attention of the noble’s elite security force, The Midnighters.

With the arrival of a new opponent threatening to shake the foundations of Camorr society and the lives of the Underworld, Locke and his gang’s lies get the better of them, and they have to fight for survive in games of deception and revenge, using as many of their tricks as possible.

****

So to be honest, I was expecting a lot of Locke’s heists to go wrong, or at least have him quickly change his plans when something didn’t happen how it was supposed to. And while he definitely had some bad luck in the second half of the book, it just wasn’t what I expected.

Of course, that doesn’t mean to say there weren’t some really clever schemes in the novel. I mean, constructing a plan to steal a corpse right under everyone’s nose when he was just 6, “accidental arson” and even convincing a noble to rent the clothes off his back, it was really clever how Locke manages to fool everyone in Camorr. I definitely preferred the more gritty, desperate schemes over the flamboyant heists where Locke can use wealth to fool people. Overall I was really interested to see how all the heists would turn out, it just wasn’t what I thought would happen.

The plot itself was a bit slow to start, as there was a lot of build-up and knowledge building so we could fully understand what was going to happen during the main event. It definitely had to be done, as without it the climax would not have meant as much as it did, but I was worried that I would get a bit bored. One thing that was nice (if a bit odd at the beginning), was the inclusion of “interludes”. Some chapters were linked to the pasts of The Gentlemen Bastards, whereas otherwise seemed completely random. However, they all provided interesting tidbits of information that really added to the significance of the story, as well as character development.

The second half of the book really kicked everything off, and I was completely hooked by the end. The lies finally caught up with Locke, and I couldn’t help but find out how he was going to worm his way out of it all, in some really dangerous situations. It really won me back, and now I definitely want to continue the series. Speaking of the ending- I was so surprised at how many deaths there were! They were so unexpected, and I don’t know how the Gentleman Bastards are going to continue now! I was 100% gripped towards the end, and all the twists kept me in suspense.

****

All the characters in The Gentlemen Bastards were amazing; I loved that they all had their little roles, and their characters are completely different. The Sanza twins were great fun, even though I did feel they sometimes took a back seat. The one character I didn’t connect to as much is Bug- it felt like he was trying waaay too hard, and it wasn’t 100% clear why? That said I did feel for him at the end, I really didn’t expect what happened at all.

I loved Locke as a main character, despite his ego he did use his brains to create some crazy schemes (which surprisingly worked).

tumblr sinbad grin
My scruffy take on Locke (Sinbad), gif from tumblr

 

It was also really nice to see his caring side towards the end, and you can see a bit more development.

Jean grew on me once I got to see snippets of his past. He is a bit of a grumpy-grumps, but I enjoyed his relationship with Locke. He is like a sidekick-come-father figure- it was nice to see him worry about Locke, and I loved how he would do his own thing to help whatever scheme Locke was planning, without Locke asking him to?

I also thoroughly enjoyed the roughness of Chains- it made me chuckle how downright dirty he was behind the façade of being a priest ❤ It’s a shame that there wasn’t more information about him besides what was in the interludes, although maybe we get to find out more in the sequel?

****

In general, I am a bit conflicted with this book. The ending of this story really kept me hooked, and definitely boosted this rating! However, this novel really wasn’t what I expected it to be like. Although this is completely my own fault, it really did disappoint me a bit more than I wanted it to, which has made is so so difficult to review this properly.

That said, I love the premise of the story and the world it is set in, so despite the issues I had with it I am going to choose to love this book. My brain is actively going to ignore the bits I didn’t like, and it is still a series I am super interested in. In fact, I decided to buy the next two books in the series as soon as I finished this novel, as I love the idea of it more than anything else (that’s not weird, right?).

Overall it was a fun read, with some great heists and a lot of unexpected twists. I can’t wait to see what happens to the Gentlemen Bastards now!

Rating: star-1star-1star-1star-1-5

Have you read this book/series? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

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