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The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards) Mass Market Paperback – June 26, 2007
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“Right now, in the full flush of a second reading, I think The Lies of Locke Lamora is probably in my top ten favorite books ever. Maybe my top five. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, you should probably read it again.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
“Remarkable . . . Scott Lynch’s first novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora, exports the suspense and wit of a cleverly constructed crime caper into an exotic realm of fantasy, and the result is engagingly entertaining.”—The Times (London)
“A unique fantasy milieu peopled by absorbing, colorful characters . . . Locke’s wit and audacity endear him to victims and bystanders alike.”—The Seattle Times
“A true genre bender, at home on almost any kind of fiction shelf . . . Lynch immediately establishes himself as a gifted and fearless storyteller, unafraid of comparisons to Silverberg and Jordan, not to mention David Liss and even Dickens.”—Booklist (starred review)
“High-octane fantasy . . . a great swashbuckling yarn of a novel.”—Richard Morgan
About the Author
- ASIN : 055358894X
- Publisher : Del Rey; Reprint edition (June 26, 2007)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 736 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780553588941
- Lexile measure : 940L
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.13 x 1.17 x 6.83 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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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, you’ve been warned.
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.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
And that’s why I like this book. It’s clever, it’s 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 that’s 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 I’m extremely glad I didn’t, 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. Locke’s 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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The Lies of Locke Lamora ★★★★★ from Filipe P. on 12 March 2020
a must read
Series: The Gentlemen Bastards sequence(#01)
Author: Scott Lynch
Context: I do not really know where or how I got this book, which probably means I got it in a charity shop somewhere in the UK. I decided to push it to the top of the reading pile after I had finished The Name of the Wind from Pat Rothfuss' The Kingkiller Chronicle and I found online many voices singing this novel's praises. And while, generally, I am not the biggest pirate tale aficionado (which was what I thought the book was going to be like), the scores on platforms like GoodReads got the best of me. Thankfully they did.
Ups: Characters. Oh, my days, Lynch's characters! Locke and Jean's relationship is stellar. And when you add the Sanza twins, Father Chains, Bug... The beginning is such a punch in the gut, and the ride never slows down. The city of Camorr feels very fleshed out like Lynch lived there his whole life and just decided to describe every single alleyway he strolled through over the years. I am a great fan of the Venetian/Renaissance Italy vibe chosen, which heightens the masquerade play Locke and the other Gentlemen Bastards star in. The plot is great, and I especially appreciate how it can go from bad to worse. Locke is very smart but he is not wise or particularly cunning. He has that Jack Sparrow swagger that gets him out of a sticky situation to place him in a direr one. The story feels like a rollercoaster, and I found myself yelling alongside the Bastards. Lynch's first novel is an amazing, amazing piece; as an aspiring author, reaching 1/10th of this greatness with a debut novel would be heavenly. Do yourself a favour and pick this one up.
Downs: for some people, the descriptions might be too much. Yet, akin to Robert Jordan in his WOT, it's down to preference. You might get fed up with the details, but it is undeniable how colorful and theatrical of a painting Lynch paints.
Review by Tales of Eyria
Lamora is a fascinating fantasy character in that he relies almost exclusively on his wits and intelligence rather than physical prowess. The Gentleman Bastards as a group are touchingly brother-like and complement one another brilliantly. The world is realistically and interestingly crafted and the fight scenes in particular are a strength of the series.