The first time I picked up this book, I was expecting something similar to Brust's Taltos series, so I couldn't get into it. The second time, through...moreThe first time I picked up this book, I was expecting something similar to Brust's Taltos series, so I couldn't get into it. The second time, through sheer serendipity, I checked it out along with The Three Musketeers which I re-read first. That time, I got it: The Phoenix Guards brilliantly, lovingly parodies The Three Musketeers, right down to the long-winded and slightly pretentious narrator. (less)
...okay, so the date I read the book is obviously a lie, if you know my age. But it's a truthful lie: I cannot remember a time I didn't know these boo...more...okay, so the date I read the book is obviously a lie, if you know my age. But it's a truthful lie: I cannot remember a time I didn't know these books. My media-specialist grandmother gave me copies of J.R.R. Tolkien (and C.S. Lewis and Laura Ingalls Wilder) along with my picture books. I have 'always' known the stories, though I do know that I re-read the trilogy in sixth grade (and argued vociferously with my best friend of the time over minutia while standing in the lunch line). I literally grew up on these tales. I drew my favorite imaginary friends from the pages of The Hobbit -- thanks, I'm sure to the cartoon adaptation.(less)
The similarities to Tolkien's work are blatant in this first novel; however, Jordan's world grows more distinct from the one that inspired it and more...moreThe similarities to Tolkien's work are blatant in this first novel; however, Jordan's world grows more distinct from the one that inspired it and more interestingly diverse as the series progresses. Notable to me is the presence of several active female characters, also the development of several unique human cultures. Patience is required of any new readers, though. The series is still incomplete, and the gap between publication dates is long. I picked this one up back when I believed it was going to be first in a trilogy. The storylines and subplots keep stacking up!(less)
I have been doing rather a lot of re-reading and comfort reading lately. Wow, I still love this book. Alec! Seregil! Adventure and excitement and peop...moreI have been doing rather a lot of re-reading and comfort reading lately. Wow, I still love this book. Alec! Seregil! Adventure and excitement and people riding horses and carrying swords and committing crimes and spying and doing things! This is a fun romp, and the adventure alone would completely carry it. (Of course, having read more of the series, I was also very invested in re-reading the beginnings of Alec and Seregil's partnership. <3)
Um. That said. Sometimes, it's important to read a series in its original order due to respect for the plot lines and internal character growth. Other times, it is because the author him/herself has improved, and what was great at first reading is then outmatched by what I know an author is capable of now. There are some serious foreshadowing anvils dropped throughout this book. If the book were rendered in HTML, clues to future events and hints at mysterious origins might well be given the blink attribute -- 'look, reader, this will be important! Look! Look!' So Flewelling has definitely improved as an author --the series beginning with The Bone Doll's Twin, for example, is subtly creepy and terrific.
Then again, it's a fantasy, not a mystery. And I am on to the next one in the series. (less)
As soon as I finished The Lies of Locke Lamora, I wanted to dig out my old Steven Brust and Roger Zelazny novels, because those were the books that or...moreAs soon as I finished The Lies of Locke Lamora, I wanted to dig out my old Steven Brust and Roger Zelazny novels, because those were the books that originally gave me a taste for humorous fantasy antiheroes. However, both Vlad Taltos and Merlin were much more self-mocking than Locke Lamora. Locke is self-confident to an extreme - it is his only acknowledged character flaw. This confidence man is clever, bold, courageous in the face of physical danger, quick witted, and even self-sacrificing when the mood strikes. He's perilously close to too perfect.
But you know what? It works for him.
Locke Lamora's world is very intriguing - and intrigue-ridden. I thoroughly enjoyed what has been shown of it so far: a Renaissance (Faire)-style society living among the ruins of a futuristic, perhaps alien, race. There's definitely room to explore in future novels -- but for those readers who dislike incomplete series, this book does work as a stand-alone story, even where ground is laid for a sequel (particularly in the area of the off-page, unseen-by-readers love interest).
The abrupt switches between present time and backstory did not work for me, but I suppose they began to grow on me towards the end. It's not that the character's history was unnecessary or that it failed to inform the current action, because it did add quite a bit. Without the backstory, I'm not sure Locke would have been a sympathetic character at all. Entertaining, yes, but not sympathetic. No, the problem was that the inter-cut chapters of past and present tended to end on cliff-hangers, on the moment before the big revelation, and that quickly became annoying. I would much rather have read straight through Locke's formative years all of a piece.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is devious, swashbuckling, and entertaining. And a bit fluffy, despite the inventively crude language and occasional gory death. The readers are in on Locke's cons, which leaves the intrigues easy to see through, and the bad guys are downright bad and totally unsympathetic.
In other words, it's a perfect summer read. (less)