Hirondelle's Reviews > The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
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's review
May 15, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read from May 16 to 19, 2011

There is a set of fantasy books that I mentally assign to personally defined subgenre, the post-GRRM dude "gritty" multivolume epic fantasy. And I while I love GRRM´s writing and that particular series, I have had no luck with the subgenre it seemed to have spawned (or at least encouraged to publication and popularity) - with Erikson (gameish fantasy wishfulfillment stuff disguised as a novel), with Abercrombie (meh, do not care for any of his characters), with Scott Bakker (do not care for anything. Though will give it another try), with the so acclaimed Rothfuss (21st century Terry Brooks. Mary Sue land totally).BTW those are all personal opinions, tastes vary and all that - but still, that is what I thought for your easy reference of what my taste is. Books usually highly rated (wonderful prose! compelling characters! Believable female characters whose "believability" consists of hot chicks just gagging for the probably foul smelling "gritty" male main character. Oh wait, believable female characters is not something they worry much about. YMMV) by a peculiar demographic, the dudes who can not have an ounce of respect for any fiction with any elements slightly ya-know-cooties-carrying girly.

Yes, I am bitter and I am picky (and if you got other recs, do let me know). But my mental image of this book was rather different, and worse, than what it turned out to be, so just explaining my misconception and So while I wanted to try this, just in case, it languished on my TBR pile for quite a few years.

And this is good, even very good, and dear dude post-GRRM "gritty" multivolume epic fantasy (maybe I need an acronym for this) genre, you are sort of redeemed in my eyes. Great atmospheric setting, interesting characters (including many of the secondary or tertiary characters), twisty plot details, nice writing.

Stopping it from being perfect, well I got some quibbles. Our main character is not, when his actions are analyzed, as smart as he is supposed to be (view spoiler). The plot sometimes feels a bit patched, for example some events on the buildup for the ending, as well as some of the bad dudes´s skills and motivations feels a bit contrived (view spoiler). The narrative style is not totally linear. A subjective, or even more subjective, complaint while very readable and a very fast read on points ( the flashbacks mostly), there was an occasional lull to the rhythm. But in all I liked it a lot AND respect it.

Some spoilerish questions, because google is failing me at finding discussions for these topics(view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

05/17/2011 page 150
30.0% "Enjoying this a lot. And is it sf disguised as fantasy?"
05/18/2011 page 280
56.0% "still enjoying this a lot. It might have magic after all - with so far leaving ambiguously possible a " sufficient advanced tech" explanation. I like his approach very much, I am impressed."

Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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Hirondelle so far it is fun - more fun than the other post GRRM multi brick series of dude epic fantasy I have been trying. Early pages yet though.

Alexandra I'm liking it a lot (early pages as well, just barely out of the prologue).

Hirondelle I passed the prologue just a bit, we now met an interesting lady. I also like it a lot. The language is maybe uh a bit modern "no shit?", but it works. And the setting, ah Venice and fantasy mix very very well.

Hirondelle Sherri, I got the same problem with lots of books, even books I am liking and end up liking a lot. Sometimes it is just the mood I am in. This book was waiting TBR a LOT of time, but right now seem to have hit a mood to try (and often dismiss) a lot of epic fantasy.

Hirondelle Ah, I think I have not gotten to that point yet. The modern fashion for lots of violence and bad things happening to characters. I blame GRRM sort of, though in his case I open an exception due to literary merit and being convinced of the author´s sympathy for all his characters.

Kelly I LOVE this one. The followup is not as great, but this one is such amazing fun. I love his originality and I think its hilarious. His characters suffering is sometimes even hilarious in this- actually a lot of the time. :) But that's just me, I guess. I was getting so frustrated with the genre, and this was sooo refreshing.

Hirondelle I loved it as well Kelly! And book 3 is sounding very interesting indeed, going for sure on my to buy list. Is book 2 skippable? I do not like particularly pirate stories, and book 2 is not seeming particularly compelling - though I will probably get to it, book 3 is sounding much more interesting.

message 9: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent I might have to give this a try next time I get bitten by the fantasy bug.

Hirondelle I liked it very much, though with a few quibbles (but I am monstrously picky and find quibbles on practically anything). Do give it a try when you are in the mood for big thick fantasy volumes. My mental image of what this book was going to be was quite different and worse, than what it turned out to be.

Kelly I'm glad you liked it- despite the majority of this review that indicates that every instinct in you fought against it! :) I think its tons of fun and pretty original. (Oh and PS- the answer to your spoilery questions is Yes I think so, and NO not until book 3 and you are NOT the only person pissed about that. I think she can't live up to our expectations now.)

As for skipping book 2... I'd say the first 200 pages are definitely worth reading, and you probably just need the major plot developments after that. There's a bunch of stuff that happens to Jean, but I bet you could find a plot summary of that. I got really annoyed with the back half of that book.

Hirondelle I find it much easier to ID the bugs, the things which did not work, than the things which did. I know what had me arching my eyebrow so to speak at the plot. But the good things, much harder to describe and then you (I, actually. Not you or many others) can only think of clichéed trite sentences. I will give the review a reread in a couple days ( a couple days makes it easier to notice typos, bad grammar and bad structure) and try to explain why I liked it. Which is probably, "oh this was big and fun and interesting, it did not suck and it was not cheesy!". Hopeless.

About number 1, I think so, it is all so ambiguously worded that the idea is planted. Of course then the doubt if is intentional or not.

Number 2, I got hopes it will be worth it, I will pay money for it - and sounds like there would be a good excuse for more flashbacks on book 3. I loved Chains and the flasback scenes.

I am pondering the skipping, not sure if I will or not.

Kelly Oh I didn't mean to criticize you talking about the things that didn't work for you! I think that what you've written says a lot about the personal experience that you bring to the book, which is what I ultimately look for in goodreads reviews. I'm sure people who feel the same about these GRRM "gritty" fantasies will be helped by the review.

I think you should try the second one. You might like it better than I did- I hate to dissuade people absolutely from reading books that had some good things about them.

Hirondelle It did not even occured to me you might be criticizing me! I was just whining about why it seems (to me at least) so much easier to say what is wrong, than what makes a book awesome (besides "it did not suck!").

I edited the review, just to make clear that I love ASOIAF and think it is on a whole different category, sort of unworthy to be mentioned on the same sentence as a lot of the things called the "new asoiaf". Though Locke Lamora is not bad at all, not unworthy of sharing a sentence!

I will probably try the second one. Drat it, my 2011 book diet just too a hit. Sounds like a awesome book to read on the beach, if I can pull some beach days this year.

Kelly Well I hope it doesn't push anything else too good off the wait-list! What else is on your immediate to-read pile?

Hirondelle my version of the 2011 reading challenge was to pick up some things which had been lingering for years ( as somebody said, the only problem of new books is that they stop you from reading the old books). This was my list of ones I really would read, or quit this year.


Not too many, because I am an impulse-mood type of read. Then there are the 2011 releases. Right now, am in a sf/ mood as well - on the queuer for faster checkout, I got two Bacigalupi books to read, Drowning City, Cloud Roads, Shades of Grey, Vellum and well too many others.

message 17: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Have you read Brust's Jhereg series? It may have the elements you enjoyed here without the grit and length.

Hirondelle I read the first three long ago, and it was fun, but somehow lost momentum. I have a couple unread books of that series, I got to pick it up sometimes. I also quite liked his first two Khavren stories, but the style, while fun, it was a bit tiresome, a little of that went a long long way.

Kelly Great and varied list you have there! Ooh ooh, I must definitely second reading the Patrick O'Brian Master and Commander series. I read the first three and fell in love with them! I also adored Atonement.

Hirondelle I have been meaning to read some of these for oh so long. I tried to make a varied list. It won´t make much of a dent on the TBR, but least trying to do something for equal opportunities for older books.

I was checking my book list, I bought Locke Lamora almost 3 years ago!

message 21: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I must definitely second reading the Patrick O'Brian Master and Commander series

Or if you want the same story with fantasy, there is His Majesty's Dragon.

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