Alyssia Cooke's Reviews > The Invisible Girl

The Invisible Girl by Peter Barham
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's review
Jul 13, 2011

really liked it

The Lies of Locke Lamora is a book which my brother picked up and after reading it himself started to beg me to read it as well. Originally I was very sceptical as he was raving over it and we have very different tastes in reading material and I wasn't too sure of it at all (he tends to prefer action shoot-outs!). However, after repeated nagging I decided to pick it up if only to shut him the hell up and I was oh so pleasantly surprised!! It wasn't just that I enjoyed the book, I loved the book and I ended up writing so much of it in my quotes book that I might as well have just photocopied the book! Now, I very much doubt I will do the book justice in my review but I will give it my best shot!!!

The novel is based around Locke Lamora and is set both in the past where you are following him as a child learning how to be a thief and in the present where he is an adult. This is a fantasy books and it follows his adventures through Camorr with the group 'The Gentlemen Bastards' as they con every person they can to make their fortune. In Locke's words, the city of Camorr is there because the Gods love crime; 'Pickpockets rob the common folk, merchants rob anyone they can dupe, Capa Barsavi robs the robbers and the common folk, the lesser nobles rob nearly everyone, and the Duke Nicovante occasionally runs off with his army and robs the shit out of Tal Verarr or Jeran, not to mention what he does to his own nobles and his common folk.' It is a city the Gentlemen Bastards can thrive in.

The story follows Locke who becomes an orphan at an early age and gets taken in by the Thiefmaker who buys all orphan children he takes a fancy to before they are sold as slaves. From page one you know that the Thiefmaker is selling him to Chains, the Eyeless Priest because 'if I can't sell him to you, I'm going to have to slit his throat and throw him in the bay. And I'm going to have to do it tonight.' You very quickly learn that Chains is as much of a conman as the Thiefmaker just better at it, because whilst the Thiefmaker never pretends to be anything but a thief, the Eyeless Priest's whole life is make believe. He isn't blind and he doesn't chain himself to his temple twenty four hours a day, he isn't even a priest of the doctrine he states, the doctrine he is a priest of is a heresy; the Crooked Warden, the God of thieves and malefactors. And Chains is going to teach Locke to be a 'Gentleman Bastard', the best of the best in conmen and one of his group. Otherwise noted as hustlers who can pass in any form of society, speak any number of languages and cook as if for kings.

The story concerning Locke as an adult follows the same kind of line, except that now he is the head of the Gentleman Bastards and he is the one running the organisation of the scams and plots that they are carrying out on the nobility, whilst pretending to Capa Barsavi that they are only robbing the common folk and therefore only need to pay small amounts of taxes to him. But in addition to this there is the new threat of the Grey King who is threatening the order of Camorr, and killing off the Capa's most loyal thieves. It all gets rather complicated for Locke and there are so many twists and turns in the plot that you wouldn't believe me if I tried to tell you, and you'd kill me for telling you anyway!

There are many different characters throughout the novel but the main sections would be the Gentlemen Bastards, the nobility, and the Capa's people including his family.

The Gentlemen Bastards (past and present) comprises of Chains, Locke, Jean, the Sanza twins (Calo and Galdo) and Bug. Chains is the original leader and the one who teaches them how to hussle and to behave as if they are members of any class or race. Locke is the main focus through the book, he is the Thorn of Camorr and hates it as the Thorn of Camorr is meant to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor and a ghost that walks through walls. Locke on the other hand can barely use a sword, and although he does steal from the rich this is because nobody else is worth stealing from and the poor never see a penny. Jean is his right hand man, the muscle behind the operation and the one who time after time saves Locke from certain death. The Sanza twins are probably the most loveable rogues ever created by an author and Bug, well Bug is the apprentice, the novice and well, you'll just have to read it.

"'Bug,' Calo said, 'Locke is our brother and our friend and our love for him has no bounds. But the four most fatal words in the Therin language are 'Locke would appreciate it'.'
'Rivalled only by 'Locke taught me a new trick', added Galdo.
'The only person who gets away with Locke Lamora games...'
' Locke Lamora...'
'...because we think the gods are saving him up for a really big death. Something with knives and hot irons...'
'...and fifty thousand cheering spectators.'

The nobility are mainly the people who the Gentlemen bastards are scamming in one form or another but the main ones you meet are the Lorenzo's who are Locke's main targets throughout the story set in the present.

Capa Barsavi is a genius character as he's kind of the king of the thieves in the area. All of the gangs report to him and he collects a tithe from them according to what money they have managed to steal that month. He took the city by force well before Locke was born and was the one who set up the Secret Peace, ensuring that his thieves will only rob the common folk and that their are no thieves except those under him.

The structure is actually very clever, although nothing particularly special or new in terms of structure or style. It is set out approximately half and half between the present and the past with a chapter of one being followed by a chapter of the other which the occasional page of history thrown in. This style of writing usually massively annoys me because I tend to get easily confused as to which story I'm in at any given moment in time, but somehow Scott Lynch has avoided this and I don't know how if I'm honest. I found myself gripped by both stories and I always knew without fail which story I was in at the time. The only thing that annoyed me at times was the fact that Scott Lynch is far too good at narrative writing and knows exactly when to cut of one story and go back to the other, which meant that I was often left desperate to know what was going to happen next and peeved that it had changed. But equally, I'd soon get completely gripped in the other side of the story and be just as peeved when he changed back!

===My Opinion===
I was enthralled from cover to cover, my excitement even spilled over to my boyfriend who has got so fed up with me yammering on about the excellence of the book that he has agreed to read it! Scott Lynch has got everything right. His character development is perfect, his plot is complex but not too difficult to grasp or to keep hold of even when it is split into two separate stories.

But more than this, Scott Lynch has the true ability to make you become one with the story, you manage to get so far into the story and so attached to the characters that you actually start to believe in their morals and doubt your own. You live and breathe with the characters, and coming from someone who quite often gets so involved in books that she forgets the real world, this was one which had this particular effect more than any other. You know a book is far too good when you end up questioning your own morals and not for the better.

This is a book I would more than recommend, if I had the power to do so I would insist and order you to read it, but I can't so I am only left to recommend it. It is a book of conspiracies and lies, and everyone seems to be lying to everyone else but it is clever, witty and so well thought out it is untrue. Some of the things Scott Lynch has managed to think up and some of the twists and plot points that he includes would surprise even the people who are amazingly good at guessing plots. I would not have thought that this was my kind of book until I read it under duress, and now I can't stop singing it's praises. All I can say is, even if you aren't sure, give it a go - it WILL surprise you.

I don't think there's much more I can say. Well, actually, I could but it would mean going on for another thousand words and giving away the entire plot and quoting all of my favourite parts. Wait, did I say another thousand words? I could probably do several thousand words! And in the process I would ensure that you would all hate me forever. So I'm probably better quitting while I'm ahead and just stopping now whilst saying that I would massively recommend this book! If you buy it new on Amazon it will cost you £5.99 but second hand you'll find it from just a single penny (plus postage). If you make that investment; and I do suggest that you do, it will probably be the best bargain of the year.
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Joanne is this review in the wrong place, it seems to ber about a completely different book

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