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The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)
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The Lies of Locke Lamora > A Protagonist in Need of a Want?

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message 1: by aldenoneil (last edited Feb 29, 2012 09:09AM) (new) - added it

aldenoneil | 1000 comments Awkward topic title aside, I think I've put my finger on why I'm not connecting with this particular book. In musicals, the main character will sing an "I want" song at or around the beginning. I don't think I know what Locke's would be.

Of course he wants to succeed as a thief, and there are hints he could follow Chains's plan of (view spoiler), and there are hints of a lost love, but none of these seem to be his driving force. In the past timeline it's even less clear, as he's mostly led around by his mentors. For a character whose name is in the title, he seems to be too much of a background player, or, if you will, a member of the chorus.

Anyone else feel this way?


Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments He wants to steal. He thinks he's smarter and slyer than other people and he enjoys proving this by getting one over on them. I can actually picture a great Disney villain song on this theme, cos y'know Locke's not a very nice guy.


Of course his motivations change as the story goes on, but, spoilers....


Vance | 357 comments Halfway through and I can see what aldononeil is talking about. But, I never really thought of it any more than I thought about the characters' ultimate motivations in Ocean's 11, etc. But, as Kate points out, I will wait to see what develops.


Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 720 comments aldenoneil wrote: "there are hints he could follow Chains's plan of upsetting Capa Barsavi's rule"

I haven't read the second book yet, so I don't know if this is addressed, but are Chain's motivations for that ever explained?


aldenoneil | 1000 comments Kate wrote: "Of course his motivations change as the story goes on, but, spoilers...."

That's what I assumed, and I guess I'm a bit frustrated that said motivations take so long to get to.

The stealing stuff is a motivation, certainly, but he's already achieved all that. He's at the top of his game when the present timeline story starts. That would set him up nicely for a fall, I suppose, but I'm not in a place to see if that's where things are headed yet.


Joseph | 145 comments Well its interesting as Locke himself says that although Chains taught them all how to steal brilliantly in this way, he never actually said what to do with all the money, and the Bastards admit they have no idea what to do with it all, which is why its kept in a rather large vault.

From reading it I've always believed that Locke does what he does because he enjoys it and is good at it.
But most of all, he loves doing it with his friends, it was never about the money, and never will be with him, its the experience and thrill of the chase, which is also one of his many many flaws.

I think that's why I like him so much. There is also another factor regarding a certain lady love of his, perhaps that's why he does it. But this hasn't been explored (yet - *crosses fingers for The Republic of Thieves*).
There's also more about Locke's personality and motives in the second book, but I won't give anything away. :)

You can see how much I love this series. :P


Mark Nuhfer | 32 comments Joe wrote:

I haven't read the second book yet, so I don't know if this is addressed, but are Chain's motivat..."


Yes


kvon | 538 comments Joseph wrote: "he never actually said what to do with all the money, and the Bastards admit they have no idea what to do with it all, which is why its kept in a rather large vault."

This is the image of the book I remember most clearly--the huge vault, and the young boys with no clue what to do with their winnings.
How often do we do stuff just because that's what we've always done?


Warren | 1275 comments Having a Hiro Protagonist is always a good idea.


Amanda | 19 comments aldenoneil wrote: "For a character whose name is in the title, he seems to be too much of a background player, or, if you will, a member of the chorus."

That's a really interesting point that didn't really occur to me as I've been reading this. Although the book is about Locke, it seems more like a TV show that's composed of an ensemble cast rather than focusing on the motivations of one character. Locke is the subject of the piece for the most part, but he doesn't really do anything without the help and support of his friends.

I actually like this about the book because each of the characters feels so distinct and different from one another, so I want to see as much of them as possible. I don't really mind that Locke doesn't have some huge motivation, either, because they all seem like kids who got swept up into something that's beyond their control. It seems like a depiction of life, to me, albeit a somewhat unrealistic one. They're just living their lives, and those lives happen to revolve around stealing from people.


terpkristin | 2844 comments aldenoneil wrote: "Awkward topic title aside, I think I've put my finger on why I'm not connecting with this particular book. In musicals, the main character will sing an "I want" song at or around the beginning. I don't think I know what Locke's would be."

This might be what I've been struggling to put my finger on as to why the book isn't drawing me in like I think it should be. Not that it's bad, but there's no carrot in front of me to keep me reading and see how Locke is meeting his goals.

Or maybe I'm just weird. :)


Adrienne (addiebelle) | 226 comments terpkristin wrote: "Or maybe I'm just weird. :) "

Nope, I feel the same way. I did enjoy the book, but I didn't feel any strong attachment to it, and now after reading this thread I think Locke's lack of main goal is the reason why.

Or maybe we're both just weird.


Melissa | 48 comments terpkristin wrote: "aldenoneil wrote: "Awkward topic title aside, I think I've put my finger on why I'm not connecting with this particular book. In musicals, the main character will sing an "I want" song at or around..."

I'm glad someone has been able to articulate what I've been feeling. I'm about a third of the way through, and I still don't know what Locke's motivations are. He doesn't even feel like the main character. I don't think I'm getting the story from Locke's point of view. This isn't told in the first person of course, but even in a third person story, you get insight into why the character does or is the way he is.

I tried reading this book a few years ago, but couldn't get into it. I'm further along now, but I feel like I'm getting only the surface- there doesn't seem to be any depth yet.


JRush | 64 comments I'm sitting at 50% and I don't want to keep going but I didn't know why. The story is fun, I don't have an issue with the writing or characters, I just didn't want to flip the page... This topic is exactly my problem. It's a shame really, I want to like it and everything's there, almost.

Now I don't know if I should read on or start Diamond Age.


message 15: by aldenoneil (last edited Feb 29, 2012 09:37PM) (new) - added it

aldenoneil | 1000 comments JRush wrote: "I'm sitting at 50% and I don't want to keep going but I didn't know why. The story is fun, I don't have an issue with the writing or characters, I just didn't want to flip the page... This topic is..."

Well, things are getting better for me, if only slightly, (I'm at (view spoiler)), and others have said the ending really picks up, so pushing on might be worth it. That said, I can readily recommend The Diamond Age.


terpkristin | 2844 comments Ditto aldenoneil on the rec for The Diamond Age. And I don't think I'm as far as him, I'm at 26%. It's not that it's not good, it's that I'm not sucked in. Alas.


Noel Baker | 364 comments aldenoneil wrote: "Awkward topic title aside, I think I've put my finger on why I'm not connecting with this particular book. In musicals, the main character will sing an "I want" song at or around the beginning. I d..."

But this gives him a more authentic feel doesn't it? Are you the type of person that has to have specific targets and goals? I prefer a more laid back approach to life. How does that Doris Day song go?


Warren | 1275 comments I was reminded of the movie "The Sting"
(Paul Newman and Robert Redford).
In this case he did have a use for the money.
Maybe just not one you can relate to.


message 19: by Dezmond (last edited Mar 01, 2012 01:15PM) (new) - added it

Dezmond Finney | 11 comments I think that Locke got what his 'want' early in the book. Then loses it.(view spoiler) This is an odd way of writing it (and probably not the best way) but it wasn't a huge hurdle for me. It's especially clear when I started the second book. I think it would have been clearer if some of the stuff from the second book had been in the first.

I also think that thieving is a coping mechanism for him. If you've just read the first book Locke may seem too flat a character to be analyzed so deeply. Reading the beginning of the second book seems to round Locke out quite a bit more. (view spoiler) I wish more of the second book had been in the first.


Noel Baker | 364 comments All Locke wants is to survive and acquire wealth whilst doing it. Survival in that society is not an easily achieved goal. Sometimes our own cosy existences make us lose sight of this.


Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 720 comments Mark wrote: "Joe wrote:

I haven't read the second book yet, so I don't know if this is addressed, but are Chain's motivat..."

Yes"


Thanks! Guess I have to get on that then.


Brad T. | 217 comments I really really liked the book but I found the attempts at world building to be clumsy. There would be great story intersected by the history of something. I think it kept this from being a great book.


Heather Hay (GraphicNovelLibraryDork) | 7 comments I'm feeling like there must be something weird with me because I just can't seem to care about any of these characters. I might just start reading it over from the beginning. I'm missing something.


Drew Miller | 9 comments I really felt through this like I not only SAW the motivations of Locke (and his companions), but got to watch them mature and change as the book went on. In the beginning, he just likes to lie and steal. "Smarter and cleverer than the rest".

But by the end, Chains motivations are shown to be in concert with Locke's, (view spoiler)


Joshua Hansford | 52 comments I think Bug nailed the want when he said, "thieving is F*cking fun."


Mike | 36 comments Yes, I think their motivation at the beginning (I am 43% in) is simply because they like it, and they find their identity in thieving. Recall, when one of the characters is introduced during one of the interludes Locke has a real problem with seeing that character as a member of Chains' gang because they were not a thief before they came to the Temple. These guys are thieves and so they steal, just like they breathe because they are human, what else would you expect them to do?

I do agree, however, that this story is not so much character driven as story driven. I prefer more focus on character driven books, but maybe that will come. If the series is going to be seven, he has a lot of space to make that happen.


Adrienne (addiebelle) | 226 comments Joshua wrote: "I think Bug nailed the want when he said, "thieving is F*cking fun.""

That's just not enough of a want for me to get really attached since I prefer strongly character-driven stories. The majority of people would choose having fun over not having fun. What is it specifically that these guys want, other than having fun? If I can't answer that question, I can't really root for the characters.


AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 1311 comments In a world where having 'fun' will get you executed I fail to see why anyone would continue when their total wealth exceeds that of some of the nobles. That point did bug me about the book :)


Boots (Rubberboots) | 499 comments I was under the impression that they were rebelling against the system of corruption that are causing the disparities between the rich and poor, doing whatever they can to undermine the system without getting caught, all while having fun at the same time. To me their motivation is more about raging against the machine then it is about "thieving is F*cking fun", although they do seem to enjoy it. They are attacking the bank accounts of the rich/ruling classes (the 1%?) who are repressing the masses, without the motivation of either greed or violence. They are like an occupy Camorr movement without the hipsters.

Anyway I thought the character of the characters was pretty well defined early on and even though they grew and developed as the story progressed their personalities stayed consistent throughout the novel. Considering this is the first book in a series I thought it was a damn good introduction of the character Locke Lamora.


Napoez3 | 158 comments I understand what aldenoneil means.... At first it was hard for me to see a motivation for Lock and the Gentleman Bastards, at one moment I thought that Chains wanted to destroy the system that Capa Barsavi had in the city and they knew this and they continued with his ambitions.

Then (half way in) some things happen and Lock gets his big motivation to do what he does best...


aldenoneil | 1000 comments Napoez3 wrote: "Then (half way in) some things happen and Lock gets his big motivation to do what he does best..."

Yes, things certainly improve by the second half.


Alex Ristea (alexristea) | 639 comments I think this passage from the book sums it up nicely:

“I only steal because my dear old family needs the money to live!"
Locke Lamora made this proclamation with his wine glass held high; he and the other Gentleman Bastards were seated at the old witchwood table. . . . The others began to jeer.
"Liar!" they chorused
"I only steal because this wicked world won't let me work an honest trade!" Calo cried, hoisting his own glass.
"LIAR!"
"I only steal," said Jean, "because I've temporarily fallen in with bad company."
"LIAR!"
At last the ritual came to Bug; the boy raised his glass a bit shakily and yelled, "I only steal because it's heaps of fucking fun!"
"BASTARD!”


Locke just really enjoys thieving. It's what he grew up doing, is all he knows, and is damn good at it. Towards the end, we see his compassion and how he really just wants to steal, and not be a murderer, etc.


running_target (running_t4rg3t) | 52 comments I agree with everyone who has suggested that Locke's (and the rest of the Gentlemen Bastards) motivation is to outwit everyone who thinks themselves powerful and profit from doing so. They do it because that is all they know how to do. They were saved from a short life of petty crime by Chains who gave them everything they needed to survive, training in a wide variety of skills and arts and, it appears, the love of a real family.

The Gentlemen Bastards are loyal to each other and in opposition to the powers-that-be on both sides of the Secret Peace. They are motivated by their own supreme awesomeness. . . at least that's how they see it.


Tina (javabird) | 348 comments JRush wrote: "I'm sitting at 50% and I don't want to keep going but I didn't know why. The story is fun, I don't have an issue with the writing or characters, I just didn't want to flip the page... This topic is..."

I'm having the same problem with this book. I'm about halfway through the audio version and the narrator is simply fantastic, which is probably the only reason I got this far. His Chains reminds me of Charles Laughton. I'm trying to decide if I will "lem" the book. I think Scott Lynch really has a gift for language, but the character of Locke just isn't that interesting to me. Incidentally the book reminds me more of Oliver Twist so far...


AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 1311 comments I particularly did not like the one line where Lynch wrote something like "Chains taught them how to steal money but not what to do with it." That seems to be pretty crazy to me. I don't believe someone would have to be taught how to spend money.


Alex Ristea (alexristea) | 639 comments AndrewP, sure they do. Look at all the people during the financial crisis who didn't know what to do with their money and paid for it with their homes.

I don't want to bring up that particular discussion here, but at some point in our lives we learn how to handle money, whether at school or from our parents. The Gentlemen Bastards did not have the privilege of that advice.


AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 1311 comments That's for people who don't know how to manage the little money they have. Here we are talking the exact opposite, people who have a vast amount of money who never have to borrow and can pay cash for almost anything.

I guess the skill they would have had to learn would be how to spend large amounts of money without drawing attention to themselves. The obvious way would be what eventually happened in the end of the book anyway.


Almira (Imbre) | 17 comments One of the really interesting things about the series is that Locke's motivations seem to be part of the "reveal" that happens long-term. In the middle of the second book we are still learning about what Chains taught him and made of him, and each little piece we get gives us a better view of who Locke is. I agree that is makes the initial few chapters harder to "get hooked on" but I have to say I'm really enjoying that Lynch is playing hard-to-get with Locke's true self.


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