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The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)
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The Lies of Locke Lamora > Does anyone else think the chapter quotes are odd?

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Amanda | 19 comments Every time I read one of the quotes at the beginning of the chapter, it takes me out of the world since they're real quotes from real people. Putting quotes at the beginning of chapters and sections is a well-used tool in writing, of course, but it seems so weird that the quotes in this fantasy novel aren't made up ones from the world in the book.

It's not necessarily a bad thing; I mean, I actually noticed them and paid attention to them since they aren't "quotes" Lynch wrote himself. So maybe that means they're pretty effective as a writing device in this novel?

What do you guys think? Do you like it better that Lynch came up with relevant real-world quotes, or not? Am I just the weird one for getting hung up on it?


Mike | 36 comments I think he is writing about a fantasy world that is very much inspired by our own. Many of the things his characters do and much of the motivation and realities of the characters come right from our own human condition. As such, it seems appropiate to me that he would use quotes from our reality that highlight parts of the human condition he is exploring.


Brad T. | 217 comments I almost think this is our world but in the future after technology is destroyed through war or some other calamity. The author keeps alluding to a time before.


Warren | 1275 comments I agree that it's getting to be over done.


Stan Slaughter | 359 comments Brad wrote: "I almost think this is our world but in the future after technology is destroyed through war or some other calamity. The author keeps alluding to a time before."

Kind of the way Terry Brooks did in his first Sword of Shanara book. It's a pretty standard plot device. It was used frequently in the 70's and 80's


Joseph | 145 comments I quite like the quotes...its not exactly integral to the plot or the story but it adds a nice introduction and lowers you into the story.

Joe Abercrombie does it as well.


Brian A. | 47 comments I only just got to the first chapter and was also taken aback from the Henry VIII quote. Def seemed weird to me. You create a fantasy world and then use quotes from reality? Doesn't make sense.


Nick (Whyzen) | 1260 comments Brian wrote: "I only just got to the first chapter and was also taken aback from the Henry VIII quote. Def seemed weird to me. You create a fantasy world and then use quotes from reality? Doesn't make sense."

Doesn't bother me as long as the story is good which it is. I take the quotes as a way for setting the tone of the upcoming chapter and don't have to have the quotes come from the created world. It seems something so trivial to have so many people upset by it especially when the story is told so well. I'm amazed people aren't complaining about the use of curse words from our world (yes there is a really old thread complaining about this in another fantasy book).


Dharmakirti | 690 comments First let me just say that the quotes at the beginning of a chapter are called epigraphs.

The purpose of an epigraph is to help establish the theme or, in the case of Erikson's Malazan series, it could provide some background information or exposition.

If the author is using real world quotes for the epigraph, then ask yourself "why did the author chose this quote", "how does this quote relate to the text", "what does this quote bring to mind?"


Brian A. | 47 comments I'm not upset by it at all. Just had a similar thought as the OP.

The lame similes that have pervaded the first 100 pages are starting to upset me though...as are the juvenile made up curse phrases.

It's early doors for me on this one but I may have trouble holding interest. Please tell me the story gets interesting...


Mike | 36 comments Dharmakirti wrote: "First let me just say that the quotes at the beginning of a chapter are called epigraphs.

The purpose of an epigraph is to help establish the theme or, in the case of Erikson's Malazan series,..."


Couldn't agree more (unless I was paid for the quote).


Brian A. | 47 comments I do like epigraphs(!) in general though.


message 13: by Nicholas (last edited Mar 02, 2012 07:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nicholas | 27 comments I like the quotes. He's using them to set the mood, the tone, the theme, and not as worldbuilding. Honestly, he's got enough little asides in the latter interludes to flesh out his world anyway. He puts the epigraphs at the breaks in the narrative precisely so they don't come off as being part of the world but rather juxtaposed with it.

Sure, a lot of fantasy authors just make up their own "quotes" and throw them into the epigraph, but I think Lynch was smarter. Honestly, if you're looking for a quick, pithy statement about dishonesty and deception, your made-up in-world quote is not going to outdo Shakespeare anyway.


Adrienne (addiebelle) | 226 comments While I understand the purpose of epigraphs, I often treat them as less important than the actual story. I'd rather have the text itself put me in the right frame of mind instead. The only time I actively dislike epigraphs is when they're overused; I've read some books where there are two or three quotes per chapter, and that's just too much.

I do, however, find quotes from our world out of place in fantasy books, unless there's some connection between our world and theirs. It doesn't upset me, but it's another thing that pulls me out of the world. I'd rather have nothing than a poorly-made-up quote.

Modern profanity, on the other hand, does not bother me. Technically none of these people are speaking English anyway, so if modern profanity fits the mood, go right ahead and use it.


Alex Ristea (alexristea) | 639 comments I like epigraphs and think they add a great deal to the story.

The only reason why it's a bit jarring in Lies of Locke Lamora is that it breaks my suspension of disbelief. I am fully invested in this fantastical setting, and to remind me of Shakespeare breaks the 4th wall and shatters that illusion.


running_target (running_t4rg3t) | 52 comments Joseph wrote: "I quite like the quotes...its not exactly integral to the plot or the story but it adds a nice introduction and lowers you into the story.

Joe Abercrombie does it as well."


This. I would rather authors use quotes of some meaning, either to themselves or to the story, then make up some goofy pseudo-religious in-story babble that feels tacked on. The real-world quotations don't bother me in the least.


Gary (GarySw) | 3 comments They didn't take me out of the world much, although you can include some made up ones to give a sense of the wider world the book takes place in (eg. the Dune series). The one from Mitch Williams was a little jarring but appropriate for the story at that point (as long as there isn't one from Joe Carter later on).


Lauren (lpgeorge123) | 7 comments I didn't mind the quotes at the beginning, but now I can't help but wonder what sort of made up quotes from characters that he could have had at the beginning. I'm thinking quotes from Chains would have been interesting epigraphs.

Either way, I was thinking of going back and looking at the quotes to see just how they tie in to the plot. They usually make more sense to me after I know what's going to happen. I had the tendency to skim over them while reading it the first time.


Skaw | 116 comments My favorite use of epigraphs was in Robert Aspirin's Myth series (Myth Conceptions, etc). They're usually made up by the author and always cracked me up.

For example: "In times of crisis, its always of utmost importance not to lose one's head."
M. Antoinette


Joseph | 145 comments If people suggest it takes them out of the world then GRRM's use of idioms like "I'll hear him out" etc takes me out of the world far worse than epigraphs do.


Alex Ristea (alexristea) | 639 comments Joseph wrote: "If people suggest it takes them out of the world then GRRM's use of idioms like "I'll hear him out" etc takes me out of the world far worse than epigraphs do."

Why? They're not speaking English, they're speaking the Common Tongue. "I'll hear him out" is the best way to translate that into our language.

However, it's an entirely different matter if you start using metaphors to airplanes and vending machines in a medieval fantasy novel.


Lauren (lpgeorge123) | 7 comments I've always liked it when the stories include idiomatic expressions, or things like world-specific swear words. It doesn't seem jarring to me. In fact I think it makes the scenery and situations come more to life in my mind. As long as the reader understands what is said, it's a bit fun.

And for those same reasons I like made up quotes from characters within the story. Adds more depth and world building.


Joseph | 145 comments It was more that its a modern, particularly American orientated idiom; just get flashbacks to those High School type shows when I read something like that. :P

I honestly have no problem with the quotes, and don't understand why there's such a fuss around it.


Ryan (Sweeneyowns) | 43 comments I LOVE the chapter quotes. I think they are really cool thematically, and they have never taken me "out of the story." I have also come across some of my favorite quotes this way. I think its cool in books that do this if they use real quotes, or in world quotes, or a combination of the two, i think it just adds flavor.


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