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Group Reads Archive > February Epic Fantasy Book for Discussion: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (Spoilers)

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 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) February's epic fantasy book for group discussion is The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1) by Scott Lynch .

Here are some question prompts for discussion. They are totally optional. Feel free to answer any of the questions below. You can do so while you're reading or when you're done.

1. Setting: What are your thoughts about the setting of this book?

2. First Impression: Were you wowed at reading the first page of this story? Or less than impressed?

3. Characters: What do you think about the characters of this novel? Do you like or dislike them? Were they well-drawn?

4. Plot: Does this story have a strong plot? Do you like the plot?

5. Pacing: How does the pacing strike you with this novel? Too fast, too slow, perfect?

6. Underlying themes: What were the underlying themes in your opinion?

7. Overall impression: Did you like this story? Why or why not? What did you or didn’t you like about this story?

8. Rating: Give this story a rating, either on a scale of 1-10 or stars.

9. Would you read more books by this author? Can you recommend books like this to people who enjoyed this novel?

Happy reading!


message 2: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) I read this late last year, so I might as well start it out, even though it's still early...

1. Setting: What are your thoughts about the setting of this book?

I loved it.. It's not your typical medieval castle type town, it's something much more than that. With the advanced science and alchemical lights and things like that, it's almost "steampunk" in a way. Heck, maybe it is "steampunk"... I just don't know enough about that genre to classify a book into it.

2. First Impression: Were you wowed at reading the first page of this story? Or less than impressed?

I think I was impressed, from what I remember. It caught me right from the get go, and held my interest. I don't know if I was necessarily wowed, but I definitely liked what I was seeing.

3. Characters: What do you think about the characters of this novel? Do you like or dislike them? Were they well-drawn?

I love the characters, I think they are very very well drawn. The interaction between them is priceless.

4. Plot: Does this story have a strong plot? Do you like the plot?

Definitely and definitely. Definitely.

5. Pacing: How does the pacing strike you with this novel? Too fast, too slow, perfect?

I think it was just about perfect. I was never bored, and it never felt rushed... Prefect.

6. Underlying themes: What were the underlying themes in your opinion?

I'm horrible at questions like these... Pass!

7. Overall impression: Did you like this story? Why or why not? What did you or didn’t you like about this story?

In case you can't tell yet, I loved it! The characters, the plot, the setting, it all added up into an unforgettable and emotional experience.

8. Rating: Give this story a rating, either on a scale of 1-10 or stars.

9 stars.

9. Would you read more books by this author? Can you recommend books like this to people who enjoyed this novel?

Definitely. Actually, I'm currently reading book two in the series, Red Seas Under Red Skies. I'm about 150 pages in and in love already. And if you liked this, I think you'll also love Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series.


message 3: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments aaahhh! I can't touch this thread for at least two more weeks. :(


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Thanks for reminding me to mark it for spoilers, MrsJoseph!


message 5: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) I hope mine didn't have spoilers in it! I tried to avoid them and make it more of a general impressions post.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Dawn it's fine if you have spoilers. That's why I shouldn't have forgotten to mark the thread for them. This is a spoiler-happy zone! Thanks for participating in the discussion!


message 7: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) Oh I'll post spoilers eventually.. I just was going to wait for February to actually come, to give people a chance to read/finish it so they can look at the spoilers :)


message 8: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments :) I guess I might as well start the book(s) but I wanted to finish the ones I'm currently reading.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Poor MrsJoseph. :(


message 10: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments lol


message 11: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Cotterill (rachelcotterill) I haven't read this one yet, though it has been recommended to me, so I'd better get on with finishing the book I'm reading at the moment! Still, it's not even February yet ;)

Rachel


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm going to write my very first review this weekend and it's going to be of Lies of Locke Lamora...lol..is it lame that I'm kind of excited? :)


message 13: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I had absolutely no plans on reading this book. I used to see it all the time at my book store. But now I'm glad that it's been brought to my immediate attention. It looks good.


message 14: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) It is good, definitely an instant favorite (for me). I gotta admit, the series name (Gentleman Bastards) was what finally sold me on reading it. Not sure why, it just appealed to me :)


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Grant, I'm excited for you. I have had this book in my tbr pile for going on three years now!


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

All right I finished my first review. I can see where it's going to be slightly addictive :)


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Reviewing is highly addictive, Grant. I started out blogging (which I still do), and talking about books is one of my favorite things to do. Now I just post my book ramblings in my reviews. :)


message 18: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 730 comments I deciding to join in on this read, mostly because I liked the title...lol. But I have to say I am happily surprised. I am really enjoying the book, the character of Locke and Jean, the bad guys, the world build, all of it! A lot deeper a read than I expected it would be.


message 19: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Ok, I'm about 15% in. I'm finding it slow going. I keep getting bored and grabbing a PNR or something.

I'm not yet caring about Locke or anyone yet... when does that start?


message 20: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I don't know how far I'm into it yet, as I'm listening to it on my iPod at work. I'm about an hour in, anyway, which is less than you are, MrsJoseph.

I can see how you don't yet care for Locke. It's the literary sort of way it's written, I think, that might be the cause for this. But I'm not sure if you're supposed to care about Locke just yet so much as learn about him and his childhood so that you'll end up with a better understanding of who he is once we get to the good stuff. I could be wrong, though.

So far, I am enjoying it. The narrator is great and the writing if fantastic!


message 21: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 730 comments I am almost done, and I am really surprising myself at how much I like it. I think I kind of assumed it was going to be a lighter read than it is, so I am happy to be mistaken as the plot twists keep surprising me.


message 22: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Cotterill (rachelcotterill) Hmm, I've started it, not really won over yet... I guess it's what MrsJoseph said, I'm just finding that it starts really slowly. Those who've finished - does it pick up the pace a bit later??


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

I loved the novel but I'm too lazy to rewrite/word my review so I'm just going to post it here :) lol

9 out of 10!

Upon finishing The Lies of Locke Lamora, I immediately stood, stretched and grinned wildly at the novel wishing I could give Scott Lynch a solid and well deserved fist bump. The man got it right. All of the things that made me fall in love with fantasy were contained within The Lies of Locke Lamora and to feel that joy and wonder and depth again was a blessing indeed.

Locke Lamora is an orphan and a thief from birth with a gift for getting himself into trouble in the most fantastic manner possible. He's cunning,dashing and above all incorrigible....the very image of a rogue in the making. Within a short period of time, Locke finds that he's become too great of a liability for his master and is sold (narrowly avoiding death) into the city of Camorr's most exclusive gang. Enter, the Gentleman Bastards, a handpicked group of highly trained con-men who are as talented as they are endearing. Calo and Galdo Sansa, the rakish twins with a love for gambling and eyes for women. Jean Tannen, the orphaned son of wealthy merchants with a mind for numbers, a demon's temper and a possibly god-given talent for violence. And later in the series, Bertilion "Bug" Gadek, the young apprentice of the Gentleman Bastards who wishes nothing more than to be recogized as a full fledged Bastard by his brothers. The Bastards are led by the eccentric Father Chains, a nearly lifelong con artist who has perfected his craft secretly and wishes nothing more than to train a cadre of thieves to carry on his legacy to the future and beyond.

The training that Locke and his brothers receive over the coming years is as strenuous as it is diverse. Their education is one of deception and misdirection, of disguise and deceipt and they use these tools to wreak havoc among the nobility of Camorr, stealing from them shamelessly and insuring that the nobles own prideful silence at being taken in a confidence game would keep the Bastards from being know, much less caught. Locke becomes the Thorn of Camorr, a shadowy thief of nearly mythical proportions whispered about in backrooms, feared by the nobility and hunted by the Spider, faceless commander of the Duke's secret police. All of Camorr must beware the Thorn, even the criminal underworld's feared ruler, Capa Barsavi, who is Locke's very own garrista/boss!

Ultimately, The Lies of Locke Lamora is a story of the bonds of love and loyalty forged between friends, the torture and pain of innocence lost and the lengths to which people will go to find vengeance as well as justice. Along the way, we're treated to the witty banter and good natured ribbing of the Gentleman Bastards and it's oh so hard to not fall in love with their roguish charms.

The novel is a fast paced, easy read which seldom if ever becomes stale and is the perfect pace from beginning to end. It is the first in what is to be a trilogy by Scott Lynch however it could be easily be read as a stand alone novel since it has a very gratifying and definite conclusion. There are certainly plenty of open storylines for future novels however all the major plot developments are neatly and pleasantly tied up by novels end making for a very, Very satisfying conclusion.

I would recommend this highly to any fan of the fantasy genre or of high adventure. I'll leave you with this:

"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!"


*Grins* Come on. You gotta love it.


message 24: by Clay (new)

Clay (cdkorns) Good morning fellow fantasy aficionados. I suppose I am something of a "lurker" as this is the first time I have opted to post any sort of comment. I am a huge fan of fantasy (especially in the vein of G.R.R.M, Steven Erickson, Ian Esselmont and J.R.R.T, etc.). However, I began Lies of Locke Lamora literally hating it ... In fact, I almost considered not finishing it. But I have to admit that (around 35 to 40% in - reading it on Kindle) I came around a little bit and strted to see where all the forum's love was coming from. I hate to say it, but at the beginning I found Lynch's dialog a little adolescent and forced while feeling his plot was uninspired and his pacing weak. But now that there is a genuine antagonist present, I am a little more engrossed. And I realized last night that there is no way I'll be putting this book down. Somewhere along the line I began to care about these characters ... just not sure where.


message 25: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) If I remember correctly, I felt connected to Locke right from the beginning. But that's typical for me. I tend to connect more to characters we meet first as an adolescent and see grow into an adult. But everyone is different!


message 26: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments I agree with Dawn mostly - I normally feel the same way. I think it's the back and forth between adulthood and childhood. That and the fact he plays confidence games.

I'm currently at a point where he is spending more time as a child so it is easier to like him.


message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

Welcome to the group, Clay. You outta post more often. You have an interesting pov


message 28: by Clay (new)

Clay (cdkorns) Thanks Grant. I always enjoy reading your guys' posts as well and really appreciate everyone's point of view. After all, this is where I've discovered many of my new favorite authors. Guess I'm kinda shy ... I just hadn't seen a topic yet I simply HAD to post about until Locke Lamora came up. And let me re-state that, initially, I hated it ... but Lynch has begun to bring me around. I'm not saying I'm 100% on board the Lamora bandwagon just yet. But as I rapidly approach the halfway point, I'm feeling more and more for these characters. It could merely be that I just came off Ian C. Esslemont's Return of The Crimson Guard which has a completely different feel over-all. But I'm slowly seeing the lure of Camorra and it's resident hooligans: the Gentleman Bastards.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Lol well most of your fav authors top my list as well. Add patrick Rothfuss to the list and you'll 4 out of 5 of my top 5. The second half of the book really picks up. Judging from your taste I think you'll end up really enjoying it.


message 30: by Clay (new)

Clay (cdkorns) It looks like I have already placed The Name of the Wind in my "to-read" list (must have been from all the good things I've been hearing about it in this forum). I'll have to move it up the queue and give Patrick a whirl sometime very soon. Thanks Grant!


message 31: by Clay (new)

Clay (cdkorns) In an effort to steer this conversation back to the intended topic, I will say that one of the gripes I had when beginning The Lies of Locke Lamora was that very little insight seemed to be given regarding the motivation of the titular character. Granted, he was only 5 or 6 years old ... but even later we are only given glimpses into his psyche/motivations. Possibly, that will change as the story progresses. Or maybe Lynch wanted his audience to discover Locke in their own way rather than via his own narrow descriptions. I'm not sure. In any case, that was one of the things which put me off at first. We'll see how it goes as I read further.


message 32: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (last edited Feb 03, 2011 12:04PM) (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Clay wrote: "In an effort to steer this conversation back to the intended topic, I will say that one of the gripes I had when beginning The Lies of Locke Lamora was that very little insight seemed..."

I think this could be one of my issues as well. One of my favorite books stars a child thief: Take a Thief. We meet Skif about the same age (or a little older) than we meet Locke. The reader spends a lot of time with Skif as a child - getting to know his impoverished background and the reasons how & why he became a thief - so I think that helps to understand what make Skif tick.

Locke seems not to think very much past the "right now" and at the point I'm currently at, we still know nothing about him.


message 33: by Maggie (last edited Feb 04, 2011 09:14AM) (new)

Maggie K | 730 comments Although I am really enjoying this novel-I have the same gripe re motivation. I wondered this about the other 'bastards' as well...Why are they getting into this with such relish?
Also the female 'bstard' Sabetha is mentiond a LOT, but never is in a scene...seems like she should be???-


message 34: by Clay (new)

Clay (cdkorns) I agree, Maggie. Which is one of the reasons I can't help thinking the story may be written as it is on purpose. As the interlude "flashbacks" keep occurring within the narrative, more and more character history is unearthed which could lead the reader to certain bits of information which should only be revealed at a specific time in relation to the telling of the story. As for the noticeable absence of Sabetha, I personally think we may not meet her until book two. I'm not sure, but she seems to have the feel of a character Lynch plans to introduce after the events unfolding in Lies ... of course, I could be completely off base - but that's what makes plot speculation so fun! :-)


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

I think folks are trying to delve to deep. If you're 5 or 6, homeless and starving, do you really need more motivation than that to steal to survive? As the bastards age they're raised in a world that literally revolves around thievery. How much deep psyche defining background can a 5 year old have? Lol. They're guided by their mentor and like any young male, each boy wishes to excel and prove his worth through feats of one upmanship. Given Locke's penchant for huge elaborate schemes it seems obvious that he's a bit of an overachiever. Lol...to say the least. Anyways, bottom line is when you only know one thing in the whole world and daily life revolves around said thing, why does motivation come into the picture? It's simply the Bastards' reality.


message 36: by Clay (new)

Clay (cdkorns) There is a lot to what you're saying Grant. For the most part, I agree that a novel can be studied too deeply for the reader's good. In fact, I often privately take issue with people who do just that sort of thing. However, in Lies, it was something I found notably absent. Yes, as a child, Locke merely stole to survive. And yes, later, Chains fashioned him into a finely tuned scam artist machine. But what I find missing from the narrative is some form of inner monologue. We are introduced to these wonderful characters within this new and exciting world almost exclusively through the use of dialog. Don't get me wrong, I love good dialog (I can watch a Coen Brothers movie any day of the week), but I feel that limiting the reader's knowledge of these characters to strictly dialog may be one of my most profound hang-ups with this story. I don't even know if that makes sense - lol. I guess I just wish we were treated to a little more insight into the psychology of these characters ... but, once again, maybe Lynch is doing that on purpose. I should probably save my critiquing until I am finished - lol.


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Lol I'm quite the Coen bros fan myself! Inner dialogue is a tool that I don't think Lynch believes in. It's absent in the sequel as well in fact. I do actually get where you're coming from, however, I don't feel that Lynch wants you to fully understand where Locke is coming from. I think our knowledge of his psyche/motivations are revealed time through his exploits in the latter portion of the novel. I don't want to spoil anything for you but let me know when you're done and I'll cite some examples.


message 38: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Clay wrote: "There is a lot to what you're saying Grant. For the most part, I agree that a novel can be studied too deeply for the reader's good. In fact, I often privately take issue with people who do just th..."


I think this is exactly what I'm looking for. I can say that the longer I spend with Chains (who is my favorite so far :) the more I'm propelled along. I'm expecting good things because Grant likes it so much - and because I've enjoyed what I have read of Lynch.


message 39: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Cotterill (rachelcotterill) I picked this up again last night after on the enthusiasm here (especially Grant), and I'm enjoying it a lot more this time. I just found the first couple of chapters slow.

Rachel


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Lol now I'm feeling pressure! Hope the book doesn't disappoint


message 41: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments lol!


message 42: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (Willowpoint) | 5 comments I am about a third of the way into this book and I would like to start out by saying this is the first book club I have ever participated in (online or otherwise). I joined in this one, because the book looked like something I would really enjoy, and I have to say that I am. However, if I were writing a book review I could only give this book 2 or 3 stars, even though it deserves better. The reason? There is a fly in the ointment so to speak and that is I agree with Clay's comments from Feb 3. “at the beginning I found Lynch's dialog a little adolescent and forced." By adolescent I assume Clay is referring to the gratuitous use of swearwords. In some places it seemed like the dialogue was designed solely so foul language could be used. It did nothing to add to the story line, rather it felt like and interruption to me, or as Clay said, forced. Just because you can do something (ie: swear) doesn’t mean you should. If I hadn’t wanted to participate in this book club I might have put the book down for good by the end of the first chapter, it just was not flowing for me. Now I'm not a prude about swearing, I've even been known to swear myself from time to time, but it just does not feel right here. As I get farther into the book, the swearing seems to be toned down a little, and when there is some, it seems to be feel more natural in the story line rather than gratuitous. I don’t want to end a negative note, I would like to re-state that I a really enjoying the story line so far.


message 43: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) I agree with Nicola. And even if there was a lot of swearing... They are thieves. They call themselves bastards. Gotta expect a little roughness around the edges. The dialogue felt very realistic to me, but I too have a potty mouth.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Same here. I thought the cursing was generally appropriate but then I don't really care about foul language as long as it's not thrown left and right just for the hell of it. I certainly don't think it merits a lower score nor would I deem it gratuitous


message 45: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) Darn it, I just noticed I called Nicki "Nicola"!!! Old habits die hard, sorry Nicki!!


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

Nicola? :)


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Lol..I hear ya :) Grant is one of my five middle names so I'm well versed in sowing confusion ;)


message 48: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I'm listening to this on my iPod, and I'm about 1/3 of the way through as well. I have no problem with the swearing, as I have a gutter mouth too, but I do have one issue. First, I think that this is a great book, but I really don't understand why Lynch decided to go back and forth between plot lines, between young and older Lamora. I think it would work just fine in chronological order.


message 49: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I'm listening to this on my iPod, and I'm about 1/3 of the way through as well. I have no problem with the swearing, as I have a gutter mouth too, but I do have one issue. First, I think that this is a great book, but I really don't understand why Lynch decided to go back and forth between plot lines, between young and older Lamora. I think it would work just fine in chronological order.


message 50: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) Personally, I really liked the back and forth.


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