The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.
A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting. (Goodreads summary)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
May the Crooked Warden watch over my heart which has been stolen by Scott Lynch and his vexingly charming Gentlemen Bastards.
I didn’t think I’d ever make up a fake prayer to a nonexistent god for this book because I’ve read Brandon Sanderson’s The Final Empire where I discovered the most wonderful gang of thieves who broke my heart (which I’m still nursing after more than a year, mind you). I expected little from Locke Lamora and I doubted he would impress me the way Kelsier and his crew did.
So that makes us robbers of robbers who pretend to be robbers working for a robber of other robbers.
As it happened, my doubt lasted for one chapter because Scott Lynch (in honor of the wonderful cussing in this book) is a no BS writer who damnably charms you with lovable characters and suddenly drops you in deep shit when it’s time to get gritty and who keeps you excited with so many sudden twists and turns and surprises. In other words, I fell in love with The Lies of Locke Lamora.
You’re going to dine with merchants and admirals and generals and ladies of every sort! And when you do…when you do, those poor idiots won’t have any idea that they’re really dining with a thief.
There were no unnecessary roundabouts, excessive drama, loose ends, or random scraps of useless information. From a small complication to a quick settlement to another problem to a solution to a big mess to a resolution to a fucking glorious climax that ended in an equally glorious ending. From the prologue to the epilogue, Scott Lynch told the story as it is and he was damn good at it.
He is a masterful storyteller but definitely not perfect. His world-building is really good but also really difficult to follow – the places, the names, the peoples, the environment were a lot to take in. But he made this world easier to understand and imagine through short interludes. They were not like encyclopedia entries but as interesting and important as the main chapters of the books. They were also inconspicuous but memorable so you would remember them when he needed you to.
I don’t have to beat you, motherfucker. I just have to keep you here… until Jean shows up.
These interludes also gave a short history of the witty, charming folks of the Gentlemen Bastards. The characters were already well-developed in the beginning of the book but the interludes gave them a history that made them more human. Outside of the interludes, they showed heart and weakness when they were supposed to; caused pain and blood when it seemed human to do so.
From the apprentice Gentleman Bastard to the arrogant dons and unimportant whores, every character was an important thread in this tapestry that Scott Lynch created. In the middle of it all was the great Locke Lamora, the con man/thief mastermind who is as flawed as he is brilliant, and who charmed me from doubt to gods-damned belief.
He…steals too much
Yes, I’ve been converted and I humbly pray to the Crooked Warden to give me strength so I can keep my curious hands from the second book while I’m supposed to be reading for my 2015 reading challenge.