The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Digital Audiobook narrated by Michael Page
Published by Bantam Spectra on July 27, 2006
Series: Gentleman Bastard #1
Genres: Adventure, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, High Fantasy
Length: 499 pages or 22 hours, 3 minutes
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In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part "Robin Hood", one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling...
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.
Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.
Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying...
This book was rough. In so many ways.
It took me a bit to get into The Lies of Locke Lamora. The perspective darts back and forth between the very intense current events, and historical events that inform whatever is about to come. I have a history of disliking this type of storytelling, and I didn’t love it here. Both lines were interesting – the current events were so stressful. Left to themselves, I don’t honestly think I could have made it through, because Aie! I probably would have had a sympathetic heart attack. The backstory was interesting, but would not have stood alone as a story. So while I didn’t love the jumping back and forth, I honestly think it was necessary.
The story. Oy. The only book that has stressed me out as much as The Lies of Locke Lamora is The Name of the Wind. Both feature incredibly arrogant main characters that you find you like even though they keep making TERRIBLE choices and ahahahahhhh just stop!!!!! They get what they need to get done, done. But I think I lost five years of my life worrying over Locke, Jean, the Sanza twins, and Bug. And everyone.
All the characters are really fantastic. My personal favorite was Jean Tannen. He breaks out of so many traditional character tropes. First of all, Jean is an overweight character. Most rotund characters end up as sidekicks or comic relief, but not Jean. Jean is fierce. As a child, Father Chains noted his temper and had him trained as a fighter. Jean wields a pair of hatchets, which he fondly refers to as “The Wicked Sisters”. When was the last time you ran into a fantasy character that chose hatchets over swords? Add the fact that Jean’s blind without he eyeglasses and has been trained as a Death priest… he’s formidable. More formidable that Locke, I think. Such a good character.
By the time you’re at 50% of the way through the book, you’ve got to get it into your head that everyone is going to die. Don’t fall in love with any characters. Don’t make assumptions about the direction of the plot. Just buckle up and stay along for the ride, or you’ll have a heart attack before you get to the end.
It’s a really, really good book. Even if you have a hard time getting started, stick with it, because it is so worth it.