Saturday, March 10, 2012

Read Along of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: Part 1

I saw the details for this Read Along on the Little Red Reviewers blog, here, though I know that several other blogs are involved as well. I thought it looked like fun and signed up to make posts on my blog every week.

You can see Redhead’s Part 1 post here

If you haven't read the book, or even if you have, why not join in and read along with the rest of us?

This week we have read the Prologue and up to the end of the Interlude: Locke Stays For Dinner, which ends on p. 97 of my kindle edition.

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far?  If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?

I had never heard of the title, or it’s author, before I saw the post about the Read Along, but I am a fan of fantasy and any series with the title “The Gentlemen Bastard” is going to catch my eye. So far I have found this a very entertaining read, with plenty of humor and texture. The characters are gritty and often very ‘direct’ in their use of language, so this is no fairy tale with fluffy bunnies and coy princesses: excellent! I am going to find it difficult to restrict my reading to the proscribed pages over the next few weeks.

2. At last count, I found three time lines:  Locke as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?

Obviously it is difficult to decide if this is the best way for the author to proceed, but it does have the massive advantage of keeping Locke mysterious. We are seeing the present and past versions of him, so we can contrast the brilliant but impulsive child with the polished final item that he has become. It also has the feel of a scam: as we uncover one layer of ‘truth’ another one is revealed underneath. It will be interesting to see what other ‘mistakes’ the young Locke makes during his training.

3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?

I like how he slips unusual aspects of the world into the story telling in a subtle way, often with no explanation at all. I haven’t felt bogged down by tons of exposition, though some of the differences between Camorr and our world are quite intriguing.

4. Father Chains and the death offering. . .  quite the code of honor for thieves, isn’t it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into?

I found this quite touching and unexpected for thieves. Of course, that is assuming that it is the truth. If it is, then it shows how the thieves remember their own sad beginnings and try to pay back the care and training that they received as youngsters. However, it might all be a bluff by Father Chains to teach Locke the value of being careful: I wouldn’t trust Chains as far as I could spit him.

5. It’s been a while since I read this, and I’d forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer  set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what’s happening?

As I said above, I haven't felt weighed down by the set up, so I feel as if there is a good balance of the two approaches here. It can be very difficult to really follow a story if you don’t have time to become acclimated to the new environment. However, it can be very tedious to spend the first fifty pages on an intricate description of the world with mind-blowing amounts of detail.  

6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.

As someone who has had people repeatedly try to lighten my purse whilst in Rome, Italy, I would never dream of doing this! :D


  1. I am glad you are enjoying this one! When I read it a few years ago, I thought it was one of the most fun books I'd read in a while.

  2. Well, I do hope nobody actually got around with the purse lightening!
    As someone reading this for the first time as well, I must say I am happy to see everyone love the book from the start and those who already read it, having such great opinion of it to keep re-reading it. It's not often I come across books I need to re-read so I'm hoping this one turns into another one for me.

  3. I actually quite like Chains - I don't really know why.  Perhaps it's because he took Locke in when he had a death sentence hanging over his head?  I know he's just a conman really pretending to be all religious and devout but I can't help feeling that he cares about his little 'wards' or apprentices.  That being said I don't think it would do to trust him too much!
    I agree with you - the world building is done in a really good way that doesn't detract from the story.  He doesn't just give you a load of history to read and then start the story he just feeds you relevant elements as he goes along.
    Lynn :D

  4. Nope, they are relatively easy to spot. Though they do act all confused when you shout "#$%^ off, you ^&*@# thief!" :D

    I agree with you, I have a feeling that this might become one of the comfort books that I will reread every so often.

  5. I have a feeling that Chains will turn out to be one of my favorite characters, a bit like Tyrion in Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: seemingly immoral, but wonderfully likable!

  6. knowing that someone actually tried to pick pocket you, now I feel like an ass for throwing that question in!  it was meant to be a snarky bit of fun.  purse snatching f***ing sucks!!!

    I'm happy you are enjoying the book so far, thanks for taking a risk on something you'd never heard of before!  If you like your fantasy a little on the dark side, Scott Lynch is the author for you!

    I don't trust Chains either.  he's a thief, a liar, and a bastard. But i do respect him.

  7. Being pick-pocketed is simply part of the culture in Rome . . . many of the thieves are enslaved illegal immigrants from the Balkans, so I can almost forgive them . . . almost! Don't worry about the question - I thought it was funny! :D

  8. I don't trust Chains either but I also kind of like him, because in a way he did save Locke, and he made someone awesome out of him - he was probably handsome by himself but you know, he gave him the skill and courage to be as good as he will be.
    And it's a pity about the Rome purse lifting, I was there last summer and luckily, I looked too poor to catch their interest, but it's always better to carry as little as possible... though is my purse lifter was Locke, I might have given it to him voluntarily ;)

  9. The Scott Lynch series is a name that you surely will never forget anytime soon. I like the mix of humor that he put forth into this book as well.

    I also am with you and like the way that he brings the world to us and in my opinion, getting the reading to want more about Carmorr. 

    I do not think I would trust Chains either, but Locke did not have much of a choice either. The code of honor was an interesting twist nonetheless.


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