Saturday, March 17, 2012

Read Along of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: Part 2

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 2 post here and Dark Cargo's 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 up to the end of the Interlude: The Boy Who Cried for a Corpse, which ends on p. 190 of my kindle edition.

1. Do you think Locke can pull off his scheme of playing a Midnighter who is working with Don Salvara to capture the Thorn of Camorr? I mean, he is now playing two roles in this game - and thank goodness for that costume room the Gentlemen Bastards have!

I have little doubt that Locke can do pretty much anything he wants and get away with it. The decision to add the Midnighters to the scam is such total genius that I cannot imagine that anyone other than the Gray King can foil his schemes. I really loved the way that these were scenes were presented in a 'saw-toothed' pattern of time progression, so that we were led to believe that Locke was in grave danger, only to be let in on the 'joke'. Seeing the scene a second time, now knowing that Locke was almost unconscious because of his injured 'bits' made his talents for disguise even more impressive. 

2. Are you digging the detail the author has put into the alcoholic drinks in this story?

Alcohol does seem to be an important part of life in Camorr: this could reflect Scott's own interests . . . or it could show that he did his research into late medieval life, when alcoholic drinks were much safer to drink than the water, which was full of disease-carrying bugs, and also provided the poor with a large proportion of their daily calories. Of course, he could simply be reflecting the young male's obsession with this particular past time . . . I seem to recall quite a few mentions of prostitutes as well . . . but it does add to the richness of the world in a wonderful way, as does the attention given to food.

3. Who is this mysterious lady Gentlemen Bastard Sabetha and what does she mean to Locke?

Sabetha seems to be a fellow orphan taken in and trained by Chains, and she obviously broke Locke's heart before leaving. I am not sure if we will ever meet her, though I suspect that she will be with Locke forever.

4. Are you as creeped out over the use of Wraithstone to create Gentled animals as I am?

Completely! This is truly horrible and the description of how and why it is used was horrifying. However, this fits with the cruel way in which people are treated in the Revel and how the Palace of Patience operates. Life in general is short and brutal for many of the people, so their compassion towards animals is much less than ours, and in one way they are trying to be kind to animals that could get stressed by their living and working conditions. Even more horrific is the hint that they use it on people occasionally . . .

5. I got a kick out of child Locke's first meeting with Capa Barsavi and his daughter Nazca, which was shortly followed up in the story by Barsavi granting adult Locke permission to court his daughter! Where do you think that will lead? Can you see these two together?

I think the shadow of Sabetha will be a problem here, plus they both seem to be openly uninterested in each other. However, Romance novels are littered by people who 'suddenly realize that they are madly in love with someone they hate' . . . though that would be a lot less interesting than having them maintain the appearance of a loving relationship. I can see them together: I think they could rule the world given half a chance . . .

6. Capa Barsavi is freaked out over rumors of The Gray King and, in fact, us readers are privy to a gruesome torture scene. The Gray King is knocking garristas off left and right. What do you think that means?

I can only think of two possibilities: a) someone is trying to replace the Capa as head of the Right People; or b) the Duke is re-exerting control over his city covertly. I am assuming that the small bird-like thing that has been mentioned a couple of times, during Bug's acrobatics at the Temple and the 'Midnighters' entry into the Don's house, is connected to The Gray King, but I cannot think of any hints as to who the King might be.

7. In the Interlude: The Boy Who Cried for a Corpse, we learn that Father Chains owes an alchemist a favor, and that favor is a fresh corpse. He sets the boys to figuring out how to provide one, and they can't 'create' the corpse themselves. How did you like Locke's solution to this conundrum? 

I thought it was elegantly simple, playing on people's expectations and perceptions beautifully. I knew that the acquisition of the body was far too simple, so Locke's solution to recouping their expenses had me laughing in delight. Again, it was elegant, but it showed such an extraordinary understanding of psychology and human behavior that it was a thing of beauty. Plus I loved Chains response: "Bugger me bloody with a boathook".


  1. I enjoyed reading your answers.  Especially No.1 - Lynch letting us in on his little joke - basically after he'd pulled a con on all of us.  Pretty sneaky but elegant given the nature of this book.
    The phrase 'bugger me bloody with a boathook' - seems to be proving very popular strangely enough!
    Lynn :D

  2. That "Bugger me bloody with a boathook" had me chuckling.
    I keep wondering how does S. Lynch come up with such colorful expressions?

  3. Thank you . . . I am enjoying this book and the read along process so much!

    There are some amazing phrases in this book, though I'm not sure I could use some of them in public :D

  4. They are great, aren't they? This one had me ejecting coffee from my nose! :D

  5. I like how you described the progression of time in q.1 as 'Saw Tooth' very apt, I'll have to remember it :) 

  6. Chains does get some of the best lines, doesn't he? I had not thought of the possibility of the Duke exerting control over the illegal elements of the city covertly...interesting....

  7. with all the alcohol, I'm gonna go with that it's safer to drink the beer and liquor than the water. and it's not that i'm a lush or anything (currently drinking juicy-juice and vodka) but fun creative alcoholic drinks in a book is so much better than the standard generic "stew and ale" that most fantasy heroes eat and drink every day.

    I also hadn't thought that maybe the Duke is taking a firmer hand about the crime in his city. . . nice!

    that's something i so love about con artist stories like this - innocent people always see only what they want to see. they see a crying child who is naive and afraid, so they want to help the kid.  makes me kinda paranoid and mistrusting in my real life, which is not a good thing!

  8. Hmm, I hadn't considered that the Gray King might be related to the Duke.  That's an interesting idea.

    I hope that Nazca and Locke don't 'suddenly fall in love'.  I said in my answers that I thought they'd make a great couple, but it's for the reason you mention in #5.  They complement each other so well, I could easily see them taking over Camorr together.

  9. I'm also totally in love with Chains answer at the end, I'm thinking or putting up all those great quotes together because they are really awesome!

  10. Hmm.  I hadn't thought of his plan that way before, I thought it was too straightforward, but I can see it your way.  "Elegantly simple".  It really did take a good understanding of how people would respond to that.  Good point.


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