This week marks the beginning of Little Red Reviewer‘s groupread of “The Lies of Locke Lamora,” by Scott Lynch. I hadn’t really heard much about the book before the readalong, but it looked interesting and I decided to give it a shot. So far I’m enjoying it tremendously.
One of the cool things about this readalong is that the author saw it and decided to get on board and offer some behind the scenes thoughts on his book. For more details, see here.
This post will involve SPOILERS. After the readalong is over, I’ll provide a spoiler-free review of the book for anyone who hasn’t been following along. And now, without further ado…
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?
So far I’m loving it. It has already surpassed my expectations. It’s going to be very hard to keep myself from reading ahead!
2. At last count, I found three time lines: Locke as 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?
At first I found the flashbacks a bit confusing, but I got over it quickly. I was equally curious about Locke as a child and as an adult. He’s very much the trickster archetype and loveable rogue, and it’s a lot of fun to see what he’ll come up with next
3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?
Worldbuilding is probably one of the most make-it-or-break-it aspects of a fantasy novel. I was impressed by the way that Lynch handled it, from the canals and Falselight to the liquors one would have with dinner. Even though there are a lot of familiar elements from a medieval world, the author gives it his own unique twist that’s unlike anything I’ve read before.
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 like the idea of the death offering. Even though are characters are criminals, they do have a strong code of honor that reminds me a bit of the story of Robin Hood. I think the fact that Locke is willing to atone for the deaths that he caused makes us more willing to sympathize with him as he gets into mischief. Chains may be a thief, but he’s also intelligent. He’s trying to make Locke into a sophisticated con artist rather than just a lowly pickpocket, and he’s also teaching Locke to act with honor even in a dishonest profession. The Gentleman Bastards aren’t a typical gang; they’re cultured, refined, and take their calling as theives very seriously. I like the way that Chains’ household goods were all stolen from either people who deserved it or who didn’t use the goods in question anyway. When we were first introduced to his character, I expected someone a lot more sinister.
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?
Lynch handled the setup rather well. The way that we learn about the characters is engaging and doesn’t just feel like a giant infodump. I prefer books that take that kind of happy medium approach; I don’t want to feel like I’m reading a textbook, but at the same time I appreciate having enough of a context to understand what’s going on. I like the way that Locke’s lessons in luxury aren’t all spelled out at this point, but that we can clearly see the fruits of his training with Chains.
6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.
Hahaha… I’m just on the edge of my seat hoping that Locke gets away with his audacious scheme!