“The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch

Over the past several weeks I’ve been participating in a readalong of Scott Lynch’s debut novel “The Lies of Locke Lamora,” the first installment of the Gentleman Bastards series.  At the end of every readalong, I like to post a spoiler-free review for anyone who didn’t follow along but is curious about the book.

“The Lies of Locke Lamora” follows a young thief’s adventures in the city-state of Camorr.  Locke is the leader of a gang known as the Gentleman Bastards, who pride themselves on using wit and knowledge to scam the nobility.  Locke finds himself against a powerful rival known as The Grey King who threatens to destroy everything Locke holds dear.

Camorr itself differs tremendously from the generic fantasy-medieval world.  The city is filled with canals, sharks, and towers built by the Eldren, a quasi-Lovecraftian departed race known for their indestructible glass-like constructions.

One of the things that stuck out to me was that Locke is forced to rely on his brains to get himself out of tricky situations.  He sucks at fighting and can’t use magic, but finds himself making enemies who are skilled at both.

If you’re easily offended by swear words then this book is not for you.  Creative cursing is used throughout the novel to give Locke’s world a unique flavor.  It makes the Gentleman Bastards more personable and believable, as Lynch realizes that not everyone should speak like nobility, especially those who are involved in the criminal underworld.  I think it made the novel more enjoyable, but some people might be put off by it.

Another forewarning… people die in this book.  Lynch puts George R. R. Martin to shame, but the deaths in the novel all have a point.

“The Lies of Locke Lamora” creates an atmosphere evoking images of Robin Hood and Oliver Twist.  It was an enjoyable read, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a fantasy novel that isn’t just a Tolkein knock-off.


I read this book as a part of a groupread hosted by The Little Red Reviewer, and I’m including this review in some of the reading challenges that I’m currently participating in–the Once Upon a Time Challenge, the Speculative Fiction Challenge, and the Tea & Books Challenge.  This is also the first book that I’ve read as part of the Tea & Books Challenge, which involves reading books that are over 700 pages long.  This one clocks in at 719 pages.  I’ve been a bit behind on this particular challenge, but I’m planning to read more chunksters over the summer when I don’t have to worry about schoolwork.

Categories: Fantasy, Fiction | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on ““The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch

  1. This book (and it’s sequel) have manged to become my favorite books ever. And for someone whose list of favorites is usually a mile long, I feel this says a lot. You need to go do some meet and greet with the author and get me to be like his personal manuscript reader. Or slave. I’d totally be a slave if it meant getting to read his books before anyone else and for free XD

  2. Pingback: “Red Seas Under Red Skies” by Scott Lynch « Books Without Any Pictures

  3. Pingback: Red Seas Under Skies Readalong, Part I « Books Without Any Pictures

  4. I think Lynch’s death scenes may be more emotional than George R.R. Martin’s (in some cases) but George R.R. Martin has him beat on numbers, brutality and even on those grim torture scenes.

    That said, great review. I loved the readalong!
    My own spoiler-free review is here:


    because I felt I owed it to anyone who might have stumbled across my blog before reading The Lies of Locke Lamora. This readalong had spoilers galore!

    • I think that after the first death in this one I pretty much braced myself because I knew that no one was safe. I’m hoping the characters that are still alive survive the next book; the first death in this one completely caught me off guard.

      I’ve only read the first two Song of Ice and Fire books, but I know that there will be more deaths in the upcoming books. I kind of expected the thing with Ned from the start though; it wasn’t so abrupt.

  5. I was almost ready to order this based on your review until I read that he puts Martin to shame. I threw one of Martin’s books across the room when he killed a certain character. Not sure how many wild flights across a room one book can handle. 😉

    • Haha, I know that feeling! And with Martin I had to keep wondering if characters were really dead or whether he was making them look dead to make me angry then letting them somehow miraculously survive.

      • I’m hoping he was just making ____ look dead in A Dance with Dragons. Reserving the book close at hand in case I need to throw it across the room after the next book comes out.

        • I’ve only read the first two books thus far, but I know I’m going to be mad about what happens to characters that I’ve gotten attached to. Like, I was in tears when I got to the part about Kahl Drogo. He was my favorite. And if I’d have to guess, Joffrey probably survives to the end of the series, because he’s a little shit and I can’t stand him, lol.

    • Hey, I did the same thing with A dance with Dragons! I couldn’t stand it any longer when he killed J… certain character, my favourite. And now I am not reading Mr. Martin at all. I am on strike. 🙂

      • I have a friend who went on strike before he finished the first book. 😉 I’ve almost done it several times so I understand. 🙂

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