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.