Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

Books that Rock: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

An orphan”s life is harsh – and often short – in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains – a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extrodinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans – a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful – and more ambitious – than Locke has yet imagined.

I’ll readily admit it — this book took me forever to read. I checked it out from the library on a whim based on a LibraryThing recommendation and it sat on my bedroom floor forever before I finally picked it up. It just wasn’t what I wanted to read at the moment after thoroughly engrossing myself in the Outlander series.

I was quite pleasantly surprised when I finally got around to reading Lies. Yes, the language is more than a little rough and it’s a bit more violent a book than I am used to reading, but the characters are clever and the world Lynch has created is intricate and vivid.

With his quick wit, intelligence, craftiness and daring, Locke Lamora reminds me an awful lot of Megan Whalen Turner’s Eugenides (it also helps that the pair of them are thieves with an aversion for bloodshed). Eugenides’ profession forced him into isolation, however, while Locke is supported by his Gentlemen Bastards, the gang of young men he’s (mostly) been acquainted with since childhood. The Sanza twins provide endlessly clever banter, Jean counters his muscle with intelligence and kindness, and Bug certainly won me over with his boldness and fierce loyalty to his brothers and mentors. These lads may be deceitful on a daily basis, pulling one long con after another, but that certainly didn’t keep me from caring about them. They all had hearts of gold.

And then there were the baddies, who were really bad and provided all sorts unexpected of twists and turns. And the Duke’s Spider, can’t forget about the Spider. That character was really cool as well. ‘Nuff said about all that before I give something away.

The one thing that really bugged me about Lies was the format. At first, I got whiplash from the constant change between the present timeline and the flashbacks, then I felt as if it kept me engaged with the plot and left me wanting more, until I finally got fed up with it. I mean, you’d have one scene where Locke is drowning in a barrel of horse piss and then it’s like, “Oh, we interrupt this regularly scheduled broadcast to demonstrate how Jean learned how to be a killing machine!” I knew that these flashbacks were necessary and were foreshadowing something important that would one day come into play, but I found myself wanting to skip over them and just find out what happens already. So, I did – my first time through, anyhow.

Despite my issues with this book, I do want to read the sequel, Red Seas Over Read Skies, so of course, my library does not carry it. Thank goodness for inter-library loan. They are going to be so sick of me before the year is even up with all of the requests I am going to be making for the 100+ Reading Challenge.


And now my selections for Books that Rock, where I select a song or two that describe events in the chosen book.

Raise It Up

I laughed so hard when this song came on my i-pod this morning as I was getting ready, because it’s so perfect for the beginning of the book.

So, they’re singing about the hard-knock life in this song from the movie, August Rush (which I actually really like, so don’t think I’m making fun of it or anything), which totally fits with our introduction to wee Locke in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. Yes, it does take a different sort of love to raise a child in this case – the kind of love and guidance only a sassy, straight forward mentor like Father Chains (I loved that guy — he was hilarious!) and the brotherhood of the Gentlemen Bastards can provide.

A Pair of Brown Eyes

And then we move on to the darker, more tragic second half of the book, the mood of which Christy Moore’s version of A Pair of Brown Eyes so perfectly captures.


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