The Lies of Locke Lamora // Scott Lynch
“You’re one third bad intentions, one third pure avarice, and one eighth sawdust. What’s left, I’ll credit, must be brains.”
Actual Rating: 4/5 ⭐
The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through walls.
Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fables Thorn. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves. The Gentlemen Bastards.
The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they’ve ever known. But now a clandestine war is threatening to tear it apart. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends are suddenly struggling just to stay alive …
The Lies of Locke Lamora is an absolute GEM of a book, I’m not a huge fan of high fantasy but after finishing The Name of the Wind earlier this year and loving it I was itching to dip my toes into the genre again. I’d heard absolutely nothing about this book before stumbling upon it, I’ll admit that I only really decided to give it a go because G.R.R.M had blurbed it AND Patrick Rothfuss had five star’d it so I figured it couldn’t downright terrible right? I ended up being so pleasantly surprised by The Lies of Locke Lamora, its action packed and gripping and I couldn’t stop reading it.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is oh so brilliantly written, it’s full of intriguing characters and the plot itself is a tight knit of so many different schemes and cons. One of my favourite things is that it doesn’t shy away from very bloody and intense fight scenes and there’s also an absolutely DELIGHTFUL amount of cussing in this. I know I shouldn’t be comparing them, because this book and The Name of The Wind are two wildly different but equally as wonderful books, but I will for just a minute. I loved The Name of The Wind because of its beautiful atmosphere and while The Lies of Locke Lamora doesn’t have that same intense world-building it’s still rich and it definitely makes up for it in action and pacing, within the first chapter you’re neck deep in a bank heist; I actually finish the majority of it within a few days because the story doesn’t get bogged down by unnecessary details or exposition. It cuts right to the chase, there are little asides that offer deeper insight into backstory and lore which were nice but they could also be soso frustrating because usually they happened right as someone was about to die AND I REALLY DON’T NEED TO BE READING ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW SOMEONE IS DYING.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is about a band of … essentially thieves and criminals called The Gentlemen Bastards, they steal from the rich for mostly their own gain and survival (but mostly for gain). For the most part they’re only really there to look out for themselves, however, they’re not entirely terrible people. They have a fierce bond with each other and most of them were orphans or came from a very poor background so their base instinct is survival. The story revolves around Locke, an exceptionally good charmer and thief and basically The Gentlemen’s quest to get rich and keep getting richer. The Lies of Locke Lamora isn’t just about money and gain and power it’s also
about revenge and justice, nearly halfway through the book Locke is forced to masquerade as someone he’s not and there ends up being a giant overthrow of criminal power which sort-of results in most of The Gentlemen Bastards being murdered at which point the story focuses on Locke and Jean avenging their friends which I LOVED. It was heartbreaking but I loved watching these boys go from thieving to “fuck this guy and fuck him for killing our only family”. There were some parts of the plot that I did feel kind of lost in because there is A LOT going on, there’s multiple cons at once and the setting up of some long cons so I think it is quite easy to get lost if you aren’t paying attention but I did manage to mostly find my way back in eventually.
I don’t necessarily think the characters are relatable but I do think they’re all quite interesting, Locke and Jean are by far the ones get the most attention but the side characters are not forgotten and they’re all equally as important to the story. I loved the brotherhood between Locke and Jean and think they have a really nice dynamic. One of my only complaints about The Lies of Locke Lamora was its treatment of female characters, the book doesn’t necessarily have a total lack of them because it does start off with quite a few (although none are main characters) but over the course of the novel most of them die pretty unpleasant deaths. I loved Nazca from her first appearance and I couldn’t wait to see where her character went so I was pretty disappointed when she was murdered quite early one. While they’re alive the female characters are all quite powerful, there are two very deadly twins and one of the most powerful people in the city happens to be an elderly women (who lives!) but at the same time it was saddening to see these characters with some pretty good potential get killed off.
I think The Lies of Locke Lamora is unlike other high fantasy I’ve read, I mean I haven’t read a lot but this novel was just so different than what I expect of the genre. It’s wildly entertaining and page-turning and doesn’t mess around with boring detail. I loved that it reminded me of Robin Hood but if Robin Hood was kind-of-sort-of evil. The Lies of Locke Lamora has left me thoroughly satisfied, not just with the story it was telling but with the genre as a whole and I can’t wait to read the next one.
| Gollancz | First Published June 27th 2006 | 530 Pages | Goodreads |