I despise packing. You would think, after nearly 8 years of moving in and out of dorm rooms and houses, I would have it down. Well, sadly not the case and I still procrastinate as much as I can. On the upside though, I had a wonderful chunk of time sitting at home, avoiding packing, to read. And so, I powered through The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, partly for an excuse not to pack, but mostly because it was so good. I haven’t just sat down and read for hours on end and late into the night for quite some time. The Lies of Locke Lamora was a good book to restart that particular weekend tradition.
Various internet browsings (ie Tumblr) first introduced me to The Lies of Locke Lamora. Throw in a couple of recommendation by my co-workers, and it was an easy choice to read next. Following a book like The Talented Mr. Ripley with characters I just could not like, it was frankly a relief to have a book that had relatable and lovable characters. As one of my aforementioned co-workers said, The Lies of Locke Lamora has an Ocean’s 11 feel to it. The characters are, from the get-go, not law abiding citizens. In fact, their entire lives are built around thievery and clever deceptions, and yet I found myself cheering for them over and over. Locke and his small gang (aptly named the Gentlemen Bastards) have their own moral code, one that differs from many of the other thieves and gangs that run throughout the city. Despite living on the fringe of society, they have made their place in the world and are quite content, at least for the first quarter of the novel. Then, as book tend to go, their world is completely flipped.
As I read Lynch’s debut novel, I couldn’t help but notice how it differs from a lot of other fantasy novels. For many, especially the high fantasy epics, the stories follow the journey of nobility or the coming into power and wealth from low beginnings. The Gentlemen Bastards however are not seeking entry into upper class lives. Don’t get me wrong, they want the wealth and luxury, but they have no desire to truly be a part of that upper
circle. They are quite content with infiltrating it at need to pull a scheme and live simple lives with their winnings. As a reader you get small insight into the lives of the elite, but for the most part Lynch follows the inner workings of the nefarious street gangs. And oh how complex those inner workings can get, from power struggles to rules of where to thieve and tariffs from each individual gang. It is a fascinating look at a whole other world normally hidden away in the depth of the city. Throw in the inner workings of just the Gentlemen Bastards and you have a wonderfully, intricately woven tale.
Now I haven’t given much summary here and I don’t really intend to because I don’t want to give too much away. Suffice it to say, I loved it. While initially I wasn’t particularly amazed by the story, it was good enough to keep me reading. Not too much further in, I was completely hooked and thus didn’t leave the couch for the majority of the day. Lynch does a good job of interspersing character building flash backs that tie back into the present day struggles of Locke and the Gentlemen Bastards. These struggles seem to just build and build throughout the book as well. You get some classic sword fights, battles with crazy creatures, and many life or death struggles. People jump off buildings and crawl through hidden tunnels. The greatest draw however is the crazy schemes the Gentlemen Bastards are constantly involved in. Locke and company are brilliant and are always keeping you on your toes with where their plans will take them next. There were a few times that felt could be the climax of the tale and yet I knew it couldn’t be because there were far to many pages left to read. This created quite an exciting ride and definitely kept me glued to the pages. One other thing to note is that Lynch is not afraid to kill off some of his characters, which at first shocked me slightly and left me a little bit sad at points. However, he doesn’t needlessly do away with characters and each death just adds to the plot and motivations of the characters. Again, I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll leave it at that.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment of The Gentlemen Bastards and it ended on a fairly positive note with promises of many more adventures to come. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the next book but I can’t say that they’re going to stop me from diving back in. Sadly, that will probably have to wait until after I have packed up since I can’t procrastinate any more with a move date in less than a week. Oh boy.
Keep on reading!