I realize that, in the order that these are on the page, this looks like I wrote it after I wrote the review for the second book. Actually, I wrote this before. I just make this site ten minutes ago and copy/pasted these reviews from Goodreads in a strange order. (I did not copy/paste this part from Goodreads. If I did, that would mean that I can see the future, and, if I could see the future, I’d be off getting rich on Wall Street, not sitting in front of a computer writing this.)
Oh my fucking God. That was amazing.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is a fantasy novel about Locke Lamora, a thief, con man, and his gang, the Gentleman Bastards, the “richest and cleverest” thieves in the city of Camorr, who “only steal because it’s heaps of fucking fun”. And fuck, if this book isn’t pretty much perfect.
The setting is vivid and vibrant. Camorr is obviously strongly based on Venice, but there are just enough differences to set it apart and Scott Lynch does such an amazing job of bringing to life all parts of the society of the city, especially the gangs that roam its waterways. It feels real, and I really, really want to visit.
The Gentleman Bastards are wonderful hosts for your séjour (sorry, I can’t think of the English equivalent for séjour). They’re à small gang of thieves everyone else thinks are small fry, but are really running elaborate cons on the nobility of Camorr. All of them have very distinct personalities, especially little Bug the apprentice, and you quickly get very attached to them.
Locke is such a fun protagonist. He’s irreverent and disrespectful, especially in moments when being irreverent and disrespectful is a terrible idea, smarter than everyone and very aware of it, cocky, overconfident, and with a complete lack of any martial skill, which frequently leaves him in situations where he needs to get rescued by his friend Jean. He’s one of the most entertaining protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of reading about recently, if not ever.
And the PLOT. Admittedly, the first hundred pages or so are a bit slow, but once you get past that, everything just goes to shit and spends the next five hundred pages or so finding new and more interesting ways to get even shittier for our anti-heroes. It’s breakneck page-flipping adventure, compulsively readable in a way I sometimes feel fantasy isn’t. When shit goes down in Camorr, shit goes DOWN in Camorr. Scott Lynch constantly pulled the rug out under me, elevated the stakes, and ripped my heart out just a LOT. There are real consequences to Locke’s actions, and Lynch is not playing. This is not Lord of the Rings or Throne of Glass. People can and will die, AND I WAS NOT FUCKING READY.
All in all, The Lies of Locke Lamora is an instant favourite, and I do not say that lightly. I’ll be throwing it at people in the hopes that they read it for years to come. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get Red Seas Under Red Skies NOW.