The Lies of Locke Lamora

I don’t remember exactly where I first heard about this book.  It was probably from the Writing Excuses podcast, either that or from looking at other random stuff online (like many of the books I read).  Either way, I enjoyed the book, Although I thought that some parts of it could have been done better.

719 pages

Fantasy

The book stands on its own very well, although there is at least one more book with the same characters.

Characters

The characters in this book are interesting.  The main group that we follow is a set of gentlemen thieves (think Oceans Eleven in a pseudo-medieval setting).  The group consists of Locke, Jean, Calo, Galdo, and Bug.  The book also shows you the groups mentor early in the book, Chains is a thief who disguises himself as a priest.  The character the book follows the most is Locke and he is a very interesting character.  Locke’s specialty in the group is being a master of disguise, able to change his mannerisms, accent, and tone of voice at will.  He is also the mastermind of his thieving crews plans to steal from the elite of the city.  Locke stays fairly consistent throughout the book, he is a calculating man who can be driven by his passions when his friends are put in harm’s way, he was a fun character.

Setting

The city of Camorr.  It’s a pseudo-medieval, maybe closer to renaissance level city.  There is some magic, but Locke and co are never using it, although they are occasionally on the receiving end of it.  There is also a fair amount of discussion of the Ancients who came before the humans.  They definitely had more magical powers than humans do, and their primary relics in the city are buildings made of Elderglass, a material so strong it can’t be damaged at all.

Plot

Again, the plot is very similar to that of Oceans Eleven, a group of gentlemen thieves work to steal a large sum from a very rich person.  Locke’s plans are interesting to follow as he goes through them.  Locke is so good at confusing people, that he is able to hide the extent of his crew’s successes from Capa Barsavi, the man who oversees most of the thieves throughout the city.  Of course things get worse throughout the book, for Locke & Co this happens when the Capa decides to encourage Locke to marry his daughter, and it keeps going from there.

Enjoyment

The book has an interlude between nearly every chapter, some of these focus on Locke’s childhood growing up with Chains and learning the thieving trade.  Some of the interludes deal with the history of the world.  Overall, I think in some ways the book would have been better without all of the interludes.  Some of them were fun to read, but some of the others were just very poorly disguised info-dumps.  There were also a couple of times where the usual pattern was there for the interludes and chapters of the main story.  At one point there was a short scene of Locke as a child in the middle of an adult Locke chapter, and it was just there to info-dump about something that was a part of the adult Locke storyline 3 pages later.  There was another section later in the book where there were two straight chapters without an interlude between.  Even though I started to dislike some of the later interludes, I would have liked to see the same pattern throughout the entire book.  I really think the book would have been better without the interludes in there at all.  It would have been a more streamlined story, and for the heist type of story that this book revolved around, it would be better suited to the closer to 400 pages rather than the 719 pages that the book was.

Overall Grade

The book had its flaws, but the ending was good and I’m interested enough to pick up the next book about Locke and friends.

7/10

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3 Comments

  1. Interludes I think are difficult for writers. They have to be handled just right for them to work completely. Seems like this author was successful with some of them. I always wonder how much a writer fights with an editor to keep stuff they think is essential.

    Reply
    • Some were done well, but I think overall the book would have been paced better without having them in there at all. The type of story that it was I think it would have been better served to be a 400 page book rather than a 700 page book.

      Reply
  2. I’ve heard of this book before but, like you, I have no idea where. It sounds interesting though – I’m not a huge lover of this kind of fantasy but sometimes I like to read it as a break from the heavier stuff that I tend to read. I’m adding it to my TBR list 🙂

    Reply

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