Typically, I kick off my book reviews with what brought me to read the book in the first place. And, this book found its way to the top of my TBR pile, thanks to a couple of my favorite authors. First, following nearly everything that Brandon Sanderson releases, from blog posts, to pod casts, lectures and what ever else he offers, I have heard him mention more than one way, how Scott Lynch has similar ideas and methods as himself. That is obviously a major appeal, as Mr. Sanderson happens to be a mastermind. Then I came upon a review, posted by another fantasy power house, Patrick Rothfuss. Mr. Rothfuss goes on to say how when his book was released, his writing style was often compared to that of Scott Lynch. Done, I was sold. The ideas of Sanderson mixed with the prose of Rothfuss! That actually sounds like the greatest writer of all time, and I jumped in as soon as possible.
Scott Lynch, an author of humble beginnings, sold his first book at the age of 24. Which if you look at the average age of fantasy writers first book deals, is mighty impressive. The Lies of Locke Lamora met its official publication in June of 2006. A finalist for the World Fantasy Award, Mr. Lynch was quickly recognized as one of fictions best new writers. The first novel in a planned 7 book run of the Gentleman Bastards sequence, The Lies of Locke Lamora sets a big stage for an unnamed world, full of depth, action and magic.
Set in the Venice-inspired city of Camorr in a medieval time frame, the story follows main character, Locke Lamora. Introduced as a young, orphaned child, chapters alternate with an updated timeline with an adult, established Locke. As we learn about the boys upbringing, and how he became the leader of the Gentleman Bastards, a group of elite thieves and con artists; older, established Locke Lamora and his band of thieves are working on their biggest job yet. Meanwhile, the criminal underworld, with its own hierarchy, is being shaken and dismantled by mysterious newcomer, the Gray King. The most powerful names in the city all want a piece of Locke, also known as the Thorn of Camorr. With the help of his Gentleman Bastards, Locke must do what he can to please his criminal boss, while trying to avoid city authorities, a murdering mad man, and ultimately save the city.
Full of thrills, suspense, and action, The Lies of Locke Lamora is an ensemble piece. The Gentleman Bastards, a brilliant, small gang of thieves, has a tight knit group of friends that grew up together. Learning to lean on each other for their strengths, the team is powerfully useful. When adversity is high, this group works together to survive the most dangerous of situations. Surrounded by a city of rich history, a character on its own, there are also many, many players in this novel. For such a massive cast, Mr. Lynch does a masterful job with the characters, making each one distinct and stand out on their own. Powerful and honest, as there is no clear distinction of right and wrong, or good and evil, until the final act.
This story is big, full of history, and intertwined storylines, creating a web of a tale. At no point did I get lost or uninterested, The Lies of Locke Lamora keeps you involved from start to finish. The series of events lead up to some thrilling action that pushes you reading as hard as you can. No element of the story was misused, as everything had a part to play, or two parts, or three. The ending was a glorious release, no, everything does not end how it should, but it is a relieving experience, even as a reader, just to make it out of the action and events.
An amazing world and tale of events, the book is masterfully built. Scott Lynch may not be the perfect child of some Sanderson-Rothfuss combination, but he has absolutely earned his spot as their equal, with strong abilities across all of writings categories. Most of all, with the major cast, this is the story George R.R. Martin should be learning from, as characters are established quickly while events happen and established elements are used to their highest potential. 5/5, this is one of my new favorite series out there. Yes, it may take a lot more waiting for this series to find an end, but, the novels stand strong on their own. I recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora for all fans of fantasy and fiction, full of so many elements and stories, there is something for everyone in this book.
Thanks booknerds, be careful who you cross.