Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Author: Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastard #1
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The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a ghost that walks through walls. Half the city believes him to be a legendary champion of the poor. The other half believe him to be a foolish myth. Nobody has it quite right.
Slightly built, unlucky in love, and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. He certainly didn’t invite the rumors that swirl around his exploits, which are actually confidence games of the most intricate sort. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else, pray tell, would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny of it. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves, the Gentlemen Bastards.
Locke and company are con artists in an age where con artistry, as we understand it, is a new and unknown style of crime. The less attention anyone pays to them, the better! But a deadly mystery has begun to haunt the ancient city of Camorr, and a clandestine war is threatening to tear the city’s underworld, the only home the Gentlemen Bastards have ever known, to bloody shreds. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends will find both their loyalty and their ingenuity tested to the breaking point as they struggle to stay alive.
You know that feeling you get when you finish a book and it just puts you in a daze because so many emotions are going through you? Yes, that feeling. That’s me right now.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is quite possibly the most accurate title this book could have. And my goodness, does it fit perfectly. I wasn’t originally planning to read this book yet, but decided to take part in Tamsien’s readalong when the opportunity came up. The book is split in four parts and the plan was to read one book a week. I found the beginning slow but as soon as Book II started I found it hard to stop reading. Needless to say, I finished way ahead of schedule.
This novel is set in a fascinating pseudo Venice. I would love to see this on the big screen because Lynch’s worldbuilding would be great for it. As nice as that sounds, don’t be fooled; this world is dark, brutal, and violent. The swearing in the book is only scratching the surface and Lynch was generous with it. There was one point in the book where I had to skim the page because the scene was too graphic in my mind. This book certainly contains mature content and I wouldn’t recommend it for a younger audience.
Our story focuses on the Gentleman Bastards: Locke, Calo, Galdo, Jean, and Bug. Orphaned boys raised to be their own band of thieves. Now Locke Lamora is quite a character. From day one (or six years old), he’s already a witty little thief with a different way of looking at the world.
‘What knife is this?’ Locke held a rounded buttering utensil up for Chains’ inspection. ‘It’s all wrong. You couldn’t kill anyone with this.’
Before he became the Thorn of Camorr, Locke had to learn a lot of things. The book switches between the past and the present to give us a better idea of his ‘education’ and I particularly enjoyed seeing him grow closer to the other boys. Lynch did this very well; he was able to show how our young misfits can become the best brothers each one of them could ever have. I felt very emotional watching their bond grow and deeply admired their friendship. Also, these boys are quite funny together and I found myself laughing at their conversations from time to time. I especially loved the Sanza twins!
The Lies of Locke Lamora also came with its bag of twists (see what I did there?). It had me smirking one minute and panicking the next. I was nervous for these boys because I’ve come to love them and when things started taking a bad turn, I was as scared as they were. There was a part of this book that just gave me all the feels and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it!
I think my only quibble with this book is that I felt short on Locke’s character development. The boy we meet in the beginning of this book is a lot different from the man we end with yes, but while I watched Locke grow as a thief, we only see bits and pieces of his emotional growth. I don’t know if this will make sense to anyone without it being a spoiler, but I felt a disconnect when Locke did what he did for Camorr in the end.
That being said, if you like a tale of clever thievery with a non-traditional twist, plus a team of five brilliant and lovable troublemakers in a version of Venice creeping with curious creatures, I highly recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora. I’m proud to say it deserves all the praise and hype it’s gotten and I look forward to finding out what our Gentlemen Bastards will be scheming next.