The Lies of Locke Lamora

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch I love crossbreeds. I love them.

Let me explain this. You have books that are part of only a single major genre. Of course, no book is ever purely a thing – no book is only romance or only historical or only non-fiction. In order for it to be a book, it has to combine some elements that exist in other genres, so the final product is somewhat of a new species with every work that comes out. Some of us readers have our favorites, especially if we’ve been reading more and more of one of the “species”. The crossbreed that I particulary love is a blend between SF and fantasy, two of my favorite major genres ever.

How do I put this.. Think of a story where you have swords and high tech guns, at the same time. Think of a world where the map looks like it’s drawn out of an old antique catalogue of old world sketchings, but the ships are sleek, pearly black, polished and big. Think of a combination between magic and science – there’s the best example, where you have men that deal in spells and men that deal in alchemy.

Take Locke Lamora’s world, where you have knights and modern elevators, for example. Yes, you read that right. Elevators. Like the things that take you up to your apartment. Pretty cool, huh?

I’m a sucker for this combination. There’s so much potential, so much world building, so much imagery, so many ideas that cross over each other and crate a net of your own making, because you’re the spider who wires everything together, in your own head, while reading.


Locke Lamora is an orphan of Camorr, and at the age of 5, he joins a gang ran by a man named the Thiefmaker, who gives them food and shelter in exchange for them becoming better thieves. By the age of 7, Locke is already bringing chaos everywhere he goes, getting people killed, burning houses down, all these because of his wit and incredible intelligence. He is a scrawny boy, he isn’t (and never will be) able to win in a fair fight, but he has his mind making up for that minus, and it’s a bonus prize, too much for the Thiefmaker to handle. So, he sells him to Chains, a priest that runs his own gang in the same city. Chains sees his potential, and trains him in every aspect of high society’s life, teaching him two more languages, how to act as a noble, even how to cook. In the end, though, what he really wants Lamora to learn is how to trick people, how to fool them, make them trust him, and them strip them bare of their belongings. He want to build him into the best con artist that there is. And he doesn’t train just him. He trains a small gang of kids, a pair of twins (the Sanzas), a girl (Sabbetha) and a clumsy, temperamental, extremely intelligent boy (Jean). What bonds them is that they’re all orphans, all raised in the hardships of life, making them more experienced in pain that any others. They also get the coolest name ever for a gang: “The Gentlemen Bastards”. At 14, Chains tells him something, though: “Some day, Locke Lamora,” he said, “some day, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.” This right here is at the end of the book, but i think it sums it up really really well.

Their story takes them through fights with the law (yellowjackets), the head of the underworld, the gangs that reside within Camorr (Capa Barsavi) and a new, rising, powerful character, the Gray King, who threatens to destroy the fine balance the city lives in.
It’s a crappy resume, but it’s short and that’s what I wanted it to be.

From now on, be warned, are only spoilers.

I loved the bad things that happened in this book. Especially the debauchery that goes on. The crookedness of the wealthy class. Everything seems to come down to money, in this world. If you have enough coins to rattle around, you’re someone. If you can rattle them for the right ears, you’re even more of a someone. In the end, money doesn’t add power to your virtue, rather virtue (if you accidentally happen to have it) adds power to your money.
I liked the idea of the Bondsmagi, the magicians that held so much power that were able to torture and kill with one or two words. Also, if you were stupid enough to kill one of them, the whole lot of them would come after you, like hornets, and you were guaranteed a painful, slow death.
Also, I have to read the second book, or maybe the third, to find out what happened between Locke and Sabbetha, before the story begins.

What I also liked: the swearing. Oh Lord, the swearing. I myself swear a lot in real life, and I find it intensely pleasurable. So when I read a book where the “fuck” “shit” “cocksucker” “asshole” and “bitch” fit in properly, no matter how the fictional world was built, I literally mentally hold a round of applause for the author. These words have to fit with the character, and when they do, it adds power and credibility to the action, and even the world itself.

One thing I want to address: Patrick Rothfuss.

Yes, I have reached that problem.

Before any fans of Lynch come out and mercilessly shoot me because I rated this book three stars, I have to make myself clear. This is a good book. Locke is a fine character. The world is properly built. The action is credible. The jokes are funny. The swearing is amazing. The sex… well, you get the point.

The only problem is that I read it after Rothfuss’ book.
I couldn’t help comparing! Kvothe, orphan. Locke, orphan. Kvothe, insanely clever. Locke, the same. Kvothe, creates chaos. Locke, what do you know, creates chaos. These characters are unbelievably similar and it doesn’t help to mix them in your head.

I loved “The Name of the Wind”. I remember how excited I was after I finished it. This one? Not so much.. but not in a bad way. It’s just that I had already seen if before. I feel bad for not rating it more, but I have to be true!

All in all, I really liked it and immediately started with the next one in the series, which already has a promising beginning. I will read the whole series, I know this, and I will most likely love it, so I don’t despair over it.

It deserves its place as a bestseller, and it is a good book to read.

And that’s that!