Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Author: Scott Lynch
First published: 2006
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I've finished reading The Lies of Locke Lamora late this night. So late it was actually nearly morning. I just couldn't put it down, because it's one amazing bastard of a book: it doesn't let you do anything else at all! You are lucky if you at least remember to eat, sleep and visit the bathroom while reading it. Forget about being reasonable, making stuff done or looking nice, it's totally useless, I tell you. :)
First, I need to thank Sarah at Sarah Says Read, whose wonderful review prompted me to actually read this novel, which I had already been eyeing for some time then. I don't usually expect to see something REALLY new in fantasy books these times. It's probably a pessimistic approach, but the more I read, the more repetitive stuff I see. But The Lies of Locke Lamora was a fresh whiff, because it not only builds a beautiful and unique world, populated with awesome characters, it also sets up all kinds of CONS in it, some well-planned and elaborate, and some - brilliantly improvised.
Now, let me confess that I LOVE cons. Some of my favorite movies and series are about con men: Leverage, Hustle, Now You See Me, Ocean's Eleven/Twelve/etc. to name some. So the charming gang of Locke immediately won my sympathies. They style themselves Gentlemen Bastards, and the things they can pull off with the rich and unaware are incredible! Of course, there are minds in their city that can match theirs, and some of them are not happy with having Lamora's gang around...
Apart from an amusing and at times really surprising plot, The Lies of Locke Lamora has a wonderful setting: it's a city styled after medieval Venice, with channels, islands, dirt, smells, plagues, gangs and weird celebrations. It's dark and wet and menacing, and there are mysterious Elderglass towers overlooking it, a legacy of some long vanished civilization and the residence of the Duke and his nobility.
To finish the praise I'll just add that the humor in the book is unfailing. I'm very picky as regards humor, and it's difficult to please me in this aspect, but plot twists and witty dialogues in this novel made me smile all the time. But please don't think that it's just a fun book! It is fun, but it does have some really dark parts too, because you can't expect everything to always go well if you are a thief in such a place. And these parts are equally well-written and are sometimes heartbreaking.
In my book:
Read it now! Seriously, don't wait! You are missing something really cool!