Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Lies of Locke Lamora
I finished reading a good book yesterday, The Lies of Locke Lamora, written by Scott Lynch (is it just me or are there Lynches everywhere by the way?). It's about Locke Lamora (didn't guess that one did ya?) and his gang of gentleman thieves. It's said to be fantasy (on wikipedia for example) and when Love first recommended it I was a little sceptic about it. I usually don't like fantasy literature much, it's a little over the top for me usually. I soon realized though that the only fantasyish about Locke Lamora is the adding of Alchemy and Black Magic to an otherwise relatively normal mediveal setting. Although there are some strange animals depicted, like huge spiders and extraordinarily fierce sharks, the book is dragon, elves and troll-free, which made me happy. The Alchemy and Black Magic is also quite down to earth-like with some finger-weaving pain-inflicting magic and glow in the dark-balls of glass.
The story is set in Camorr, part of a fantasyworld and a city where criminals and noble-people seem to work together to keep some sort of peace. Here we get to know Locke Lamora and his doings during about half a year. The story is well written with the main frame being the present with "cut scenes" of the past and random info about the world but relevant to the story. The characters are well described and believable. Although the people of Camorr are very violent and prone to criminal behavior there isn't much in the story that feels forced or ludicrous. In my library where I loaned it, it was set in the "youth" corner, but I honestly feel this could come with a "violent content" label. I don't mind harsh language, but some torture scenes are very vivid and I really had to jump some pages at some places (yes I have issues with torture :P).
The flow of the story and the twists (there are always twists, don't dare call this a spoiler) and turns it takes are exciting and well composed. You really think "how the heck is he gonna solve this" at some points and the solution or outcome, be it good or bad, never feels unlikely.
There are only two minor flaws of this book. I wouldn't even wanna call them flaws really, but stuff I reacted to and felt iffy. First of all there is a cut scene of how Locke meets one of his thief freinds. It's so cuddly sweet it made me feel queasy and it didn't feel like real children would behave in such a way. Especially not orphaned children who've only ever got to know adults who are bastards. The second iffy thing is the amount of damage the main characters can take. They take pounding after cutting after beating after drowning and still run around like (almost) nothing happened. It is totally on level with any Jean Luc Van Damme movie. I feel one sucker punch to my belly would keep me in bed for about a week, but then again I'm no mastermind thief of an imaginary world. And I suppose as you accept it in those movies you can accept it in this book.
And overall pleasant reading with a nice character gallery and flow to it and a story that will keep you interested all the way through.
It's planned to be a 7 part series of which only two books have come out so far. I haven't read the second yet but I will start shortly! Maybe I'll give some input about that one later too.
Picture is from Wikipedia