The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
I came upon this book after I’d read a positive review of it from Mr. Patrick Rothfuss, the writer of The Name of the Wind, a book I read recently and LOVED. I knew about LoLL (the abbreviation I shall use for convenience) but I only decided to snap it up immediately once I saw Rothfuss’s thoughts.

As I imagined it would be, LoLL was excellent and I’ll absolutely be reading the rest of the books in the series. I mean the titles of books two and three alone are so killer--Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves. This epic trio of tales stars Locke Lamora, an orphaned boy who, at a very young age, is expertly trained to become a thief and a con man. He turns out to be spectacular at both and thus; his life is full of danger, intriguing subterfuge, excitement, riches, celebration, more danger, immense amounts of danger, and a lot of cunning deception. And just when the thin line between Locke’s survival and his awful, painful, death gets as seemingly razor sharp as possible . . . things get much, much worse when a mysterious and powerful foe named The Gray King invades the fantasy city of Camorr, turning its seedy underground network of thieves and bosses upside down.

One of the stars of the novel is the wonderfully crafted and imagined fantasy world called Camorr. All throughout Locke’s story, Mr. Lynch gives us readers the layout and history of this amazing, volatile, intense place where all the action happens. There’s also a map of the city in the front of the book, and those of you who read my write-ups often will know that I really dig books with cool maps. I admire an author who has the dedication and ability to create and share such a complete picture of what’s been borne from his or her imagination.

Locke Lamora is, of course, the other grand star of the novel, except he’s a different sort of hero. He’s not a swordsman or a warrior . . . but more of an actor, a raconteur, a mindful schemer, a crafty trickster. Locke brings a thieves’ honor, a captivating style, and a bouquet of pizzazz to all he does, which all makes him great fun to read. The exploits of him and his gang (nicknamed the “Gentleman Bastards”) drive the book so look for plenty of cool heist-movie type scenes. To complement this, Mr. Lynch (the author) weaves in many enjoyable, poignant, interlude-style flashback sections to fully round out the characters and bring depth to all the action.

LoLL is a complex, creative, crisply written novel with a strong, surprising plot and richly intense characters. The book has a lot of cursing in it, some quite obscene, but it all works within the tone and flow of the story so it didn’t bother me. Blood and violence are also quite common, but nothing overly graphic. Somewhat surprisingly, there are no direct sex scenes, just some casual mentioning’s of a few lewd acts here and there. However, Camorr is full of down and dirty criminal/pirate-like/thieving gang members, so expect the dialogue and action to flow accordingly.

I recommend this book to any mature (college or adult) reader who typically enjoys a long series of epic, heavy fantasy novels. Probably best mostly for boys as there really aren’t any strong female characters, yet the writing and the story are great so it could appeal to both. Again, just be aware of the strong language and violent tones.

Since I mentioned The Name of the Wind at the top of this write-up, I’ll say once again that I HIGHLY recommend that fabulous novel. In fact, I’d say maybe start there because it’s a more approachable, less vulgar book--but still full of exciting, deep, magical high fantasy. And if you dig that one, definitely give the more hardcore The Lies of Locke Lamora a try.

Happy Reading!