Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Lies of Locke Lamora - read along Part 1

Before I get into this I need to explain a couple of things. I've never done a read along before, so I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I'm not actually sure that I'm even really officially involved in this, I seem to be ignored by most other bloggers, so I could be talking to myself, but no matter. The questions are provided by Little Red Reviewer and she is hosting this first part of the read along. It covers from the beginning to the interlude Locke Stays for Dinner.

Here are the questions and my responses:

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far? If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?

It's a reread for me. I actually think this may be the seventh time I've read it. I can remember reading the opening on the way back to work on the tram, I bought the book on my lunch break and started reading it straight away. I was enraptured right from the beginning and until the last page. That first time I couldn't wait for work to finish so I could keep reading. It's been the same every time since, and even in the early stages I find things that are new to me or alter on a reread.

2. At last count, I found three time lines: Locke as as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?

I love the flashback idea. It doesn't alway work, but with The Lies of Locke Lamora it does. The opening is a flashback of sorts and then you cut to Locke and the rest of the Gentleman Bastards pulling off their latest game, the interludes are important as they link to current situations in the older Lock's life and in fact that of some of the other Gentleman Bastards as well.

3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?

I've said it before, so I'll repeat it here. Camorr is like this extra character in the book, the city and it's history are that well developed that it takes on a life and personality of it's own. I've seen some say that Scott Lynch doesn't build worlds that well, because he only deals with one city in The Lies of Locke Lamora. That's true, but it's such a wonderfully realised city, it feels real, it's got a history, so for me Scott Lynch gets a 10 out of 10 for world building with The Lies of Locke Lamora.

4. Father Chains and the death offering. . . quite the code of honor for thieves, isn’t it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into?

I get the impression that Father Chains and Locke aren't that dissimilar. Locke is the one in a million kid Chains has spent most of his career looking for. Locke is the archetypal Gentleman Bastard and that's what Chains is going to turn Locke into.

5. It’s been a while since I read this, and I’d forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what’s happening?

It kind of depends on the book really. I can't imagine The Lies of Locke Lamora be anything other than what it is. When you think about it, it kind of does both. The opening introduces readers to Locke, Chains, Camorr and the concept, but then readers get dropped right into the middle of the Don Salvara game in chapter one, entitled The Don Salvara Game, and have to connect that to the opening and have all these new ideas and characters thrown at them.

6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.

I have to say no. I love stories about capers and thieves, but as I have absolutely no manual dexterity I could never entertain the thought of doing it to someone else.

Hopefully next week I'll have a less busy weekend and be able to get to this closer to the correct day.


  1. There is a few of us who are reading this for the upteenth time. Are you picking up anything you think you missed on a previous read? Enjoying scenes you'd skimmed right over the first time, or vice versa? it's always interesting to see how our thoughts change on rereads.

    I'd never thought about it like that before, but you are completely right - Camorr is like a character in the book, with depth, personality, betrayal, and tricks up the sleeve. I LOVE how Lynch does world building, that was probably one of the reasons I first fell in love with this book, way back before i even knew what the word "world-building" even meant! And who says you have to build more than one city to be awesome at world building? them peeps will have to answer to ME!

  2. There is something in particular I did pick up that I don't remember seeing before on this reread, but it's farther along in the book than the reread has officially gotten to, yeah I'm kind of cheating a bit I guess. There are other scenes that always hit me hard, some of these are the scenes with 'little Locke', he's so bloody cute.
    The world building thing, I knew what it meant when I read the book, but I still can't understand how anyone can question Lynch's world building skills when he has done something so complete with Camorr that it has surpassed nearly every other author I have ever read, and that includes George RR Martin, in terms of world building.

  3. I think Lynch's world building is great. I very quickly got the feeling that Camorr is a unique place and not just a generic city. It takes some authors entire books to create that feeling. I don't think it matters that he only deals with one city because Camorr is the "world" of this story.

  4. Thanks Scruffy, I think the world building comment comes from people who are used to reading sprawling epics where the author creates an entire world. I see Camorr as being rather like renaissance Venice, which at the time was a city state in itself. Lynch himself has said that some of it comes from the set up in the Netherlands at the same time.

  5. Theway that Lynch build Carmorr up is the Shire. I agree with Carmorr with you comment resembling Venice. I am shocked that there are people that do not like his world building.

    I also agree that it was pure chance that Chain was lucky enough to get Locke offered to him in the first place. After that he figures he found somebody that can truly follow in his footsteps.

  6. Thanks for the comment Geeky, yes strange as it may be there are people out there who don't like Lies.