Friday, March 23, 2012

The Lies of Locke Lamora - read along Part 3

We're into week 3 of the read along. This week the questions come courtesy of Bryce at My Awful Reviews. I may be a little early with this, you know Australia being in Saturday while everyone else is still having Friday, but here goes:

1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage's powers?

Lynch doesn't really use a lot of magic, which is cool, neither does George RR Martin, and prior to reading Lies Martin's ASoIaF was one of the best fantasies I'd ever read, but the Bondsmages are a cool idea. One of the things I loved was that the Falconer is so all powerful and untouchable, I know they'll have to find a way around his power, because hey there's a lot of book still to go, but I can't for the life of me see how, which really rachets the tension up to 11.

2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here.

I'm a rereader, not a first timer, so it's kind of hard for me to have a go at this, because I know who it is, and it's hard to forget details like that.

2.5 (since 2 wasn't really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would)

Again, being a rereader this is hard, although I can say that I never saw the Nazca thing coming and it was one of those shocks in the book that hit me like a punch in the guts. I already hated the Grey King and the Falconer, this just made me hate them even more. I liked Nazca, dammit! She did not deserve to die that way! There are plenty more shocks coming, trust me.

3. When Locke says "Nice bird, arsehole," I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway?

Oh absolutely! I love Locke's sarcastic, snotty turn of phrase. There's a lot of dialogue which is snappy and funny. No matter how many times I read the Liar/Bastard shtick I can't help, but laugh, and then there's some of Locke and Co's more audacious schemes that make me laugh, like I said last week the thing with the corpse was hysterically funny and it makes me howl with laughter every time I read it.

4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they're "cleverer than all the rest?" Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage?

I still think they're pretty , bloody clever, but they got too cocky. They never thought anyone could see through them, they stopped taking precautions, they never figured on a Karthain Bondsmage and they were absolutely out played.

5. I imagine that you've probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the "present" storyline, but I'll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead?

Sometimes reading ahead or rereading in a thing like this makes it difficult. Because I know how it all turns out any speculation on my part would probably spoil the book for others and I'm not about to do that.

6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking?

One of the things that has to grab me about a book is the characters. I have to care about them, so I have to be invested in them. A large part of the reason I gave up on Erikson's Malazan Books of the Fallen was that I just didn't care what happened to the characters, it wasn't that I didn't like or dislike them, it was just that I simply didn't care. I adored Locke and Jean, Calo, Galdo and Bug. Even characters in the past like Chains or the occasionally mentioned Sabetha. I hated the Bondsmage and the Grey King. I love peripheral characters like Dona Sofia and Conte. Even the city of Camorr itself which I have said before is like this bonus character in Lies, I could see those streets, I could smell the water, I could feel the heavy air. I'm in Camorr every time I read Lies.

7. Now that you've seen how clever Chains is about his "apprenticeships," why do you think he's doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge?

There is an element of revenge about what Chains does with his apprentices, especially Locke, but there's also a lot of 'this is what I do, so I'll teach you to do it, too' there. The Gentleman Bastards are a little like Chains' legacy to the world. Although he didn't know it at first, although I think he had thoughts after the Thiefmaker first told him of Locke's exploits, Locke became like a son to him.


  1. The characterisation is really excellent, just enough, even with the secondary characters. Like you say, you can't help loving the GBs, and you really hate the Grey King. I was really shocked about Nazca - even though this is a reread for me! I'd remembered the scene with Locke taking on the role of the Grey King - but I had forgotten about Nazca's death so it was like a slap in the face all over again.
    Lynn :D

  2. You're dead on about Camorr being another character. The city-state is extremely well imagined, and Lynch's prose is like a transporter into another dimension. Such a vivid and imaginative setting.

  3. This is the first time for me and I hope I didn't ruin to for any other first time reader with my post, but when I came to the end of the chapter for this week's read-along, I had to continue and see what happens next.
    So, I now know exactly what you mean when you say more shocks are coming. I just hope some are in Locke's favour eventually (please let some be!).

  4. Now that we all have excellent, excellent reason to hate the Grey King - maybe Jean can truly use his Wicked Sisters that we briefly got introduced to.

  5. Thanks for the comments, I do appreciate it. Every time I read the book I keep hoping I read it wrong the first time and that Nazca doesn't die.

  6. the Grey King is such a bastard, that dude needs to die!

    This is a reread for me too, but it doesn't matter, I still gnash my teeth every time I get to that scene with Nazca. Ok, sure, i didn't want her to have to marry Locke, but damn, she didn't need to die.

    And that's what makes the Grey King such a brilliant villain - he knows exactly how to cut us the deepest.

  7. It's really hard not to totally love every character. The only time I had a little trouble with them was when Jean first came to the GB's. There was a moment when he and Locke were having a conversation and Jean kind of makes some comments about not being a thief that felt a little like we were being told what Jean was thinking instead of just experiencing it. Anyways I think we were already getting that he was feeling out of place and didn't really need to be lead on like that. But I still love them and I got over it pretty fast.

  8. I actually hate the Falconer more than they Grey King. I bear no love for other, but the Falconer is just such a smug bastard and the fact that he's totally mercenary doesn't help, he's also a sadist who just likes hurting people because he can and he hides behind the whole 'you can't kill a Bondsmage' thing, knowing that no one will dare to kill for fear of bringing their wrath down on them and their family. Scumbag.

  9. You're too good of a re-reader, it's also my second time but I've already forgotten half of the stuff, and I can't even remember who the Grey King is. At least it keeps the surprise alive!
    And I also think they are too cocky, but that's maybe because I already finished it. I want to shake them and tell them to behave sometimes!

  10. I also agree with you about #6: Camorr is a real character to me. This is one area where Mr Lynch is so similar to Mr Martin - I'm not sure that I love Locke as much as Tyrion Lannister yet, but he is one of my favorite characters. It is a testament to the characterization that everyone is so angry about Nazca's death, and yet we only had 2 quick glimpses of her!

    I am going to be so happy when the Falconer bites it - he is such a sadistic, smug piece of excrement: Bastards FTW!

  11. I love rereading it, why I've done it 7 times. I never forget key events though. I'm with Lily in that at times the GB's need a good shake and a reminder that they're not immortal and to stop acting like they are!
    I've never really compared Locke to Tyrion, to tell the truth Locke isn't that likeable a bloke overall. If I had to pick a favourite GB it'd probably be Jean.