Friday, April 6, 2012

The Lies of Locke Lamora - the final read along

All good things must come to an end and so it is with Little Red Reviewers read along of Scott Lynch's stunning debut The Lies of Locke Lamora. The questions have been provided this week by Lynn of Lynn's Book Blog. For all the 'virgins' out there I hope this has inspired you to read the second Gentleman Bastards adventure Red Seas Under Red Skies and maybe even reread The Lies of Locke Lamora like the rest of us have.

1. The Thorn of Camorr is renowned - he can beat anyone in a fight and he steals from the rich to give to the poor. Except of course that clearly most of the myths surrounding him are based on fantasy and not fact. Now that the book is finished how do you feel the man himself compares to his legend. Did you feel that he changed as the story progressed and, if so, how did this make you feel about him by the time the conclusion was reached?

The man behind the myth is very different to the legend. He shares some things in common, but I think the Locke readers see at the start of the book has grown as a man and learned some hard lessons by the end of it. I'd like to know when and how he created the Thorn, I think the Thorn embodies a lot of things Locke wishes he was. In some ways he's an idealised version of Locke.

2. Scott Lynch certainly likes to give his leading ladies some entertaining and strong roles to play. We have the Berangia sisters – and I definitely wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of them or their blades plus Dona Vorchenza who is the Spider and played a very cool character – even play acting to catch the Thorn. How did you feel about the treatment the sisters and Dona received at the hands of Jean and Locke – were you surprised, did it seem out of character at all or justified?

What happened to the Berangias' sisters was totally justified, especially after what they did to Calo and Galdo and the obvious enjoyment they took in killing them and arranging them in a certain way. Every time I read that section of the book and Jean produces his wicked sisters and says "Wicked Sisters meet the Wicked Sisters." I get chills. Dona Vorchenza is a little different, she's probably even harder than the Berangias' girls in many ways. She got conned by a master conman, although I do confess to wincing when Locke punches her in the face. One female character I'd like to see more of is Dona Sofia, something very interesting about her.

3. Towards the end we saw a little more of the magic and the history of the Bondsmagi. The magic, particularly with the use of true names, reminds me a little of old fashioned witchcraft or even voodoo. But, more than that I was fascinated after reading the interlude headed ‘The Throne in Ashes’ about the Elderglass and the Elders and why their structures were able to survive even against the full might of the Bondsmagi – do you have any theories about this do you think it’s based on one of our ancient civilisations or maybe similar to a myth??

The Elders are interesting, they definitely had magic or technology that was extraordinarily resistent. They may have come from the old stories about alien civilisations being involved in certain happenings in our ancient history. I think I read somewhere that even Scott Lynch hasn't yet worked out a lot about the Elders and will hopefuilly work more of it out as he continues through the series.

4. We have previously discussed Scott Lynch’s use of description and whether it’s too much or just spot on. Having got into the last quarter of the book where the level of tension was seriously cranked up – did you still find, the breaks for interludes and the descriptions useful or, under the circumstances did it feel more like a distraction?

I've always loved the interludes. I thought the way they were used later in the book were excellent ways to give the readers more information about the city of Camorr was brilliant. The little fable about the game and how two men held a grudge throughout the years for one contentious umpiring decision was classic stuff. They gave the readers a chance to relax a little during the breakneck, high octane last section of the book.

5. Now that the book has finished how did you feel about the conclusion and the eventual reveal about the Grey King and more to the point the motivations he declared for such revenge – does it seem credible, were you expecting much worse or something completely different altogether?

It was understandable, and I never saw it coming. I did wonder about timing and ages and how the three of them survived and built their reputations, but they're minor quibbles and they may also be answered to an extent later on. The Grey King and his sisters may be dead, but I don't think it's the last time what they did will impact on Locke's life.

6. Were you surprised that Locke, being given two possible choices (one of which could possibly mean he would miss his chance for revenge on the Grey King) chose to go back to the Tower – especially given that (1) he would have difficulty in getting into the building (2) he would have difficulty in convincing them about the situation and (3) he would have difficulty in remaining free afterwards? Did anyone else nearly pee their pants when Locke and the rest were carrying the sculptures up to the roof garden?

It didn't really surprise me what Locke did. Locke is essentially a good bloke. He's as his title suggests a Gentleman Bastard. Honour is important to him, it was something instilled in him and his 'brothers' and 'sister' by Chains and something that he was trying to pass onto Bug as his protege. The scene with the sculptures is very tense, but I love the way that Dona Sofia breaks it up a little when one of the guards asks what happens if they drop one of them: "First we'd burn our hands, then we'd fall over senseless before we could take six steps, and then we'd be Gentled.And then we'd all feel very silly, wouldn't we?' Love the line and the character. Seriously I'd read a book about Sofia.

7. Finally, the other question I would chuck in here is that, following the end of the book I was intrigued to check out some of the reviews of LOLL and noticed that the negative reviews mentioned the use of profanity. How did you feel about this – was it excessive? Just enough? Not enough?

I read some of those and thought what? Most of the characters are essentially fantasy's version of the Goodfellas. They're a criminal underclass, of course they're going to swear and they're going to do it a lot. Swearing, even swearing a lot, is fine in a book if it fits the characters and the situation, it did in The Lies of Locke Lamora. I did feel it was out of place with the nobles, though. Fortunately with them it was kept to a minimum.

8. Okay one further, and probably most important but very quick question – having finished, will you pick up the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies?

I picked up Red Seas Under Red Skies as soon as I'd reread The Lies of Locke Lamora the first time, and that was immediately after reading it the first time. I haven't reread it as much as The Lies of Locke Lamora, but only one less time. So the answer from me is a resounding YES.


  1. I thought Dona Sofia was a cool character - she's definitely got something about her which clearly Vorchensa could see which is why she's passing the title on to her and her husband! I liked the fact that Sofia was totally involved in helping to stop the wraithstone threat. She didn't just confirm the danger and then get the hell out - she took part in defusing the situation. Very cool!
    Lynn :D

    1. It was very cool that Dona Sofia was the bomb tech! She also creates wonderful orange concoctions.

    2. I never thought of it that way before, but yes in modern terms you're totally right that Dona Sofia is a bomb tech.

  2. I agree with you about the profanity: is it really so awful to accept that some people actually speak like that? Unless the swearing is wildly out of place, or badly done, I always think that those who are complaining about it are reading the wrong types of books: they are obviously not open minded enough to cope with characters who aren't exactly like themselves.

    It seems like most of us will be joining in with the RSURS read along: wonder why??? :D

  3. I would absolutely read a book all about Sofia Lorenzo! Lynch totally needs to write a different version of this book, from the nobles' point of view!

    I don't remember if it's mentioned, did Locke and the GB's start the original Thorn rumor, or did someone else start it, and they just ran with it? imagine hanging out at the tavern, and hearing a mythos, about yourself!

    I'm with you: the Berangias sisters got exactly what they deserved. I don't know if Jean has ever hurt or killed a woman before, or if he will again, but those bitches deserved everything he gave them. I wonder if he'll change the names of his hatchets?

    Elfy, I've got to use my blogger/google sign in to post here. :( I wish wordpress and blogger would stop their stupid little war, and just let me post everywhere under whichever log in I want!

  4. Lynn that is one of the great things about Lies, while in some ways it is most definitely a 'boys' book it still has great, strong female characters like Nazca :(, the Spider and Dona Sofia. A testament to Lynch's skill being able to write both engaging male and female characters.
    Sue, I think going in you've got to know what sort of a book Lies is. You make the language suit the characters and that's what Lynch does for the most part in Lies. We're joining into the RSURS read along because it's a bloody good book!
    Red, amen to that about blogger and wordpress, it's still giving me grief on your blog. It's never actually mentioned who started the rumours about the Thorn, but I just assumed it was Locke and Co. I think it was something they came up with not long before their first big con.

  5. I imagine it must be though for Lynch, seeing everyone starting to speculate about the Elderglass if he hasn't really figured it out yet... it would stress me so much to read the review and think "I need to write about this now!".
    I also love the quote "we would all feel really silly", Locke really is a good guy and I'm glad he remained one, even through hardship. I'm looking forward to the next books!!

  6. Thanks for the comment Miss Spooky Muffin (cool name!). I think Scott Lynch has a lot more figured out about this than he ever lets on. I think we're all going to enjoy RSURS. Well, I know I will, but it gives people a bigger picture about the world Lynch has created for Locke and Co.