The Lies of Locke Lamora: a review

Today is Tuesday, and I looked at the Broke and the Bookish list for this Top Ten Tuesday and I could think of only one thing, so I let that go, but you should go check it out anyway, they're awesome. Instead I give you a review, cause I'm doing that now. And off we go.

Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Series: Gentleman Bastards (Book 1)
Author: Scott lynch
Year: 2007
Language: English

The Lies of Locke Lamora is about a young man named Locke Lamora, not surprisingly, who lives in the Temple of Perelandro with his four best friends, Calo and Galdo Sanza, Jean Tannen, and Bug. Locke, Calo, Galdo, Jean and Bug run the gang Gentleman Bastards. They are the smallest gang in Camorr, and they are the least important in many ways. They don’t make much, but they pay their taxes and they get along with the ruler of thieves and gangs, the Capa Barsavi. What no one in Camorr outside the temple knows is that the Gentleman Bastards are sitting on a fortune. A fortune they have gotten through conning the nobles of Camorr through elaborate schemes. They are well-read, they speak several languages, they can cook, they can pass for priests, merchants, farmers, noblemen and anything else they set their minds to, especially Locke, who is a confidence game genius. They were taught by the late priest of Perelandro; Chains. That is the basic premise, no one knows Locke and his gang are doing it, but the nobles whisper about the Thorn of Camorr, fleecing them, tricking them out of huge sums of money. There is someone worse than Locke and his friends though. The Grey King is killing the leaders of the other gangs and generally terrifying the people, and Capa Barsavi. Locke is forced into the Grey King’s service, and he has to try to keep his friends out of trouble.


The Gentleman Bastards
I thought Locke was an intriguing character. He was born in Camorr and raised in the temple of Perelandro after he caused an amazing amount of trouble in his earlier gang. He is short and skinny, he’s clever if not physically gifted and he comes up with very elaborate schemes. He gets some of his friends killed and his master the Thiefmaker, carts him off to Chains. Chains puts his cleverness to better use and trains Locke to become a spectacular con artist. Locke has a certain amount of talent, but Chains teaches him useful skills and that he needs to think about consequence. Even if he’s not the first boy to join Chains he is a natural leader and he takes charge of Calo and Galdo, who lived there before him. He is a criminal mastermind. He is willing to own up to mistakes or his own rudeness. He is willing to do pretty much everything for his friends. There is also constant hints that he is in love with the only girl they had in their gang, Sabetha, and that she is the only girl he’s ever loved. We never meet Sabetha, but she sounds insanely interesting and I hope she shows up in the next book. Locke is good at finding a solution to problems, he is willing to sacrifice a lot for his friends. Locke also has a noble streak. Without revealing too much he is willing to sacrifice a win to help people he has no interest in. He’s tough and strong and I dig him.

Jean Tannen is another orphan, and the person to join the Gentleman Bastards after Locke. He is the son of two merchants and he is clever and a mathematical genius. He is also the “hitter” in the gang. He is bigger and stronger than the other boys and Chains sends him off to learn how to fight. He has an insane temper and is willing to do absolutely everything to save his friends. Jean did not grow up as an orphan like the other Bastards. He grew up with his parents and he seems sort of like a gentle soul. He likes reading and learning. He is also strong and a murderer if he needs to be. Jean is complex and interesting and I look forward to seeing more of him.

Calo and Galdo
The Sanza twins are already at the temple when Locke arrives. They are Chains’ first little boys. They are, according to Chains, silver at everything, gold at nothing. They are jacks-of-all-trades and Locke’s first brothers. They are known among the other gangs as sneaky, good at card cheating. They generally play small parts in the cons, and they back up Locke. They instantly let Locke take charge and seemed to find it easier to let him make the plans. They are tough, strong, they are loyal and awesome.

Bug is the last member, and the youngest member of the Bastards. He is sort of a trainee member. He is tough, more tough than he should be. He works very hard to be accepted by his friends. They use him mainly as a gopher, but they do love him very much.

Chains is the leader of the Bastards while they’re learning the ropes. He is a priest of Perelandro, and he is secretly a Priest of the Crooked Warden, the God of thieves. He puts together a gang of young thieves and he breaks the Secret Peace. The Secret Peace is an unspoken of agreement that makes organized crime alright so long as they stay away from nobility. Chains teaches them language and the skills they need to blend into noble society. He’s tough, strong and pragmatic. He is very willing to throw Locke to the sharks (literal sharks) if he doesn’t tell him the truth and follow Chains’ lead.

The Bastards trust each other implicitly, and it’s an amazing gang. They are brothers and they love each other and I really liked them for that.

The other characters are generally foils for Locke and his friends, since the Bastards are pretty much conning the entire city of Camorr.

Capa Barsavi is interesting and friggin’ terrifying.

I love the Grey King, he’s a spectacular antagonist, he’s just scary enough, and enough in the background to be terrifying.

My thoughts
I loved this book, a lot. I really like fantasy, and it’s been a while since I’ve read epic fantasy, and I suddenly remember why I like it. The way the story is told is very interesting. The main story is told, and you’re dumped right into the action. At the end of pretty much every chapter there is a short interlude where you learn something about how the Gentleman Bastards came together and certain aspects of Camorri culture. It’s an interesting way of structuring the story, because you can just dump people into the story and do character development and world building as the story goes along, and he doesn’t need to info dump, and I really loved the writing style, guys, it’s awesome. The world is so well constructed and the language is awesome. It feels very real, and very natural and it feels true.

I feel like a lot of this is me gushing, but I really fucking loved this book. All the stars and thumbs.