Suspension of Disbelief: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Suspension of Disbelief is a weekly feature, in which we review movies, books, TV shows, and other popular culture for the skeptical teen.
As someone who’s read a lot of books, I have come to really enjoy writers who play with the language while developing an awesome story at the same time. The Lies of Locke Lamora is a perfect example of that, and has a story that always keep you on your toes, in terms of witty banter and plot twists. It is one of the most interesting and fun fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time.
Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Author: Scott Lynch
I actually hadn’t heard about Scott Lynch before I read this book. Maybe not that surprising, as it was his first novel when it was published seven years ago. My suspicions toward the unknown soon dwindled though, when one of my friends handed me the slightly tattered book, which had a stamp of a approval from George RR Martin himself.
As per usual, the main protagonist is picked from the fantasy trifecta – warrior, mage and thief. A little more unusual is the fact that we are following the thief in this novel. For this story centres around Locke Lamora and his gang, the Gentlemen Bastards. They include his hulking friend Jean, the Sanza twins and the young apprentice Bug.
The book starts with introducing the city of Camorr, a place with plenty of medieval Venice-esque aspects. One of the city districts has been struck by a plague targeting only adults, and all the children become orphaned. A man simply known as the Thiefmaker buys a few dozen of them from the city guard – Locke included – before the rest are sent off as slaves. Sadly, Locke is too unruly for the Thiefmaker, and is sold again, this time to the not-so-holy priest named Chains. From here, we leap forward in time, following Locke as a grown man while still unravelling his past and learning more about Camorr.
Something that’s really refreshing about this is that Locke isn’t TEH ONE. He isn’t chosen by fate, and no bearded old man tells him that it’s his destiny to save the kingdom. He and his friends are nothing but petty thieves and scammers – or, that is what they seem to be.
Yet I still feel that Locke and the other characters are relatable. They are shaped by the environment and driven by their ambitions. Lynch has written the book with plenty of twists and turns, and the people in it react more or less like humans do. Most of it is beautifully orchestrated, and makes the book incredibly engrossing. It can also be quite bloody, but that only seems fitting in a city that’s so harsh and unlawful. In the end, all the different aspects make this book into a tale that manages to take turns at being exciting, surprising and horrifying.
Scott Lynch has made a good debut with this novel, and I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of this projected seven books series. I highly recommend reading it.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Wicked Sisters (you’ll only get that if you read the book!)