It’s been 4 weeks, and the Lies of Locke Lamora readalong has drawn to a close. And what a ride it was! I don’t know why I’d waited so long to read this book, but I’m glad I finally had a good excuse to stop putting it off. The questions and discussion have been a lot of fun, and when all is said and done, I should be writing a finally all-encompassing review early next week.
Speaking of questions, let’s take a look at this batch, before we all move on to the next book of the series.
Question: The Meraggio chapter felt like an Ocean’s Eleven inspired mini-adventure all to itself. What did you think of it? Did it feel a little out of place or do you think that it did well to lighten the book a little after all the dark events that occurred just before it?
I thought it was interesting to see one of Locke’s schemes not going according to plan. Well, not drastically and potentially fatally, anyway. It may not have been immediately related to the action, but it didn’t feel out of place to me. It was a necessary step to getting Locke where he needed to be, and to have skipped it would have stretched credibility. Locke just happens to have one last awesome set of clothes to continue his ruse, one that escaped destruction or theft? That would have been a bit cheap.
Question: The Interlude about the Camorri brothels is an interesting one. It seemed as if it would have been better coming a little bit earlier. Why do you think Scott Lynch chose to include this Interlude where he did, so late in the book? What do you think it added to the story?
I like the little interludes that shed light on Camorri culture and mindset. This one served as a effective conveyance for how the one hand greases the other, how everyone has arrangements to keep the peace, and if that peace is disturbed, bad things happen. It was a microcosm, a small example of the larger whole, in addition to just being a neat tidbit of info about how some of the less salient parts of Camorr function.
Question: Although we had the Bondsmagi, Magic and Mythical creatures were more ‘in the background’ of this novel. It’s worth noting that this was one of the first fantasy novels that, despite being set in a fantasy world, features very little fantasy (many followed / were released around the same time such as Joe Abercrombie’s or Doug Hulick’s books, for example). What did you think of the lack of ‘fantastical’ elements?
To be honest, where often this is a fairly glaring thing to me when I read fantasy without fantastical elements, I didn’t really notice it much here. And it could just be that I’m also in the middle of reading Game of Thrones, which is similar in its lack of fantastical stuff, only moreso, but The Lies of Locke Lamora didn’t seem to have anything lacking. There were plenty of fantasy elements scattered through the pages, mostly hinted at, but the fact that most of the book took place around them rather than including them wasn’t a problem because the story was told in such a fantastic way. It’s hard to notice when a thing is lacking when you’re too enthralled by what is there.
Question: Do you think we’ve seen the last of the Bondsmage or do you think he’ll be back?
I think we’ve seen the last of him. Though given other things I’ve tried to predict about this book, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to discover that I’m dead wrong about that.
Question: Do you think the fact Locke saved so many nobles makes him a good guy after all? Do his past crimes deserve to be forgiven for the saving of so many lives?
There’s too much emphasis placed on “good guy / bad guy.” A person can be both, or neither, depending on the situation. Locke saved the day, which was good, but still carried on his schemes and would cheerfully have robbed everyone blind, given half the chance, which many would say makes him a bad guy. I think he’s just a guy defying simplistic categorization, and having a damn load of fun while he’s at it!
Question: What were your favourite and least favourite parts of the book?
That’s a tough one. Least favourite would probably be the Salvaras inviting Locke to the grand party at the end, because that seemed a touch contrived. I suspected that they had figured out a few things about Locke’s disguise and were trying to lead him into a trap; that was how contrived it seemed to me.
My favourite bits were toward the beginning, when we’re seeing more of Locke’s childhood and his early attempts at theft and learning restraint. I have a soft spot for charismatic thieves, and an even softer spot for them when they’re children, because they’re such fun to read about then.
Question: Where does Locke Lamora stand in your list of all-time great fantasy books? Is it right up there or does something hold it back?
Oh, it’s right up there. I wouldn’t call it my favourite, but the story and the writing definitely put it in the Favourites list, where I suspect it’ll stay for a long time to come.