Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Author: Scott Lynch
Goodreads Rating: 4.26
“There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.”
The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first book in the Gentleman Bastard series. We’re introduced to a family of orphans and their rather unique upbringing with a priest of the Crooked Warden, Father Chains. As you meet the main characters including Locke, Jean, Calo, Galdo, and Bug, you are thrust into the wonderful and complex world of thieves in the city of Camorr. The story follows our main characters’ present day schemes with flashbacks to their childhood training as they learn the art of thievery.
Great characters and relationships
The friendship between Locke and Jean is one of the best I’ve ever read. The genuine care and concern for each member of the Gentleman Bastards is amazing to read and you suddenly are pulling for the best and most moral of the “bad guys”.
There are also some intriguing character elements with the Spider and the Grey King that I would never have guessed. Their stories are fascinating and well-developed.
Interesting setting and culture
The story takes place in Camoor – one crazy, action-packed city. Filled with gangs, the Black Whisper plague, shark fighters, and secretive government forces, this city is sure to entertain you throughout the book. Camoor’s Secret Peace, an agreement between the ruling classes and the criminal underworld, also adds an interesting element to the story.
Fun and useful flashbacks
Lynch’s flashbacks can be jarring at first because he intentionally cuts off action scenes to provide relevant tidbits of info from the main characters’ childhoods. Once I got used to that writing style, the flashbacks were some of my favorite parts of the book because they included amazing characters like Father Chains and Don Maranzalla and hilarious moments involving Locke and Jean’s earlier shenanigans.
Overpowered magic system
In The Lies of Locke Lamora, there is a group of magic users known as the Bondsmagi of Karthain and they are incredibly overpowered. They have the ability to control your actions, get inside of your head, work with deadly animals, and cause excruciating pain. When a bondsmage is involved, there is little you can do to fight back which essentially makes you powerless and exceptionally vulnerable. There is a shared fear and hesitation to get on the bad side of the Bondsmagi of Karthain.
Lack of suspicion
As you get to know the ruling class of Camoor, you hear them mention the Thorn of Camoor. This individual has wreaked havoc on the ruling class by robbing and stealing from them. Some believe the Thorn of Camoor is just a legend or myth… but the secretive government forces run by the Duke and the Spider believe this person does exist and are attempting to hunt him or her down.
What’s interesting is that the gangs never mention or attempt to find out who is the Thorn of Camoor. With the Secret Peace in mind, you’d think that they’d still want to know the inside scoop on this mysterious thief.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is an exciting and action-packed story following a quirky group of guys. It feels like Locke and Jean are thief versions of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Even Locke’s ex-lover comes across like Irene Adler. If you enjoy reading about fantastic friendships and elaborate schemes, I highly recommend diving into this series.