Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Lies of Locke Lamora (More costume changes than FFX-2)
Upon first introduction to the book, you need to look no further than the name of the series: The Gentlemen Bastard Sequence. That about encompasses the entire book and what a brilliant book it is. Scott Lynch juxtaposes levity with hard knocks seamlessly. While you spend half the story delighted at the sheer cleverness of Locke and his group of thieves, the other half is spent in horror at the dark depths the story takes. The landscape is alien and fantastical and you remember the characters long after the novel ends. The Gentlemen Bastards may not be paragons of honor and virtue, but they're one of the most entertaining groups I've seen in a long while.
A Villain Jamboree #1: First on the list is Don and Dona Salvara. They're not really the villains, just the nobles that Locke and his crew of Merry Men are stealing from. This beginning portion of the book where Locke becomes Lukas Fehrweight and ALSO a Midnighter showcases the brilliance of the Gentlemen Bastards as well as displays the camaraderie of the gang. This section is light, happy and frolick-y.
A Villain Jamboree #2: The Capa Barsavi's section introduces a seriousness to the story, perhaps because when they enter his chambers, he's brutally torturing a man. Now the fun little romp through Camorr suddenly seems to be more dangerous than they originally let on. Barsavi's a little off kilter, but genuinely not that bad by way of crime lords. Nazca's a great character and even though the Capa wants Locke to marry her, you still feel confident that they'll manage to get through all of this based on Locke's cleverness.
A Villain Jamboree #3: Once we meet the Gray King, it's the figurative long beginning of the end. Where we lose all hope. Where we're desolate, horribly upset. Where the Gray King uses Locke, makes him turn against his Capa, has him beaten within an inch of his life and left for dead. Where the Gray King destroys the Gentlemen's Bastards by stealing their fortune, but worse, by killing the Sanzas, Bug and trying to kill Jean. His brothers. This was a hard bit to read and it keeps getting worse and worse until you're absolutely positive that everyone is going to die. The Gray King manages to knock off half the characters introduced in the book and reduce Locke to a soggy mess. But Locke stops him, and fights him one on one at the end, taking vengeance on his fallen brothers.
Some of the finest scenes involve the rituals of the Gentlemen Bastards, the prayers they say to the Crooked God, their repeated sayings. All of it makes them such a tight knit group which is why it all crumbles. The theme of this book is definitely revenge and it's threaded into the very marrow of the city they live in, Camorr. And when Locke takes his revenge? It's a triumph that nearly knocks you breathless.