Things Written Down.

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along Thus Far.

As a writer, I have a problem with Scott Lynch. As a reader, I love him.

The problem stems from nothing but unadulterated professional (amateur :)) jealousy. I’ve read roughly the first hundred pages of Lies of Locke Lamora and it seems like every page has left me shaking my head thinking ‘How can anyone write crime so eloquently?’ Every description seems brilliantly, wittily, precisely put. I’m still reeling from the simple perfection of Lynch’s ‘They fenced pleasantries’… It struck me as a great expression of something complex and intricate, perfectly condensed into one miniscule description. I physically put my book down, upon coming across that phrase, and just thought about it for a little while. Simple perfection.

So that’s what I think of Scott Lynch so far.Β  That was question one, by the way.

Question Two ties in well to my praise of Lynch: what do you think of the timelines? Well… Good Lord, that man can write. The set-up is perfect; there is nothing but suspense, intrigue, humour and tragedy in those first hundred pages. From tiny little Lamora who steals from the wrong people, to adolescent Lamora who, er, steals from the wrong people, the reader can’t help but be impressed by the guy’s (and wait for it, cos here’s a word I don’t bust out very often) hubris. No, he is not circumspect, but I couldn’t help but be amused nonetheless. These pages are some of the funniest tragedies I’ve read in a long time. Every miniature arc is perfectly timed, to link back to the origin story at exactly the right moment, leaving the reader never frustrated and never bored, but always waiting for the next tidbit of information from way back when. I loved the way the story veered from long long ago to long ago to Present Lamora. The long long ago is the shortest section, providing a very endearing introduction to the little orphan boy who can’t stay out of trouble. This ties neatly into the older Lamora, still always in trouble but learning slowly the meaning of the term ‘circumspect.’ The transformation between young Lamora and Present Lamora is fantastic. The boy who could never keep his hand out of someone else’s pockets seems to slowly turn into the world’s greatest conman. A Gentleman Bastard. That term alone, by the by, is what placed this book squarely on my to-read list so long ago.

I’m skipping a few questions here, I hope nobody minds, but I want to get straight to the question of ‘how do you like your worlds built?’ (paraphrase!). I love Camorr. I have always wanted to visit Venice, the similarity to which is one of my favourite things about this wonderful city of alleyways and canals. The characters are witty and engrossing, the city is beautiful and dreamy, the aristocratic system of Dukes and Houses is interesting and very well thought-out thus far. The ‘false-facing’ (another one of my ‘How Did He Come Up With That Term?’ moments) and deceit has hooked me as well- I’m a great fan of hustles and heists, and this story seems like it’s leading somewhere great. What I’m saying is, I want to live in this book.


I’m away on holiday next week so my post may be a little late but rest assured I’ll be keeping up with my reading!

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27 thoughts on “The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along Thus Far.

  1. I was also very impressed with his writing. One of the biggest problems that I have when reading fantasy is that there are so many people who can come up with amazing stories but just can’t write. Scott Lynch is not one of them. I loved the way that he managed to handle the worldbuilding without doing a giant infodump, but instead letting it unfold with the story as it is necessary. I was a bit hesitant about three different timelines at first, but he handled it masterfully.

    • Infodump! Exactly, that’s exactly what Lynch avoids doing. I often find myself skipping a page or two in some fantasy novels because there’s just so much unnecessary detail at once.

      • I also like that he trusts his readers enough not to repeat little details over and over again. I think that Lynch did a fantastic job with the setup here.

  2. Well, that certainly is a great love letter to Lynch and so well put. I love his world building, it’s got such great layers. I suppose a lot of people are going to hit upon the Venice thing and picture that a little. I’ve been doing the same thing, plus Venice is just a fantastic city of contrasts – opulence and palaces to tiny little back alleys and that’s how I picture Camorr.
    The other thing, like you, is the love of the characters. I mean, Locke is not exactly keeping it on the straight and narrow but you just can’t help liking him.
    I really enjoyed reading your review, being a reread it’s really refreshing to get a fresh perspective.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

    • Thank you! I’ve always wanted to go to Venice, I’m actually going later this year and all I’ll be able to think about is conmen and underground orphan networks… πŸ™‚

      I do adore the characters. Locke is my favourite of course, but his band of thieves and Chains are great fun as well! Even the Thiefmaker is an excellent storyteller, and that does endear him to me a little.

  3. Pingback: Lies of Locke Lamora read along, part ONE « the Little Red Reviewer

  4. Rose, your post has me wishing i could go back in time and be reading these books for the first time. He’s got the writing down, the world building spot on, the metaphors sharp and precise. you nailed it with Good Lord that man can write! Thus my obsession with the talented Mister Lynch. If you’ve a weakness for con artist stories (me too!), you’ll be in heaven for the next 600 pages.

    So many fantasies take place in the standard medieval western Europe. Ok, so a Venice-esque place isn’t too far away, but it sure is refreshing to read something different. Not sure if I could live in Camorr, but I do want to dive into this book and spend the rest of my life swimming through it.

    • I’ve always wanted to visit Venice because it seems to me like a city straight out of a fantasty novel anyway! A city built on canals, there SHOULD be a fantasy novel set there. Particularly a stylish novel full of political intrigue and deception. It’s a perfect setting.

      I also enjoyed reading Mr. Lynch’s livejournal entry about how he wavered between settings and how the decision to use Venice instead of a standard medieval dirt town opened up his whole writing process. It’s so interesting to get the writer himself’s perspective as part of this readalong.

      • He’s got another livejournal post up with info about the characters as well. I think he’s planning to do something every weekend, same as our group is. We’re writing him love letters every week, so he’s giving us something back. How awesome is that???

      • That’s excellent, I must check out that second entry as well. Loving this read-along!

      • I never picked up that interesting tidbit from SL’s live journal! Must go back and read properly. I’m so glad he went for this setting rather than the medieval dirt town – not that I don’t like that setting also but I’m already reading the Game of Thrones books and so it becomes a bit tedious if everything has the same feel.
        Lynn πŸ˜€

  5. I would very likely read Lynch even if the plot was only so-so, just because his writing has the sort of clever twist I know I will NEVER manage. It’s just beautiful, what he does with words, making everything so vivid and fresh. And really, who can resist conmen? (Another obsessed here!)

    One day I’ll go to Venice and spend all my time pretending I’m in Camorr. Hopefully someone official looking will wear mustard yellow so I can run away from them! πŸ˜€

    • My, there do seem to be a few hustle and heist fans around these parts! I do love a good conman story.

      I’ve already read most of Section 2, I confess. I just couldn’t help it, I started reading it last night and just couldn’t put it down!

  6. Pingback: The Lies of Locke Lamora Part I « Darkcargo

  7. nrlymrtl on said:

    I so agree with you on the writing. I found myself re-reading lines because of how much was conveyed in a simple sentence. Of course, there were other sentences that just had me laughing and I had to read them out loud to My Main Man.

  8. I wish I knew how to read from a writer’s perspective. πŸ™‚ It seems I am missing out on much.
    And I can’t believe how it never even occurred to me that Camorr resembles Venice?!
    I obviously need to do something about my reading practices… πŸ˜‰

    • It might not have occurred to me if not for my already existing obsession with Venice!

      As for the reading from a writer’s perspective, to be honest it’s not something I do all the time. It’s only when I read the work of a really great writer that I find myself stopping to say ‘Wow. I wish I could do that with words.’

  9. Yeah Lynch is a great writer. I think he’s particularly good with structure and pacing. I like how we get quite short chapters at the start while we’re still getting comfortable with the book but as we get drawn in to the story the chapters get longer. He reveals more detail at exactly the right time.

    • I hadn’t paid much attention to the lengths of the chapters, but it’s certainly true that his pacing is spot-on.

      With a lesser author, it could get very tiresome switching from timeline to timeline but Lynch writes it perfectly. Somehow I was never dissatisfied with the flashbacks being cut off and the interludes ending, because within about three sentences I was hooked on the next section of the story.

  10. I don’t think I can call myself a writer but I do write a bit, and how I wish I could write like that man! Well, let’s face it, it’s not going to happen (for me, at least) so I stick to enjoying his wonderful stories.
    Camorr also reminds me of Venice, and sometimes I wonder if I picture it wrongly… maybe I don’t after all!

    • I’m in the same boat, I don’t think I could ever write the way he does. But then again, it’s rare to find an author this adept with the written word. Plus, finding an author of this quality gives me something to aspire to. πŸ˜€

  11. I dabble in writing and every time I read Lies or pretty much anything by Lynch I want to cry, because if I live forever I’m never ever going to be that good.

    • Join the club! I love the written word, but I can never make it behave itself and do what it’s told. (I have this strange metaphor in my head, where English is a circus. I’m, I guess- rather uncomplimentarily to myself- one of the guys who leads the bigger lumbering animals around, and Lynch is a ringmaster/lion-tamer/something else awesome and the words just do what he wants them to and leap through whatever flaming rings he happens to have in his possession.)

      That said, take a look at his livejournal entries and be reassured that The Lies of Locke Lamora was not written overnight, it seemingly took years. Maybe, if we’re really really patient…

  12. Pingback: The Lies Of Locke Lamora Read Along Continues | rosesthingamajig

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