Book a Week Challenge (Late Edition) – Book 13

WHAT’S PLAYING:  Rihanna feat. Jay-Z “Talk That Talk”

This week’s first book is The Lies of Lock Lamora by Scott Lynch.

This is the story of Locke Lamora, a thief and con artist plying his trade in the ancient city of Camorr. Tricking the more gullible nobles out of their fortunes is little more than a game for him and his friends, the Gentleman Bastards. But then a mysterious figure known as the Gray King decides to use Locke as a pawn in his bid to take over Camorr’s organized crime syndicate. And to make matters worse, the Duke’s secret police, the Midnighters, are hot on his trail.

The Lies of Locke Lamora tells two tales: the first is the story of Locke’s childhood, raised as an orphaned thief on the merciless streets of Camorr, and the second is the latest confidence game he and his gang, the Gentleman Bastards, are trying to pull off amidst an escalating feud between a mysterious villain known as the Gray King and the city’s underworld boss. Lynch’s expert weaving of these two storylines allows us to become completely immersed in the world of Camorr and thoroughly invested in his characters. Even when Locke is at his most arrogant, you can’t help but love him and the rest of the gang. So, when circumstances go from good to bad to worse to “oh shit!”, there’s nothing to do but see it through.

I have one nit to pick with this book. Locke spends much of the book pining over a character who is discussed but never seen. We spend so much time hearing about his lost love, Sabetha, that it’s a bit of letdown when she doesn’t appear, not even in a flashback.

Still, this is a book you won’t want to miss. Everything comes together the way epic fantasy should, but rarely does. Twists and turns abound, taking the reader from laughter, through shock, tears, and terror, only to come back to laughter.

Favorite Line/Image:  “I don’t have to beat you,” Locke whispered, grinning madly up at the Gray King, his face streaked with blood and tears, his nose broken and his lips cracked, his vision swimming and edged with blackness. “I don’t have to beat you, motherfucker. I just have to keep you here…until Jean shows up.”

At that, the Gray King became truly desperate, and his blows fell like rain, but Locke was heedless of them, laughing the wet braying laugh of utter madness. “I just have to keep you here…until Jean…shows up!”

What I Learned:  I grew up watching reruns of the A-team, and one of my favorite memories is the wonderful George Peppard as John “Hannibal” Smith chomping on his cigar and growling, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Well, that’s exactly how I feel about this book. Original premise, memorable characters, and gorgeously realized setting and description, all mesh seamlessly into something that is truly fantastic. But it is the story’s nonlinear architecture that will keep you turning the pages long after you should be in bed.

Bottom Line:  Read it! Read it now!

Coming Up Next: Heartless by Gail Carriger