Paperback (Gollancz, 531 pages)
First published 2006; this edition published 2007
Rating on Goodreads: 4 stars
“The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a friend to the poor, a ghost that walks through walls.
Slightly built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves. The Gentleman Bastards.
The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they have ever known. But now a clandestine war is threatening to tear it apart. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends are suddenly struggling just to stay alive…”
Locke, you really are a little shit.
And that’s why I like this book. It’s clever, it’s often very funny, and the world-building is excellent. I know there have been comparisons between Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss – the latter even addressed this in his review of this novel – but I genuinely think that’s wrong. Both authors are distinct in their own ways, and I enjoy both writers’ works immensely.
That goes for The Lies of Locke Lamora. The chapters flip between present day Locke and interludes, where Locke is still a child, which gives the reader a nice insight into backstory. Initially I found the beginning of the novel difficult to get into, even considering putting it down, but I’m extremely glad I didn’t, for the sole reason that it very quickly turned into rip-roaring fun.
Fun. That is the word I would probably use to describe this book. It reads almost like a film – and I dearly hope some skilled director brings it to life one day, because it would be fantastic. The characters are well fleshed-out, the details of world-building tight and many. Locke’s wit and sarcasm is right up my street, and he is a character I quickly came to adore and despair at when he got himself into scrapes – which, by the way, is often. Oh, my god is it often. Little shit indeed. There is mischief and mayhem aplenty, and what a joy it was to read.
Fantasy-lovers, if you have not yet read this book: WHY NOT? READ IT. READ. And then read the sequel, which I certainly plan to do.
It is enchanting, riotously funny, and above all, epic. Honestly, I could not recommend this enough.