Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review: The Lies Of Locke Lamora

In the island-city of Camorr, Locke’s story begins. He is a homeless, penniless, parentless child with a quick mind, a talent for thievery, and a flair for the dramatic. Chains, a faux priest, takes him in, along with a carefully chosen “family.”  Locke is raised as the ultimate con man. With the suave Sanza twins, the fighter Jean, and the scrawny Bug, Locke is soon fleecing the nobles of Camorr in one brilliant confidence game after another.

But as Locke’s gang, the Gentlemen Bastards, grow rich with their games, trouble is stirring under Camorr’s surface. A mysterious new force calling himself the Gray King is butchering the leaders of the underworld, and Locke soon finds himself caught between a powerful sorcerer, a murderous King, a vengeful nobility, and a dangerous group known as the Midnighters… all of whom want nothing more than to see Locke dead. Can Locke pull off his final, perfect con, or has he finally gone too far?

Entertainment: ★★★★★

This book is exciting. I literally could not put it down; I was dying to know what would happen. I think the right word to describe The Lies of Locke Lamora is “gripping,” and that’s really the only way I can describe it. Very few books can make me pause, and reread a passage, just because it so stunned me with its ridiculous, audacious awesomeness. This is one of them.

Plot: ★★★

The plot was extremely chaotic and at times so convoluted I had to reread a few pages to understand what, exactly, what happening. Despite this, it’s one of the most interesting storylines I’ve seen in a while! I would have easily given it four stars, except I disliked the ending very much. I won’t describe my exact issues with it here, due to major spoilers, but suffice to say I didn’t think it concluded things very well, there were dangling threads, and I just didn’t like what happened.

Characters: ★★

Locke is just brilliant with his plans; however, he gets stunningly brutal at times and he often does things erratically and with no apparent rhyme, reason, or explanation. Unfortunately, although Locke and his gang are intense and cool, I just didn’t connect with them. The main villain particularly fell pretty flat, at the one chapter where I assume I was supposed to connect with him. Also, I took issue with the fact that Locke’s love interest, although mentions of her were sprinkled liberally throughout the story, never once actually appeared. So although Lies is full of decent characters, I never really thought of them as people.

Writing: ★★

First of all, I have to mention that the chapters have an annoying habit of flashing back and forth from various timelines without any real warning, so sometimes it takes several paragraphs to figure out if this is child-thief Locke, young protégé Locke, or Gentlemen Bastard conman Locke. Also, the expletives are a little excessive – even the nobles feel the need to swear like sailors at the slightest provocation. Every now and then is fine with me, but we’re talking at least twice a page here. I got a little fed up.

(Younger or less adventurous readers, Lies is actually an adult book and definitely deserves that rating. It’s more than a little gory and graphic.)

End Result: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

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