Home > Literature, Reviews > Review of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Review of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The setting of this novel is quite interesting (as Stephen Fry might have it) – it’s set in a late medieval/renaissance Italian-style city; specifically, Camorr has a very Venetian feel – the port is archipelagic (how often do you get to use that word in context?) – it’s built on a series of islands interconnected by bridges and boats.

The eponymous Locke is a Gentleman Bastard. To the underworld of Camorr he appears to be a thief of modest abilities; in reality he is a skilled conman who specialises in ripping off the nobility, thus breaking the Secret Peace between the nobs and the thieves. Much of the first part of the book concerns his scheme against Don and Dona Lorenzo. But, of course, it gets an awful lot more complicated later on.

The main complaint I have about this book is the anachronastic language. Despite its ye olde European setting the characters swear like contemporary Americans. For instance, ‘fuck’ is used as an interjection or for emphasis; you have ‘fucking’ this and ‘fucking’ that. I like ‘fuck’ in fantasy when it’s used as a verb, but the way it’s used in LLL just seems out of place. Likewise ‘ass’ and ‘asshole’. I prefer ‘arse’, (but then I’ve always been a bit anally retentive).

Apart from all that, the writing is OK. Not brilliant, but certainly not awful. For a lot of the book I got the sense that it didn’t quite feel authentic, that I didn’t quite believe in the characters, but I gradually lost this feeling as I drew towards the end. In fact, towards the end the story picks up a lot and I felt my heart beating faster as Locke did and was done to.

In the first half of the book I thought I probably wouldn’t bother reading the next volume (Red Seas Under Red Skies, recently released), but now I’m not so sure. I may well do, but I’m not going to make it a priority.

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