Gentlemen Bastards Series: Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
This has definitely been one of the most enjoyable books I have read in the recent times. When I say enjoyable, don’t be mistaken that I don’t enjoy the rest of the gems thrown up in this hunt to uncover good books being published out there. But this one takes the cake in the recent times! Hands-down winner (A happy “cat-that-swallowed-the-canary” smile stretching from infinity to infinity!)
Mr. Scott Lynch – I am a FAN. A big one. The size of a drop of Jupiter. In Lock Lamora, Lynch has given us a hero whom you would root for, come rain, come sun, come hell highwater. One of the cheekiest bastards with a knack for getting away from impossible situations, a Venetian robin hood with a conscience and heart of gold, a con-man par excellence, Lock Lamora cannot be straight-jacketed into any “typical” categories of “heroes”.
He’s pure spun silk. One that slips past your heart trenches and firmly gets lodged right in the deep most holds of your hearts. When the tempo of this first (Finest opening salvo in any fantasy series I have ever read!) book ups and takes off, you are cheering for every daredevilry act done by Locke, ably supported by his gang.
The scope of the book doesn’t deter too much. Nor does the tone of the book. I was feeling elated all through the book; someone’s managed to write Good, nay, GREAT fantasy without having resorted to dark brooding somber moods. Top notch story-telling, non-stop thrills and intellectually challenging game-settings of cheat and elaborate plots, well thought out, makes this book a pure reading pleasure. It sticks true to the devious plots hatched by the Gentlemen Bastards to rob rich nobles of their ill-earned riches. And the hindrances that they run up against. At least till half way through the book when the narrative becomes a little more darker. With the introduction of the main antagonist ( If I may call him so!) What was most interesting was the narrative that crisscrossed between Locke’s present and his training and childhood; I loved it. It gives us a sense of the fantastic character building that goes and evolves with the story and the clever approach Scott Lynch has taken in introducing readers to the “wild child” who grows up to be the most elusive gentleman thief in the world they are part of. And the rag tag gang that grows up with him. Jean, the twins and the youngest 11-year monkey of a boy. You come away with these characters struggling and clamoring for your mind space. I for one, really couldn’t fault Scott Lynch with anything. There was nothing that disappointed in this fantasy debut. 10/10, if I ever give one, this would be it.
The world building is subtle. A very enjoyable setting of a venice-like city criss crossed with canals, floating markets, high rise spires, bridges and the high seas. Author has taken enough care to paint pretty pictures about fashion that is prominent as a theme throughout this book. Even though the sub plot of what happens when the main villain enters the fray plunges the book into darker themes, we still are hooked onto Locke and Jean’s personal thoughts, feelings and morals. This is what has been the beauty of this book. Delving deep into the psyche of this one man and his best friends. Scott Lynch invents his own currency, his own coinage for “time” as followed in the book, his take on Faith and Religion, another of the interesting part of world building. A history of the world they are set in and the various Gods who control faith in this part of the world. Minor details, yet very thoughtful, very brilliantly presented.
Am going to soon start on the second epic adventure of the Gentleman Bastards, which promises to be even better. Self Contained as a story, the Lies of Locke Lamora thank God doesn’t have a cliffhanger of an ending. Yet we yearn to be part of that ship that’s sailing away carting the Gentlemen Bastards. I should stop before I give away more spoilers. Anyways, Scott Lynch has dropped enough hints about a past love story of Locke that never takes shape in first book. I don’t think it does, in the second one as well. The third is on the way, Republic of Thieves. Waiting for a publishing date for this one.
A little shit kicker of a book that blows up huge in your face and goes beyond every single perception or expectations of yours. 10/10, once again.