A good friend recently (chooses to stay anonymous) devoured the said fantasy novel, part of a series of three novels so far (with four more in the pipeline). They sent me their review which I am hereby publishing at this forum. Hip Hip Hurray, I am delighted that they loved the book as much as I did! Here goes!
Lies of Locke Lamora- A review (by a a close friend who wants to remain anonymous)
The title “Lies” of Locke Lamora, in the literal sense, couldn’t be more fitting for a book in which the central theme of the story line revolves around deception, trickery and scheming. A highly captivating and thrilling book which unravels the fictional story of seemingly medieval times where a bunch of exceptionally talented and mischievous orphans, the gentlemen bastards, are grouped together initially under the leadership of a con artist, Father Chains, who trains them to scam the wealthy of Camorr, a city where criminals gangs are inherently merged with the city’s administration.
The author unwinds the story in through two separate timelines: one part throws light on the childhood and background of gentlemen bastards and how they came together under the apprenticeship of Father Chains, a highly interesting and devious character which you will come to love as the story progresses while the other part tells how they use their skill set to take on the wealthy of Camorr. An interesting feature of the book is how the author alternates between these two timelines, he incorporates the shifting between the past and present in such a way that compliment both the story lines and gives an insight to character development.
In a city where recruiting orphans into gangs for the purposes of training them to make them and later making profiting off them is nothing out of the ordinary Locke Lamora, the central character, is brought to the attention of Father Chains by yet another gang recruiter, the thief maker, upon discovering discovering that Locke’s innate abilities and aptitude for mischief would be too much for him to handle. Chains takes the boy under his wings and nurtures him along with other orphans namely, the Sanza Twins and Jeane who joins later. As a part of their rigorous training, Father Chains makes each of the orphans go through a series of lessons, Some as understandable and fitting as mastering the art of cooking, maintaining financial accounts, carrying out fake appearances and accents while others as daunting and labor intensive as as making the orphans to live under a false guise to learn a trait or two about various cultures. These trainings, each unique to an individual, cultivated the group in a becoming masterminds of trickery, deceit and scheming and together a formidable force yet maintaining a low key outward reputation. Moreover, what adds on to the strength of this group and makes the readers fall in love with these characters is the chemistry they share and how the gelled together initially under the leadership of Father Chains and later on under Locke Lamora.
(Note: Skip the para below if you do not want spoilers)
As the story progresses the Gentlemen Bastards devise an intricate and complex plot to rob one of the wealthiest Dukes ,nearly enough to live off the loot for the remainder of their lives, and executed it remarkbly almost to the very end until they are caught amongst the tussle of power between the present criminal authority, Capa Barsavi, and the contender, Capa Raza, threatening to take over the reigns of Camorr from him. Capa Raza with the help of Bondsmagi, menacing group of magicians that no one dares to go up against, discovers the truth about seemingly innocuous appearance the Gentlemen Bastards maintain and forces them into doing a close to impossible mission to aid him take over Camorr and at the same time intended to discard the Bastards. In an interesting turn of events Locke along with Jeane escaped their death but unfortunately the rest couldn’t. From here on it becomes a quest for vengeance for Locke and Jean to avenge their deceased comrades and the story climaxes with Locke heroically saving hundreds of lives along with finally putting an end to Capa Raza against all odd and in quite an astonishing manner.
(And continue now!)
This is a highly recommended book even for those who particularly do not enjoy reading. As the story develops it’s hard not fall admire that how fitting each and every character of the book is and it becomes hard not fall in love with them. Throughout the book what keeps the audience involved is the liveliness of the characters and witty banter and humor that is ever so present in the dialogues. Another fascinating aspect of this book is how the execution of all schemes, quite challenging but at the same time practical and once the story picks up pace it encapsulates undivided attention of its readers.