The Lies of Locke Lamora is amazing. Freakin’ brilliant. I think it deserves 100x more attention than it is getting right now. With an easy but engaging writing style, lovable characters, and fantastic world-building, you can’t really go wrong.Let’s start with the world-building because it was beautiful. It’s more subtle than, say, The Way of Kings or Mistborn. You start the book feeling quite at home in Renaissance Italy, and then all of a sudden super intelligent fantastical sharks jump out of the water and start eating gladiators, and there’s talk of magicians and you’re like woahhh.
Throughout the book there are subtle hints of the history of the world and the characters, and Lynch slowly starts to pull back the layers and introduce things in a completely natural way. This onion has a lot of layers, and by the end of the book you will be dying to find out more about the world and the backstory. Not only that, but I think the Gentleman Bastard series is made up of several onions and even though I’m three books in, I’ve only really discovered about half of the first one. Onion, that is. We’re still talking about that analogy.
Also, I have to mention the representation of women in this series and world. A lot of the time in the fantasy novels I read (looking at you, Mistborn) the female characters are few and far between, and they’re so under-represented it hurts me. In the Gentleman Bastard series, however, Lynch does a pretty great job with it. While there aren’t any female main characters (yet), there is an abundance of secondary and tertiary female characters, and a lot of them are in-fucking-charge. AND the whole city of Camorr is basically run by women. There’s a chapter dedicated to talking about how the women rose up and basically came to rule the city. I died. DIED.
Okay, so, the characters. LOCKE AND JEAN, FIRST AND FOREMOST. If they’re not your OTP then you’re doing it wrong. Their relationship is the loveliest thing, and it really is the focal point of the series. There’s not Locke Lamora without Jean Tannen. They prop each other up. Locke is meant to be a BAMF leader but he’s also vulnerable and Jean is there to help and protect him. I was telling Tatum about how Jean protects Locke with his physical strength and power, whereas Locke protects Jean with his wits and sharp tongue. It’s legit.
The rest of the gang of thieves and con-artists are, of course, wonderful. They’re not as developed as Locke and Jean are, for reasons that become clear later on, but throughout the series you get to know them more and more and now that I’ve finished The Republic of Thieves I am in love with this little crew. I love this whole crime family to pieces.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is a book that I’m dying to reread. I rarely reread anything, and right this second the only recent (as in, in the last three years) reread I can recall doing is The Final Empire. And that’s one of my all time favourites. JUST LIKE THIS BOOK.
Just read it. Thanks.
OHOHOH, I should end with some quotes! Here you go:
There’s no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.
“I cut off his fingers to get him to talk, and when he’d confessed everything I wanted to hear, I had his fucking tongue cut out, and the stump cauterized.”
Everyone in the room stared at him.
“I called him an asshole, too,” said Locke. “He didn’t like that.”
“Until Jean shows up.”