“He’s got larceny in his heart, sure as the sea’s full of piss.”
Locke Lamora has larceny in heart, profanity on his tongue, mischief in his soul and loyalty in spades. And he and his band of Gentleman Bastards slayed me from beginning to end.
Under the umbrella of speculative fiction, I tend to shy away from door stopper high fantasy. I’ve yet to cultivate a tolerance for the inevitable slog of world building. I kind of want to be that person who drools over the landscapes and waxes poetical about the Elder-Ani-Hob-Mist sword of Bruhana, but those synapses just haven’t fully fired yet. I hold out hope that this will still happen for me however, I am a growing grasshopper whose knowledge and tastes are expanding.
While The Lies of Locke Lamora could hardly be called a doorstopper (at a mere 500 pages), it is a story set in fantastical city of glass and alchemical light and water – created and abandoned by a mysterious and long-gone alien race. So, clearly, Lynch has a lot of explaining to do - I prepared for the grind.
I quickly found that I didn't have much grinding to do. The prologue is brilliant.
As with most tales worth telling, this isn’t about those middle of the road people just schlepping along. Locke is from that tenuous place between survival and death, where miscreants and mayham rule. Where reality is ugly, filthy and starving and lies are paramount to success. Even though this cut-throat world should feel desperate – it doesn’t. It was fun. Camorr and it's underground have a unique bond through clever calculations and nearly jolly criminal activity. For Locke’s part, his lies are the most fun thieving, conniving things, and they are full of joy. He has larceny in his heart, and he loves it.
“I’ve got kids that enjoy stealing. I’ve got kids that don’t think about stealing one way or the other, and I’ve got kids that just tolerate steeling because they know they’ve got nothing else to do. But nobody – and I mean nobody – has ever been hungry for it like this boy. If he had a bloody gash across his throat and a physiker was trying to sew it up, Lamora would steal the needle and thread and die laughing. He…steals too much.”
I found absolutely everything about him charming and therefore I read this book like I eat cake, without any thought at all as to what I was doing. I compulsively turned the pages and read through loads of paragraphs that described glass structures, social structures and the hierarchy of the animal kingdom without any regard to their caloric value, because it tasted so good.
And that's not even touching on the gang of Gentleman Bastards themselves, who are beyond definition really. I take a shine to themes of friendship and family. They really played my heartstrings - I might have a little larceny in my heart now as well.
And while I make that all sound like sunshine and puppies and rainbow sprinkles, don't be fooled. There is strife. There is strife and blood and revenge that had me so wrapped up in blood lust that I considered some calming techniques and introspection. Did I really want to run *someone* through with a knife and feel their own pulse of life slowly die, or am I perhaps a little too invested?
There is ugly, but it is perfectly balanced with a lot of the sweet stuff – humor, devotion and wit.
This is all I’m going to say because I’m a girl who loves to open a package at Christmas on Christmas morning, not one minute before – I don’t want even a hint as to what's in the box. That one fleeting moment of discovery is worth all the temptation and waiting. This is the case with Lies – I think it’s worth the blind read.