Hey everyone! The Book of the Week is back! I’m in a funny mood, so I thought we could talk about a funny book today: The Lies of Locke Lamora! I’ll be very upfront about this: if you haven’t read this book yet, do it. Do it now. Some slight spoilers will follow the cut, including ruining what is possibly the greatest punch line in literature.
So, where to begin? The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first book in Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard Sequence, and it is a unique book in my experiences reading epic fantasy. As the cover quote would imply, many people use the hook “if you like Game of Thrones, you’ll love this!” While that’s probably true (it was of me, though that wasn’t how I was introduced to Lies) for many people, I think it does an injustice to the kind of story that Lynch is building. When people think of Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire, there is a very specific kind of image that comes to mind: political backstabbing, scheming among royalty and nobility, and general depression in a world falling apart at the hinges.
In the Gentlemen Bastard Sequence, you really don’t get much of that. The Lies of Locke Lamora is about the crew of thieves known as the Gentlemen Bastards, how they came to be, and how their futures will be changed by politics both high and low. It’s a dark book, and gritty, which is why I imagine many people like to compare it to ASoIaF, but it’s also very lighthearted. Scott Lynch has an absolute gift with humor, and I can honestly say that he made me laugh out loud many times in this book.
The structure of Lies (and the rest of the Gentlemen Bastard books) is a bit unorthodox. It opens with a scene in the past, perhaps twenty years before the main events of the book, and it revisits that timeline consistently throughout. While this was at first a little off-putting, it actually helps to establish important worldbuilding and character development—and sets up what is unquestionably the best line in the book:
“Nice bird, asshole.”
The humor aside, this is a very deep book, a story that pulls you in before pulling you under. When considered altogether, it moves very quickly; events happen earlier than you would expect, but don’t feel like they happened too early. The pacing is great.
Overall, I simply cannot give The Lies of Locke Lamora a higher recommendation. It’s a completely satisfying first book in a series. Lies answers all the important questions while setting up plenty of new mysteries for future installments. It’s a refreshingly different style and type of story and world in a genre that seems to be obsessed with getting darker and darker. I give Scott Lynch’s first Gentlemen Bastards book a hearty five out of five stars.
Seriously, go read it. Now.