Book Reviews of The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1)

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1)
The Lies of Locke Lamora - Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1
Author: Scott Lynch
ISBN-13: 9780553804676
ISBN-10: 0553804677
Publication Date: 6/27/2006
Pages: 512
Rating:
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 27

4.1 stars, based on 27 ratings
Publisher: Spectra
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

18 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 260 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3

The Lies of Locke Lamorra isnt a good book. It isnt a great book. Its a really good book! Ill admit it has some flaws that keep it from being a great book though.


Lies is about the adventures of Locke Lamorra, priest of the Crooked Warden (God of Thieves) and leader of a gang of second story men called the Gentleman Bastards. Hes also a near mythical con artist called the Thorn of Camorr, who preys upon the greed and gullibility of the nobles of Camorr. Normally, committing a crime against the nobility of Camorr simply isnt done, because of the Secret Peace between the ruler of Camorr and the leader of Camorrs underwold. The book is also about how Locke became a Gentleman Bastard, his friend Jean Tannen became one as well, the City of Camorr, its history and how all of these interact to make life interesting and adventurous for Locke, Jean and the rest of the Gentleman Bastards.


There are many characters involved the Thiefmaker, Father Chains, Calo and Galdo Sanza, Bug, Capa Brava, Nazca Brava, her borthers, Don and Doña Salvara, and the Grey King all play prominent roles. However one gets left out in all the reviews I looked at: Camorr.


As readers, we get a fair amount of history through Chains education of the young Locke and info dump flash backs, that tell us how things came to the current state of affairs. I was particularly taken with the emergence of independent brothels, the tale of handball and revenge and why killing a Bondsmage is an incredibly bad idea. All of these little things give us the character of the city and its inhabitants. These become very important in how it shaped Locke, the Gentleman Bastards and the Grey King, just like a parent shapes a childs personality and worldview.


All of these things are part of the arsenal of Chekhovs guns that Lynch places in the book. From the alchemical gentling of animals and people, the plague that orphans Locke, how Capa Brava came to power and kept it, to the Pennance Day gladiatorial bouts against sea life and the professional gladiators that fight in them and the Secret Peace. All of these are hung, and eventually used.


Camorrs character is also worth exploring. Its obviously inspired by Medieval and Renaissance Venice (and maybe, Merovinge). It is a center of shipping, drawing off the wealth of trade routes and industry. It has wealthy nobles and merchants, an organized police force and a secret police force. It also has Elderglass towers, skyscraping fortresses of the Eldren where the elite of the nobles make their homes. Theyre also all but invulnerable to what humans can throw at them. Camorr is a vital and bustling place. Its also a brutal one, with weekly hangings (including children), no organized charity, disappearances by the government, gang violence that is beyond the pale and regular gladiatorial bouts against vicious carnivorous sea life. Its an interesting place. Not one Id want to live in, but I dont mind visiting though.


I liked the characters that were fleshed out, specifically Jean and Locke. I liked Locke for all that he is mostly larceny and nerve. Hes also human with flaws. He loves a woman thats a thousand miles away from him because of their relationship. Hes loyal to a fault. He also has a mind like a broken backed snake and is greedy enough to attempt stealing the stars from the firmament. And, he cant fight worth a damn. Hes not an omni-competent hero, but very competent within his vocation.


My biggest gripe with the character of Locke Lamorra is that in the early portions of the book, he seems overly favored by the author. Hes wonderful, the best conman in the world whos got a gang at his back and pulling off the most successful con ever. This is eased when the Grey King and the Falconer take him down several pegs and take away what he values most.


Jean is interesting. He looks big and soft like the scion of a merchant house, a scholar or a noble. Hes also very good with numbers, able to do complex sums in his head and likes to read. Hes also the muscle of the Gentleman Bastards, being both a brutally effective fighter and possibly a chosen of the Lady of Long Silences (the Goddess of Death). Hes an interesting mix of traits and feels real – sort of a two fisted Meyer Lansky.


Now, the book does have weaknesses. Many of the characters never move beyond brief sketches, particularly Nazca, Calo, Galdo and Bug. This is a weakness because were supposed to emphasize with Locke and Jean when horrible things happen, and they take vengeance. Because of the lack of depth, it felt forced. Another is the opposition. The Falconer particularly rankled me, because he is a mustache twirling villain. Or perhaps a child with a magnifying glass and an ant hill to torture. At his best, hes petty, spoiled, thin skinned and never has been thwarted at anything before. Then he meets Locke This isnt something Id expect from a mercenary mage. Id expect a higher level of professionalism.


The Grey King is better though. He has reasons for what he does. In his own mind he is a hero for what he does and those reasons make sense for that. But then he goes well beyond what is expected from his actions and it takes him into the irredeemable. Still, hes a sketch only gaining life near the end.


It also badly fails the Bechdel test. There are no female lead characters at all. Oh, Doña Salvara and the Countess Amberglass emerge in the last third of the book, but not soon enough. Worse, they spend their time talking about the Thorn of Camorr


Still, it is a really good book, easily worth four stars.


Likes:


● The fleshed out characters of Locke and Jean.
● The city of Camorr.
● The fight scenes.
● Locke and Jeans apprenticeships in the Gentleman Bastards.
● The sheer number of Chekhovs Guns scattered through the novel.

Dislikes:


● The fact so many of the characters away from Jean and Locke never became more than sketches.
● The Falconer. Yeah, hes fun to throw peanuts at, but Id have expected better.
● The lack of strong female characters.
● Apparent meta-ficitonal elements with Locke seeming like a Marty Stu.

Suggested for: Fans of the Merovingean Nights series, The Sting, Vorkosigan series, The Golden Globe and, maybe, The Name of the Wind. Also for fans of heroic rogues and thieves.

reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 774 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Very good for a first novel.
If you were a fan of Thieves' World back in the 80's, you'll probably like this. Or if you are a fan of vicious yet endearing scoundrels and rogues in general.
It's not perfect - I think a linear timeline would have worked better for the story, rather than jumping between the main character's youth and the present. It was quite an omission that we never once meet the mentioned-but-always-offscreen love of Locke's life (the reader keeps expecting to find out how he fell in love with her, or to have her appear, but it doesn't happen. I also felt the whole thing could have been tightened up a bit - it's over 700 pages, which is fine if the story demands it, but I think it could probably have been 200 pages shorter without losing anything.
However, I enjoyed it. Lots of fun adventure, schemes, nice details. I liked the alien city, and its unsolved mysteries. I felt it was an original take on a familiar trope, and it kept me entertained. I'll keep a lookout for the sequel
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 260 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2

The Lies of Locke Lamorra isnt a good book. It isnt a great book. Its a really good book! Ill admit it has some flaws that keep it from being a great book though.


Lies is about the adventures of Locke Lamorra, priest of the Crooked Warden (God of Thieves) and leader of a gang of second story men called the Gentleman Bastards. Hes also a near mythical con artist called the Thorn of Camorr, who preys upon the greed and gullibility of the nobles of Camorr. Normally, committing a crime against the nobility of Camorr simply isnt done, because of the Secret Peace between the ruler of Camorr and the leader of Camorrs underwold. The book is also about how Locke became a Gentleman Bastard, his friend Jean Tannen became one as well, the City of Camorr, its history and how all of these interact to make life interesting and adventurous for Locke, Jean and the rest of the Gentleman Bastards.


There are many characters involved the Thiefmaker, Father Chains, Calo and Galdo Sanza, Bug, Capa Brava, Nazca Brava, her borthers, Don and Doña Salvara, and the Grey King all play prominent roles. However one gets left out in all the reviews I looked at: Camorr.


As readers, we get a fair amount of history through Chains education of the young Locke and info dump flash backs, that tell us how things came to the current state of affairs. I was particularly taken with the emergence of independent brothels, the tale of handball and revenge and why killing a Bondsmage is an incredibly bad idea. All of these little things give us the character of the city and its inhabitants. These become very important in how it shaped Locke, the Gentleman Bastards and the Grey King, just like a parent shapes a childs personality and worldview.


All of these things are part of the arsenal of Chekhovs guns that Lynch places in the book. From the alchemical gentling of animals and people, the plague that orphans Locke, how Capa Brava came to power and kept it, to the Pennance Day gladiatorial bouts against sea life and the professional gladiators that fight in them and the Secret Peace. All of these are hung, and eventually used.


Camorrs character is also worth exploring. Its obviously inspired by Medieval and Renaissance Venice (and maybe, Merovinge). It is a center of shipping, drawing off the wealth of trade routes and industry. It has wealthy nobles and merchants, an organized police force and a secret police force. It also has Elderglass towers, skyscraping fortresses of the Eldren where the elite of the nobles make their homes. Theyre also all but invulnerable to what humans can throw at them. Camorr is a vital and bustling place. Its also a brutal one, with weekly hangings (including children), no organized charity, disappearances by the government, gang violence that is beyond the pale and regular gladiatorial bouts against vicious carnivorous sea life. Its an interesting place. Not one Id want to live in, but I dont mind visiting though.


I liked the characters that were fleshed out, specifically Jean and Locke. I liked Locke for all that he is mostly larceny and nerve. Hes also human with flaws. He loves a woman thats a thousand miles away from him because of their relationship. Hes loyal to a fault. He also has a mind like a broken backed snake and is greedy enough to attempt stealing the stars from the firmament. And, he cant fight worth a damn. Hes not an omni-competent hero, but very competent within his vocation.


My biggest gripe with the character of Locke Lamorra is that in the early portions of the book, he seems overly favored by the author. Hes wonderful, the best conman in the world whos got a gang at his back and pulling off the most successful con ever. This is eased when the Grey King and the Falconer take him down several pegs and take away what he values most.


Jean is interesting. He looks big and soft like the scion of a merchant house, a scholar or a noble. Hes also very good with numbers, able to do complex sums in his head and likes to read. Hes also the muscle of the Gentleman Bastards, being both a brutally effective fighter and possibly a chosen of the Lady of Long Silences (the Goddess of Death). Hes an interesting mix of traits and feels real – sort of a two fisted Meyer Lansky.


Now, the book does have weaknesses. Many of the characters never move beyond brief sketches, particularly Nazca, Calo, Galdo and Bug. This is a weakness because were supposed to emphasize with Locke and Jean when horrible things happen, and they take vengeance. Because of the lack of depth, it felt forced. Another is the opposition. The Falconer particularly rankled me, because he is a mustache twirling villain. Or perhaps a child with a magnifying glass and an ant hill to torture. At his best, hes petty, spoiled, thin skinned and never has been thwarted at anything before. Then he meets Locke This isnt something Id expect from a mercenary mage. Id expect a higher level of professionalism.


The Grey King is better though. He has reasons for what he does. In his own mind he is a hero for what he does and those reasons make sense for that. But then he goes well beyond what is expected from his actions and it takes him into the irredeemable. Still, hes a sketch only gaining life near the end.


It also badly fails the Bechdel test. There are no female lead characters at all. Oh, Doña Salvara and the Countess Amberglass emerge in the last third of the book, but not soon enough. Worse, they spend their time talking about the Thorn of Camorr


Still, it is a really good book, easily worth four stars.


Likes:


●        The fleshed out characters of Locke and Jean.
●        The city of Camorr.
●        The fight scenes.
●        Locke and Jeans apprenticeships in the Gentleman Bastards.
●        The sheer number of Chekhovs Guns scattered through the novel.

Dislikes:


●        The fact so many of the characters away from Jean and Locke never became more than sketches.
●        The Falconer. Yeah, hes fun to throw peanuts at, but Id have expected better.
●        The lack of strong female characters.
●        Apparent meta-ficitonal elements with Locke seeming like a Marty Stu.

Suggested for: Fans of the Merovingean Nights series, The Sting, Vorkosigan series, The Golden Globe and, maybe, The Name of the Wind. Also for fans of heroic rogues and thieves.

reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
i've got to give the auther a nod -- this is a very peculiar and interesting world he's come up with. it's extremely detailed and well thought through. the characters are pretty good, mostly unlikeable unfortunately. i say this because i had a difficult time finishing the book, because i found myself not caring what difficulties the characters were having, and how they got out of them. And no, it wasn't just the lying :) It's got good writing, and if you can sympathize with the lead characters, i think you'll enjoy it.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 33 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I enjoyed reading this debut fantasy novel. The characters were fun anti-heroes that I was routing for the entire book. It took awhile to get used to the author's use of flashbacks and unconventional timeline, but once I did I appreciated how the background information was being revealed only when necessary to have a deeper understanding of the character's actions in the story. I look forward to seeing what Lynch has in store for Locke in the next book.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 204 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
"The Sting" and, occasionally, "The Godfather" meet "Oliver Twist" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:" this novel combines elements of picaresque, Bildungsroman (coming-of-age), and fantasy for a fast-moving story that's hard to put down. Lynch pulls off a remarkable feat in bringing together every element of an intricate plot and setting at the end. The flashbacks to Locke's childhood, which detail his development as a confidence man, parallel the main story (and are clearly marked in the text, so the narrative isn't hard to follow).

A few complaints:
1. 30-40 pages of hurried explanation of the villain's motivations (much like when a Hollywood film realizes it's overshot it's mark and now needs to wrap things up).
2. A Batman-esque finale to the villain's scheme. (Fortunately, the story recovered from these first two.)
3. The marked increase in "f-ing" swearing (up until the end, the f-word had been used minimally and very effectively for comedic or dramatic effect, but it seemed as if the author got so caught up the characters' urgency that he forgot how to write without it).

Overall verdict: definitely recommend, but be prepared: The first part of the novel is more caper than fantasy, and there are some disturbing, even gruesome, dark elements of the tale that are not for the faint-hearted. However, I, for one, will be reading the next book in the series.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 899 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was an outstanding effort from a first time author. I became friends with the wily intelligent Locke Lamora and his fellow Gentleman Bastards (thieves). I thought that this was a very good story. My only qualm was when Locke went back to his big score after he realized that the Grey King was privy to all of his actions. Because the character is supposed to be so clever it seemed out of character but that's a small thing when you take into consideration the entire read. It's one I would highly recommend and I give it 4.5 stars instead of 5 for this reason.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 412 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
First in the Gentlemen Bastards fantasy series. It's a bit like a swashbuckling pirate tale (Robin Hood meets Pirates of the Caribbean?) set in a unique and interesting fantasy world, and the story hooked me in right from the get-go. This is the story of Locke Lamora, an orphan boy who learned to survive on the mean streets of Camorra, was then trained as a thief by the Thiefmaker, sold to Father Chains and trained even further. Locke is now a member of the Gentlemen Bastards, an elite group of thieves who do their dirty deeds on a much larger scale. Ever plotting and scheming to achieve the big score, it's the game that keeps the Bastards going--the money they steal is secondary. At what point will Locke and his pals be in over their heads? I really, REALLY enjoyed this book! The characters all felt very real to me, and had me rooting for them right from the beginning. Where's the next one? This one stays on my Keeper shelf! Oh, as a warning: there is a lot of graphic violence and four-letter words used in the book, so for those who don't like that sort of thing, best avoid it.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 66 more book reviews
Should you read this book? If you think you'd like Ocean's Eleven in a fantasy setting, then yes. If you think you'd like Game of Thrones if it had the personality of the Firefly series, then yes.

Lynch's best elements of fiction writing demonstrate themselves through the character development and dialogue.

A fun read. Will I like the other books in the series? I intend to find out.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 9 more book reviews
This is not your average fantasy offering! The story of Locke Lamora and the Gentleman Bastards is fresh, humorous, surprising and filled with interesting characters. The story follows a very young waif who is recruited into a gang of theives in a society filled with many such gangs. Locke proves himself early on as a gifted liar and thief. When he is sold to a rival gang because he is too much for the head of his current band he finds his niche. The first in a trilogy I was swept away into this world of high class, versitile con artists. Set in a haunting world filled with items of old magic which sometimes seems like abandoned technology sometimes aiding and sometime detering Locke in his games to con the rich. I am not a fan of the formula fantasy novel. I recommend this to anyone who is looking for great world building, unpredicatable plots, humorous characters with a fresh twist. I can't wait to read the next book!
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 2 more book reviews
The book started out with a back story of this smartass little punk who has an aptitude for stealing and also for smartmouthing people. Then the book fast forward a few years right into the midst of the now grown up Locke's scheme. The flashing back and forth between the present and the past was a little confusing at first, but as the book continues, I came to like this little interludes.

Many reviews say that this book is like Ocean 11 set in fantasy realm. I could not agree more. This is a unique twist to the usual fantasy cliches of wizards, knights, rangers, and damsels in distress. I laughed out loud many times at the wit of our protagonist and how he just barely hatched his plans as he conned his way around his victims.

I would definitely read again. Just could not wait to get started on the next book in the series!
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 297 more book reviews
In Book 1 of the Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch, much of the focus is on Locke Lamora. We get to see him start out as a small kid taken in by a thief lord. But after one too many incidents, he is sold to Chains, a fake priest who runs the Gentlemen Bastard thieves. He takes in younglings that have certain talents and brains and raises them to pull off much larger, complicated schemes.

Fast forward some years and the Gentlemen Bastards are now young men. Locke is still the slightly built, brainy, daring leader of the group. Jean has found his talent with some interesting hand weapons and his size. Caldo and Galdo often use their twin powers to pull off some scheme or other. Bug is the new kid and gets all the character-building jobs. It is a great team, with lots of bantering back and forth.

Locke has a big scheme to rob some very rich folks, the Salvaras. The Gentlemen Bastards have a whole costume room that allows them to change their looks to suit different business types and ethnicities. However, things start to come undone when the Capa Barsavi is threatened and his men start turning up dead by the hand of the mysterious Grey King. Pretty soon, the Grey Kings nocturnal activities directly interfere with the Gentlemen Bastards and they are forced to do his bidding. The Grey King has a formidable ally, a Bondsmagi and his pet scorpion hawk.

Scott Lynch provides lots of great dialogue and unlikely, amusing situations. The Yuck Factor was also sometimes very high, but suited to the situation. The fast pace coupled with the detail and history of the place and people was excellent for keeping me entertained.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 10 more book reviews
Likely the best "fantasy" novel I have read. I typically prefer sci fi, horror, and thrillers.

Very good writing, characters, and an action packed read. I will definitely continue with the series.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 204 more book reviews
"The Sting" and, occasionally, "The Godfather" meet "Oliver Twist" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:" this novel combines elements of picaresque, Bildungsroman (coming-of-age), and fantasy for a fast-moving story that's hard to put down. Lynch pulls off a remarkable feat in bringing together every element of an intricate plot and setting at the end. The flashbacks to Locke's childhood, which detail his development as a confidence man, parallel the main story (and are clearly marked in the text, so the narrative isn't hard to follow).

A few complaints:
1. 30-40 pages of hurried explanation of the villain's motivations (much like when a Hollywood film realizes it's overshot it's mark and now needs to wrap things up).
2. A Batman-esque finale to the villain's scheme.
(Fortunately, the story recovered from these first two.)
3. The marked increase in "f-ing" swearing (up until the end, the f-word had been used minimally and very effectively for comedic or dramatic effect, but it seemed as if the author got so caught up the characters' urgency that he forgot how to write without it).

Overall verdict: definitely recommend, but be prepared: The first part of the novel is more caper than fantasy, and there are some disturbing, even gruesome, dark elements of the tale that are not for the faint-hearted. However, I, for one, will be reading the next book in the series.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 204 more book reviews
"The Sting" and, occasionally, "The Godfather" meet "Oliver Twist" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:" this novel combines elements of picaresque, Bildungsroman (coming-of-age), and fantasy for a fast-moving story that's hard to put down. Lynch pulls off a remarkable feat in bringing together every element of an intricate plot and setting at the end. The flashbacks to Locke's childhood, which detail his development as a confidence man, parallel the main story (and are clearly marked in the text, so the narrative isn't hard to follow).

A few complaints:
1. 30-40 pages of hurried explanation of the villain's motivations (much like when a Hollywood film realizes it's overshot it's mark and now needs to wrap things up).
2. A Batman-esque finale to the villain's scheme. (Fortunately, the story recovered from these first two.)
3. The marked increase in "f-ing" swearing (up until the end, the f-word had been used minimally and very effectively for comedic or dramatic effect, but it seemed as if the author got so caught up the characters' urgency that he forgot how to write without it).

Overall verdict: definitely recommend, but be prepared: The first part of the novel is more caper than fantasy, and there are some disturbing, even gruesome, dark elements of the tale that are not for the faint-hearted. However, I, for one, will be reading the next book in the series.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 31 more book reviews
Pros:

The setting was different. Many fantasies are medieval or have a Middle Earth-type setting, but not this book. I wasnt able to grasp all the plot twists. The world and story were sufficiently well written that, once the story picked up, it was a decent escapist/emersive experience. There were strong/interesting female characters.

Cons:

Took 175-200 pages for the book to really interest me; I nearly abandoned it. Not many female characters, and the strongest/most interesting one gets killed off. Its use of typical, real-life curse words threw me off, weakening the escapist appeal.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 64 more book reviews
The ABC's of Scott Lynch

Adventure
Bravado
Chicanery

Sorry I couldn't help myself it just came out that way.
This is not a linear story. The timeline jumps around like a drunken flea. But the authors style of writing is so outrageous, once you get used to the timeline flip-flopping this is one helova fun read.

I'm getting my thoughts down while they are fresh. I'll finish up later.
reviewed The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards, Bk 1) on + 204 more book reviews
"The Sting" and, occasionally, "The Godfather" meet "Oliver Twist" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:" this novel combines elements of picaresque, Bildungsroman (coming-of-age), and fantasy for a fast-moving story that's hard to put down. Lynch pulls off a remarkable feat in bringing together every element of an intricate plot and setting at the end. The flashbacks to Locke's childhood, which detail his development as a confidence man, parallel the main story (and are clearly marked in the text, so the narrative isn't hard to follow).

A few complaints:
1. 30-40 pages of hurried explanation of the villain's motivations (much like when a Hollywood film realizes it's overshot it's mark and now needs to wrap things up).
2. A Batman-esque finale to the villain's scheme. (Fortunately, the story recovered from these first two.)
3. The marked increase in "f-ing" swearing (up until the end, the f-word had been used minimally and very effectively for comedic or dramatic effect, but it seemed as if the author got so caught up the characters' urgency that he forgot how to write without it).

Overall verdict: definitely recommend, but be prepared: The first part of the novel is more caper than fantasy, and there are some disturbing, even gruesome, dark elements of the tale that are not for the faint-hearted. However, I, for one, will be reading the next book in the series.