Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lies of Locke Lamora Group Read: Week 1

Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora is widely regarded as something beyond special to many genre readers.  Released in 2006, the book has been on my TBR practically ever since, waiting for me to pick it up and show it some love.  That time has come, in part because of my 2012 Manifesto, but mostly due to the Little Red Reviewer's Group Read.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to try out Scott Lynch's world.  (Awesomely enough, the Man Himself, Mr. Lynch, has decided to hop on the Group Read, too, and he'll be blogging at his livejournal site.  Sweet.)

For Week One, we read up through the Interlude titled "Locke Stays for Dinner."  I enjoyed the read so much that I'm almost through the Second Week's assignment, too...  The questions for Round One are below, brought to you by Andrea, the Little Red Reviewer (and self-proclaimed Locke Lamora fanatic).

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far? If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?
This is my first time, and I'm fascinated by everything I'm reading so far.  I love the Elderglass stuff, and the whole fact that Camorr is built on some kind of ancient civilization or something is possibly the most puzzling thing to me currently.  I also like the mystery of the shadow-thing that's following Bug/Locke/etc. in the beginning, and as of yet we have no idea who/what it is.  As for the Big Score, I'm really digging it.  See, I had a bit of an obsession in high school with heist movies (Snatch, in particular).  So much so that I, uhm, well, never stooped to stealing, but I did help some friends out in their lifting of a giant world map from the teachers lounge....  I schemed and plotted and ran surveillance before the Big Day, but on when it came down to it, I chickened out and instead served as a Watchman instead, kind of like the Teasers Lynch writes about.  I'm not proud of my choices and involvement, and I in no way condone theft or general skullduggery, but it's still a cool story.  So yeah, suffice it say that I'm loving the Gentleman Bastards business.
2. At last count, I found three time lines: Locke as as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?
I'm a sucker for the frame story, so scratch another mark for Scott Lynch in my book.  His skill at handling the timelines is deft, and I don't think I've been confused yet.  Plus, I am/was a LOST fan, so I've got no problem with this.
3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch's world building?
I touched on this a bit in the first question, but I'm really liking it.  It has a different feel to me than many other SFF worlds that I've read.  I can't help but think that if I went overseas to Italy that this kind of stuff is exactly like what I would see, with the canals and the names and the foodstuffs.  I get the impression that Lynch's world is robust and that there's a hearty history to it that I'm only starting to appreciate.  I also like how Realistic this book reads, from how the characters act/talk to how the world operates.  So far, so good.
4. Father Chains and the death offering. . . quite the code of honor for thieves, isn't it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into?
Can I answer with "I think Chains is molding Locke into a Gentleman and a Bastard?"  Religion is obviously very important to Camorr, and the fact that the Thirteenth is a denied deity by most (or most are oblivious?) catches my attention.  I'm curious as to the kind of man Chains is, and the kind of man he used to be before becoming the Blind Priest.  He must either be very devoted to his god or very ambitious with his plans.
5. It's been a while since I read this, and I'd forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what's happening?
I love soups.  Chicken noodle.  Potato.  Vegetable.  You name it, I'll try it.  Sometimes I'm in the mood for some homemade soup, and that takes work to peel and dice the veggies, prep the meat, and measure the add-ins.  Once the works done, the soup then has to boil for quite some time before I get to enjoy the fruit of my labors, but it's okay, because not only do I like soup, I like to cook.  But sometimes I pull a can of Chunky out of the pantry and put it in the microwave.  Homemade trumps Chunky every time, but that doesn't mean that the Chunky isn't good and it doesn't hinder Chunky from accomplishing its purpose.

So far I'm very much enjoying the world of Camorr and the life and times of Locke Lamora.  I have no idea where this story is going, but I'm looking forward to making the journey.


David Wagner said...

I read this and the sequel a couple years back -- I'll withhold my thoughts on them until you read them, for fear of inadvertently spoiling. However, I can say that my opinion of the books, in general, are very positive, and I'm sure I'll keep reading the series. Though I enjoyed the two main characters, I felt they still have a lot of untapped potential. My main interest is learning more about the elderglass cities and who made them.

Enjoy the ride.

Redhead said...

I too have a major weakness for con artist/heist stories (Hello Ocean's Eleven and Heartbreakers!), and as much as I fantasize about doing something out a story, it's never gonna happen. I'm too much of a good girl. well, a good girl with a few, umm, author obsessions ;)

the dialog feels so natural and realistic, that it helps mold Camorr into a realer feeling place.

I'm thrilled you're enjoying yourself so far, I LOVED your soup analogy! Just finished making a batch of pot stickers. they taste so good they are worth the trouble, but sometimes it's just so much easier to grab a bag out of the freezer!

Any guesses as to how to make a Ginger Scald?

Geeky Daddy said...

I am guessing that maybe I should check Lose out the Library. You are the second blogger to make that reference to that and this book.

I am with you as well with the way that Lynch is building Camorr, I guess I better take some lessons from him;)

It sounds like that you are enjoying the book as much as I am. I am beginning to see why the Big Score is so important to him.

logankstewart said...

@Dave: So far, I'm thinking I don't know enough about Locke and whether or not his potential is squandered. However, the old civilization is definitely compelling. Glad to know that you read and liked them.

@Redhead: No guesses, but I'd love to try one. I love how spicy all the Camorr food seems to be. Heck, I love how much Lynch talks about exotic foods. Just another cool thing about his book.

@Geeky Daddy: Beware, as I'm sure you are, but LOST is quite polarizing with its fans. Some, like myself, loved everything about it. Many others, though, have lambasted it quite severely. I'd at least recommend the first two seasons, though, just to get an idea of the timelines and whatnot.

The Froggies said...

I also love this special feeling Camorr has, old and mysterious and quite different from the usual fantasy scenery... but I am a bit frustrated by all those little details that make you want to know more (the gentled animals, the Elderglass) and the total lack of information we get about them. I know it should come later in the story (it has to!) but my poor patience... I have trouble to wait that long when it's that good!