The Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch | Book Review

The Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch | Book ReviewThe Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastard #1
Also in this series: Red Seas Under Red Skies, The Republic Of Thieves
Also by this author: Red Seas Under Red Skies, The Republic Of Thieves
Published by Random House LLC on 2007
Genres: Epic, Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 722
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

In this stunning debut, Scott Lynch delivers the thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his tightly knit band of tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part "Robin Hood," one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling....

An orphan's life is harsh--and often short--in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld's most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly.

Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game--or die trying..

I love it when you are reading a fantasy book and there’s all these different little threads and pieces and things that don’t make sense and then it ALL comes together and the ending is like painful and awesome and epic. Basically I love The Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. You see, this is a book that I was bound to read eventually. My most trusted blogger friend recommender, Allison at The Allure Of Books, has been pushing Locke Lamora on me since pretty much 2009. And, essentially, it took me five years to get to it. Apparently persistence and a also a required Vine review of the third in the series pays off. I have finally read The Lies Of Locke Lamora and LOVE IT and am regret filled at not reading it sooner, but you know, at least I get to experience it for the first time in 2014 and that is something special.

The plot of The Lies Of Locke Lamora, first of the Gentleman Bastard series, is a bit hard to describe, tangled webs being weaved and all. So, okay, there’s this orphan kid named Locke Lamora who is small and scrappy and cheeky and no one knows how old he is. He’s living in Shades Hill along with other orphans being trained by this sketchy guy called the Thiefmaker. Until one day when Locke does something so outrageous that the Thiefmaker gets so mad that he sells Locke to an old priest named Chains. Chains is in the Order of Perelando and serves the Crooked Warden. Also, he has other orphans in his gang, twins named Calo and Galdo Sanza, Sabetha, and Jean Tannen.

That’s just the past plot line, now let’s bring it to present day. Locke and his merry gang of Gentleman Bastards have been thumbing their nose at the Secret Peace aka this rule about only thieving from merchants and commoners, not the nobility, for quite some time. They keep their heads low and run scams and cons using a delightful amount of costumes and backstories and carefully built identities. This time, they are running a scam on the Salvaros, a stupid married noble couple. However, Locke Lamora, the Thorn of Camorr, has caught the attention of the Duke’s Spider as well as this man called the Gray King. Will Locke pull off his scam and live to tell the story? Are you totally confused right now? Really what I am saying is that you need to drop whatever you are reading and pick up The Lies Of Locke Lamora.

If you are looking for a book with a captivating main character look no further than The Lies Of Locke Lamora. Scott Lynch writes an interesting, flawed, multilayered character with Locke Lamora. We aren’t given everything about Locke in this book, we don’t even know his real name. We just learn his backstory beginning with Shades Hill, and that’s not even his FULL beginning. What I like about Locke is that he’s a smug bastard and basically spits in the eye of reading tropes. He’s not infallible. He’s not a great fighter. He’s not a fountain of morality. He has no magical powers. He’s not the most clever bastard that ever lived. Yet, he’s got this certain special leadership essence. He’s charismatic and the sort of character I’d follow anywhere. Also? His improvisation skills are certainly up to snuff. If you want a complex character, you need to meet Locke Lamora.

Speaking of Locke, I can’t even write about him without writing about his bromance with Jean Tannen. Y’all, Jean is Locke’s partner in crime. He’s big and pretty much the muscle behind the operations. He’s also incredibly intelligent. His looks are deceiving in that people look at him and think, oh, he’s not that smart, but really he is more intelligent than Locke. He also gets Locke out of most scrapes and troubles. He essentially plays the straight man in The Lies Of Locke Lamora and is a necessary contrast to Locke. Really though, he’s probably one of my favorite characters ever. And, FYI, as I am in the process of finishing the third book I can say that he gets better with each new book in this sequence.

The really great thing about The Lies Of Locke Lamora is that it is peppered with richly drawn characters. First off, there’s Capa Barsavii, who runs the criminal underground and keeps the thieves in check and holds them to The Secret Peace. Then there is his daughter Nazca who is just as scary, fierce, and sharp as he is. If you like your female fantasy characters strong, you will be well pleased with Nazca. Then there’s Father Chains, the Gentleman Bastards’ mentor and garista. FYI, garistas are leaders of gangs. Father Chains is so unexpected and awesome that I relish each section that he is in. Then there are the Sanza twins who provide much needed comic relief. Also, the newest addition to the Gentleman Bastards, Bug, who gets all the crap jobs including doing barrel rolls. I’d also be remiss if I did not mention the Duke’s Spider which was a pleasant twist and surprise.

I kind of think that fantasy books don’t quite have enough sharks in them. Luckily, The Lies Of Locke Lamora and Scott Lynch fill that niche need. You see, this book is set in a country with deep naval ties, Camorr. In Camorr one of the ways that they punish criminals is by making them fight hungry sharks. Usually the criminals lose. You totally do not want to go swimming in the water near Camorr. But more than that, there’s this huge world that Lynch has made up with different countries and customs and languages. Like, there’s this thing called Austershalin brandy and it’s rare and part of the book is that the Gentleman Bastards devise a scam wherein they tell nobles trouble is brewing but they can invest and make out like profiteers. Also. There are these people who wield magic called Bondsmagi and they are very expensive to hire and Locke has crossed one and it’s bad news bears. OH OH OH and there is RELIGION. Okay, so there are thirteen gods and part of the Gentleman Bastards’ training is internships with each order. Like, there’s a goddess named Aza Guila who is the goddess of death and an interlude that concerns her that is interesting. And also the Crooked Warden. And Locke’s priesthood. Really, what I am saying is that this book is complex and deep and interesting and all encompassing.

The Lies Of Locke Lamora is written in dual plotline style – there are chapters and chapters within chapters and then there are these things between the chapters called interludes where we learn about Locke’s past. The story can be kind of confusing and you might not get why there are two different plotlines, but trust Lynch knows exactly what he is doing. It is riveting to see what made Locke who he is now and to see him grow into this master con artist and leader. The pacing is solid. I mean, yes this book is long and it takes awhile to read, but holy moly if you want a book that will take over your life and make you feel like the characters are real people and the world is someplace you can perfectly imagine, you came to the right place. The Lies Of Locke Lamora basically has reinforced why I love epic fantasy books and has the full force of my recommendation.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I have yet to pick the book to spend the next five years bugging you about…

    I’m SO glad you loved this, though! And now you can push me to…you know. Actually read the next books.

  2. I seriously hope that this book hits a tipping point soon because the series completely deserves it. I’m sososo glad that you read this because it’s still such a small club of totally grateful, satisfied readers! They get better, too. More awesome women! More diverse characters! More world building! Mohr!

    Have you read The Name of the Wind? I find that many people who like Locke, like Kvothe.

    • ABSOLUTELY YES. I mean, I think there needs to be a tipping point where this series catches on like wildfire. One cool thing I noticed though was that after I finished these books and started fangirling them super hard on Twitter, several blogger friends began reading them. So hopefully those blogger friends can convince other blogger friends to check these books out.

      YES! I have read Name Of The Wind — TWICE! I love that series and Patrick Rothfuss and Kvothe! I am desperate for Doors Of Stone.

  3. I discovered this series earlier this year when I won a copy of the third book. I’ve been listening to the audio books and absolutely loving it. The narrator acts out all the parts and he really brings the book to life. The Gentleman Bastard series would make an excellent TV series. I’m just hoping we don’t have a long wait for the next book.

  4. 😀 *fangirls all over the place* YEY!!!!! I so so so agree on all points. Also omg that ending!!!!!! *dies* Sorry for the fairly incoherent comment, I just can’t express myself well when it comes to Locke, haha.

  5. I think this may be my next read once I finish up reading my current book: Written In Red by Anne Bishop. If you’re a fan of awesomely written Urban Fantasy then you’ll not regret picking it up. Wendy Darling was actually the one that pushed me into reading it and it’s only taken her a little over a year so I’m not quite at your level yet. lol.

    I’ve seen a lot of BookTubers getting this book in their hauls because it’s come highly recommended from quite a few viewers. I will definitely be getting to this sooner rather than later.

    Loved your review!

  6. Seriously, your enthusiasm for The Lies of Locke Lamora make me want to find a copy of this book, stat! I do love a good twisty, tangled fantasy. Plus, the characters in this book sound phenomenal and like people I’d want to meet!

  7. I read The Lies of Locke Lamora at the beginning of 2014 and it’s become one of my top read of 2014 (and one of my top fantasy reads in general). So it makes me happy to see appreciation for this book making its way around the blogosphere. 🙂
    I do love how Locke really doesn’t fit in any of the traditional fantasy hero tropes. And neither does the book in general, actually. I definitely agree that this book is just a great work of fantasy fiction.
    I honestly think the comparisons to Ocean’s Eleven do this book a disservice, because this is so much better.
    Ugh reading your review makes me want to start reading Red Seas Under Red Skies asap. Hopefully I can get to it soon!

  8. I just won this book from Goodreads. Looking forward to reading it, especially with all the great reviews out there for it!

  9. Okay, so I’m going to admit to only skimming the review. I have The Lies of Locke Lamora in my shelves. I’ve tried to read it once, only to stop before finishing the first chapter because I was SO DAMNED CONFUSED. The altering POVs, times and the characters names (who were sometimes so similar I had trouble remembering who was who) really deterred me.
    But I love Fantasy, and I always thought this book sounded right up my alley, so I wanted to see what you had to say about it.

    I need your advice – do you think I should pick it up again? Were you confused like this at first, as well, and later on things get more clear? Or is it something unique to me? I’d love to hear your advice, as I hold your opinion in high regard 🙂