07 April 2012

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along Week 5

The final week of the LOLL Read Along!

This has been an awesome experience for me and there has been so much fun discussion about a book that I wouldn’t have known about if it wasn’t for this group read.  If you haven’t been reading this book with us, you need to pick this up.  It is too good to overlook.

I realized today that I’ve been extremely remiss in my posts.  I’ve always neglected to mention where these questions are coming from for those of you who aren’t participating in the read along.  This is a problem because they come from some really great bloggers and I hope you’ll check out what they have to say if you haven’t already.  This week’s questions come from Lynn’s Book Blog.

The previous week’s discussions:
Wk 2 – Dark Cargo
Wk 4 - SF Signal

This week has been so busy that I actually forgot about the AMA with Lynch on Wednesday.  Man, and I wanted to ask him some stuff…pout.  What’d I miss?!  So, I still have too much to do today and I can feel myself getting sick as I write this so I’m not sure I have a lot of energy to put into this post, but I should be able to participate in everyone else’s discussions more tomorrow and hopefully make up for it.  At least this isn’t the end of the Lynchmob and I’ll be able to come back strong for the second half of this Read Along with Red Seas Under Red Skies.  YAY!

1.       The Thorn of Camorr is renowned – he can beat anyone in a fight and he steals from the rich to give to the poor.  Except of course that clearly most of the myths surrounding him are based on fantasy and not fact.  Now that the book is finished how do you feel the man himself compares to his legend.  Did you feel that he changed as the story progressed and, if so, how did this make you feel about him by the time the conclusion was reached?

I think the ultimate development in Locke’s character was the realization (for readers and for Locke) that he couldn’t live up to the insane myth that had been built up around him.  Struggling with that is what made the end of the book so chaotic and heart-wrenching for me.

2.       Scott Lynch certainly likes to give his leading ladies some entertaining and strong roles to play.  We have the Berangia sisters – and I definitely wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of them or their blades plus Dona Vorchenza who is the Spider and played a very cool character – even play acting to catch the Thorn.  How did you feel about the treatment the sisters and Dona received at the hands of Jean and Locke – were you surprised, did it seem out of character at all or justified?

Man, you stab a guy in the neck with some poisoned knitting needles and think you’re not going to get punched?!  Was I the only one who stood up and shouted at her Chris Tucker style, “You got knocked the fuck out!”

3.       Towards the end we saw a little more of the magic and the history of the Bondsmagi.  The magic, particularly with the use of true names, reminds me a little of old fashioned witchcraft or even voodoo.  But, more than that I was fascinated after reading the interlude headed ‘The Throne in Ashes’ about the Elderglass and the Elders and why their structures were able to survive even against the full might of the Bondsmagi – do you have any theories about this do you think it’s based on one of our ancient civilisations or maybe similar to a myth??

I always enjoy long lost civilizations in books that leave behind technology that we don’t understand.  It recalls Easter Island or Stonehenge.  I don’t know if it is important whether this story was fact or fiction, what seemed important was the knowledge that there are things about the world that we can never understand and that which will always confound our best attempts at comprehension.  It adds a sense of mystery that pervades everything in the book and I thoroughly enjoyed the limited exposure we had to it.

4.       We have previously discussed Scott Lynch’s use of description and whether it’s too much or just spot on.  Having got into the last quarter of the book where the level of tension was seriously cranked up – did you still find, the breaks for interludes and the descriptions useful or, under the circumstances did it feel more like a distraction?

I struggled with it at first, but pretty quickly came to understand the rhythm to Lynch’s writing that made it easier to get through.  That tension-relaxation rhythm eventually worked pretty well for me.

5.       Now that the book has finished how did you feel about the conclusion and the eventual reveal about the Grey King and more to the point the motivations he declared for such revenge – does it seem credible, were you expecting much worse or something completely different altogether?

I was actually disappointed by this reveal.  I felt like we hadn’t ever met him and we really only knew very little about his sisters so I had trouble caring about his history and what happened to him.  I thought Camorr was full of possible Grey King candidates without introducing a new character and on top of that, we had just met the Spider so there were these two characters that we had just met for the first time yet had been so instrumental everything that led up to this point.  On top of that, we had just lost 3 very important characters who all had huge personalities and we were wondering if Locke and Jean could hold it together without getting themselves killed.  By the time he was finally revealed, I just didn’t have room to care about the damn Grey King, who was the supreme ruler of all dirt bags.

6.       Were you surprised that Locke, being given two possible choices (one of which could possibly mean he would miss his chance for revenge on the Grey King) chose to go back to the Tower  – especially given that (1) he would have difficulty in getting into the building (2) he would have difficulty in convincing them about the situation and (3) he would have difficulty in remaining free afterwards? Did anyone else nearly pee their pants when Locke and the rest were carrying the sculptures up to the roof garden?

I wasn’t surprised at all.  But I also didn’t interpret this choice the same way.  It was a given that he would seek out the GK eventually.  He’s pledged his life to ruining the GK’s life and even his desires.  Insomuch as the GK wanted the nobility dead, Locke would do whatever it took to keep that from happening.  This seemed less dilemma of two opposite choices than the first step in his long range goal.
And yeah, that was pretty nerve-wracking.  I was just waiting for one to drop!

7.       Finally, the other question I would chuck in here is that, following the end of the book I was intrigued to check out some of the reviews of LOLL and noticed that the negative reviews mentioned the use of profanity.  How did you feel about this – was it excessive? Just enough? Not enough?

Beautifully profane in every way.  Loved it.  I didn’t think he used it every chance he got

8.       Okay one further, and probably most important but very quick question – having finished, will you pick up the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies?

Not only am I excited about RSURS but I already can’t wait for Republic of Thieves.  Oh, and I wouldn’t miss the chance to participate in the second part of the read along for anything.  


  1. I will confess that I did suffer a brief 'what' moment when Locke punched Dona in the face but I moved on pretty quickly. I mean, she did stab him in the neck and she was suffering with a serious case of Locke-style over confident smugness so she sort of had it coming. Plus, you can't always make a graceful or cunning escape - sometimes you just have to take the path of least resistance. I think where the Grey King was concerned I was expecting some sort of massive take over of not only the underground but also the nobility - didn't really see the whole revenge thing at all.
    Lynn :D

    1. Yeah, I was waiting for him to try and stay and fill in the void left by the nobility or Barsavi at least... I was a little surprised when he just up and left.

  2. The punishing the nobility with Wraithstonw plot confused me a little to be honest. Killing Barsavi and his family made sense- vengeance pure and simple. Knocking off gang leaders- planning a coup, those were actually great tactics... But once he had Camorr in the palm of his hands and his revenge on Barsavi was complete... Why go a step farther into borderline genocide? I watched Joss Whedon's Serenity again recently, and with a massive chunk of the population pacified into oblivion, it'd just turn Camorr into Miranda... Man, the Grey King was fucked up!

    1. Oh man, when he brought the wraithstone into it I was like, oh yeah, that had to come back into the picture. And then, NOOOOOO!!!

      But then, wouldn't that be an opportunity for some good fan fiction? Locke goes after GK instead and Camorr is left with a zombie-nobility class. Ha!

  3. You are so right about # 6: it seemed obvious to me that Locke would save the people and then try to kill the Gray King. It was just another example of how badly the Falconer misjudged Locke: oh dear, what a shame! :D

    1. At least they made the Falconer pay. That was some pretty awesome payback!

  4. Lol, loved your Chris Tucker line! and the Berangias sisters? Those bitches got exactly what they deserved!!!

    the reveal at the end, the Grey King's identity, his plot against the nobility, I do wish a lot of that had shown up earlier, as often felt a bit rushed to me.

    Everyone knows I don't mind profanity. And I swear this book had a lot more bad words the first time I read it. . .

    1. I can see that happening when I re-read it, but especially listening to the audio any time there is profanity it is delivered and timed so well it just made my day. Hopefully it will be just as good next time.

  5. Sneaky wench with those knitting needles! Locke can still be surprised!

    I also love the element the Eldren brings to the story - the ancient and little understood, yet still used everyday.

    1. So, I think that one of the worst parts about those knitting needles was the fact that they were a reminder that Locke could still be surprised. I wanted him to bounce back with a vengeance after GK killed his friends but then he was surprised again by the damn spider. Can't everyone just leave Locke alone?!


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