Saturday, 22 August 2009

Damn good lies

Normally I'm not very fond of fantasy-books, but every now and again I am completely grabbed by an author. George R. R. Martin's 'Songs of Ice and Fire', or more accurately, the first book 'A Game of Thrones' did just that. Now I've added another author to that list, Scott Lynch. His tales about the thief and anti-hero Locke Lamora is perhaps the most entertaining read I've had in the last year. So, this post will not be about my own world, but about that of someone else. In other words, I'm trying my hand on a short book review.

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch.

The Lies of Locke Lamora"‘“Some day, Locke Lamora,” he said, “some day, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope that I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke, “it’ll never happen”."

Locke Lamora is not your typical hero. Lynch gives his protagonist very human traits, such as hybris, ambition, pride, grief and humility. He is a character it is easy to like, and easy to get to know. He also populates his world with a colorful and believable cast, from Locke's friends to the antagonists.

Lynch has managed not only to bring his characters to life, but also his world. Through alternating between past and present, he manges to build not only the plot, but also the background and the setting. While this technique isn't new, or even uncommon, here it is masterfully applied, and in stead of slowing down the pace, it serves to keep the reader on his toes. More than once, we are served an intense cliffhanger in the main narrative while the author takes us back to key events in Locke's past.

The story in it self is in many ways a classical Great Heist story, and Locke and his friends are, as expected, dragged deep into intrigues not of their own design. The challenge with writing a story like this is that it's been done so many times before. The fantasy-genre is also, by its nature, packed with cliches. Still, in 'Lies', Lynch manages to bring all of this together in a way that is both captivating and interesting.

Of course, it really doesn't hurt that I see a lot of things in Lynch's world that I could put in mine; there are similarities enough to call them related. If not blood-relatives, the two worlds could perhaps be cousins-by-marriage.

1 comment:

  1. I finally got around to this book a couple of weeks ago, and I agree wholeheartedly with your praise for it here.