Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Genre: Fantasy, mystery, cons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads Summary:They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he's part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.
Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich - they're the only ones worth stealing from - but the poor can go steal for themselves. What Locke cons, wheedles and tricks into his possession is strictly for him and his band of fellow con-artists and thieves: the Gentleman Bastards.
Together their domain is the city of Camorr. Built of Elderglass by a race no-one remembers, it's a city of shifting revels, filthy canals, baroque palaces and crowded cemeteries. Home to Dons, merchants, soldiers, beggars, cripples, and feral children. And to Capa Barsavi, the criminal mastermind who runs the city.
But there are whispers of a challenge to the Capa's power. A challenge from a man no one has ever seen, a man no blade can touch. The Grey King is coming.
A man would be well advised not to be caught between Capa Barsavi and The Grey King. Even such a master of the sword as the Thorn of Camorr. As for Locke Lamora . . .
Go read this book!
I had huge expectations going into this, since I'd heard nothing but good things about it. The premise itself was so exciting - the story of a con man in a Victorian-inspired world, caught in the middle of a power struggles between a criminal mastermind and a legendary "king"! I was a little nervous about it, since when you have such high expectations, sometimes the book is good but just not good enough. I shouldn't have doubted it; I ended up buying myself a copy before I was even halfway through my library copy!
Locke Lamora is the leader of the Gentlemen Bastards, a group of young con-men. Together they pull off various heists in order to pay off a debt of enormous personal significance to Locke. He's ambitious, arrogant, and clever, and he knows it. It's so much fun to see him come up with new plans and pull off his heists, with witty banter to boot. The best part is that you really don't know if things will work out or not. Sometimes things don't go according to plan; there are no magical "oh look, it worked out perfectly after all!" moments. I honestly couldn't believe some of the turns that this book took. There were some points where I was just staring at the pages of this book in disbelief, and others when I just wanted to roll into a ball and cry. I didn't realize how emotionally invested in the characters I was until bad things started happening to them.
This book is definitely witty and clever, but it is also dark and disturbing. There were plenty of scenes where I was gagging or hyperventilating. This is by no means a book for the faint of heart! Also, If you're offended by strong language, consider yourself warned. This book has some pretty foul-mouthed characters, but I never felt like they swore just for the sake of it. All things considered, I'd find swearing perfectly warranted if I found myself...well I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that there are some pretty ugly situations in this book.
I highly highly recommend this book for people who like fantasy and/or stories about cons - this is one of the best books I've read in either genre. Actually, even if you don't like fantasy, I think you should give this a shot - it might change your mind!