Hello Internet. Welcome back for Review #57. Yet again, I appear to be setting a trend for how often I update this site. But never fear, because like the voices of rebellion amongst the Galactic Empire I will not be silenced! Now here’s The Lies of Locke Lamora (*ding*, number-whatever-we-are-now).
I have recently been enjoying a delightful holiday where I got the chance to relax, see some family and generally push “snooze” on life for a few weeks. It was a lovely time where I was expected to do nothing, lie back and enjoy the sweet freedom of having no responsibilities. But instead I troubled myself a considerable amount to procure the existing three books of the Gentleman Bastards sequence and devour them with the kind of all-encompassing hunger one normally reserves for home-baked shortbread after an unfulfilling breakfast and absence of lunch.
Scott Lynch had my complete and utter attention from the first two pages of dialogue. Admittedly it hardly takes the words “fantasy heist novel” and I am caught enraptured in whatever description you may be about to tell me (*cough* Mistborn *cough*), but the veritable goldmine of character building abounding in what is quite literally the first two pages alone deserves an award. Like, a prestigious one. And this is why I hunted down all three of the Gentlemen Bastards books and demolished them so. Lynch had me sold on the characters from the first page and never disappointed.
Oh, there are of course other things which certainly contribute to the amount of awesome in this series: rich world-building (something I am openly guilty of being a sucker for); complicated and clever plots which never feel old while remaining familiar through tried-and-true tropes; and meaningful uses of violence and character death. But let’s all be real I’m mostly here for the witty repartee that rivals early Skulduggery Pleasant novels (and frankly beats the later ones where it starts to feel forced).
The people in the Gentlemen Bastards sequence bring the awesomely designed world to life. Characters had depth, interestingly represented flaws and all had their own opinions, values, beliefs and motivations. Which led to dialogue that was motivated, with the characters having different goals and ways of achieving them; and conversations that used stellar wordplay and awesome one-liners to really cement the character’s personalities.
So let this be a lesson to all potential writers. Characters might be defined by their actions, but their words are what make them interesting people. Why do they say the things they do, and what way do they say them? Good authors know that different characters say the same thing in different ways. But great ones (like Lynch) know how and why they say them.
The Lies of Locke Lamora was published on 2006 by Gollancz. It can be found on Amazon here.
Yours: J.M. Pear