Lies of Locke Lamora Readalong, Part V

“I’m not going to kill you,” said Locke.  “I’m going to play a little game I like to call ‘scream in pain until you answer my fucking questions.'”

And now for the final week of our discussions of The Lies of Locke Lamora… time has flown!

The readalong is hosted by Little Red Reviewer, so drop by her blog to find links to the discussions going on at other blogs.  This week’s discussion questions were written by Lynn.

This week’s Locke Lamora fan art is Sabetha by CrimsonCobwebs.  Speaking of which, I’m still very curious about her since we haven’t actually seen her, just heard Locke pine over her.

From this point on there will be spoilers.  I’ll post a spoiler-free regular review of the entire book sometime later this week.

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?

Locke’s saying “I’m a thief, maybe even a murderer, but this is too much” in response to Vorchenza’s questioning sums it up perfectly.  He’s not Robin Hood, and he’s definitely a thief, but he does have his own ethical code that he adheres to.  Even though stealing isn’t the greatest choice of profession, I respect Locke, because when it counts he’s still willing to risk his life to save others.

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?

I was very glad that Locke and Vorchenza ended up joining forces against Raza.  When Vorchenza’s character was introduced, I found myself torn as to whom I should be rooting for.  I’m glad I could root for both of them without either one having to lose.

As for the sisters, they deserved everything they got and more.  They’re not getting any sympathy from me.

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??

Reminds me a bit of the show Ancient Aliens.  I would enjoy learning more about the Eldren, but I don’t see the plot going there, unfortunately.  I’m thinking that the Bondsmagi will play a greater role in the future though because they’re not going to like it when they see what happened to what’s-his-face.  Did he even have a name other than The Bondsmage?

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?

It worked perfectly in this last section.  It added suspense while filling in necessary background and the earlier interludes made a lot more sense when we saw how much they were foreshadowing.

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?

Ok, I absolutely loved the ending.  Just a brief rant here, but I hate it when fantasy and sci-fi authors think that it’s okay not to give each book in a series or trilogy some sort of logical conclusion.  It pisses me off, especially if I pick up a series that isn’t finished yet.  Scott Lynch ended this story.  He left room for sequels, but he did so in such a way that we still have a sense of resolution.  I like that, and it makes me even more likely to keep reading.

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?

Locke made the right choice, and I’d have hated him if he had done otherwise.  One of the central themes in this book was the nature of revenge and when understandable feelings cross the line into something more.  In Lynch’s world, there’s such a thing as a healthy sense of vengeance that comes from caring about others and wanting justice for wrongs done, but there’s definitely a line.  The Grey King went too far with his revenge plot and when he was willing to harm  innocents who weren’t even born when his family was wronged and had nothing to do with what happened to him on a personal level.  Locke, on the other hand, realized that there were things even more important than his own desire to avenge his friends, which explains in part why he didn’t just go straight to Capa Raza.  Saving everyone else was more important.

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?

The profanity wasn’t at all excessive, and I think it helped add to the atmosphere of the book.  It helps to remind readers of the fact that the main characters aren’t the nobility, and they are a bit coarse at times, as they should be.  I don’t see why it would merit criticism, but then again, I’m not a fucking prude about cursing either.

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?

Mid April to very early May is when my classwork piles up and I have lots of papers/finals/etc., so I’ve been having a hard time deciding, especially since I’m participating in a Mistborn readalong starting this week.  However, I’ve enjoyed Lies of Locke Lamora and the resulting discussions tremendously, so I’m thinking that I’ll give it a shot.  I might be late with some of the posts if things get too busy.

31 thoughts on “Lies of Locke Lamora Readalong, Part V

  1. The Bondsmage was also known as The Falconer.
    And I was so glad when his stupid bird got killed too.
    I may have almost fallen off my chair laughing when Locke Lamora told him that he’d taken the name from a sausage vendor and had no idea ‘Lamora’ meant ‘Shadow.’ I actually thought that part was ingenious- “But what the fuck gave you the idea that Locke was the name I was actually born with?” *tortures*

    Love this book. I’m not 100% sure how much of the next read-along I’ll be following either. Though in my case it’s more due to the fact that I might actually read Red Seas Under Red Skies in the space of a day or two.. 😉

    1. Mhm. I enjoyed that scene a lot, even though it gave me a slightly upset stomach. I don’t like seeing people tortured, but the Bondsmage and his damn bird certainly deserved it, and it was a good way of getting around the you-can’t-kill-a-Bondsmage rule.

  2. You’re not a fucking prude and neither am I! I know what you mean about Dona Vorchenza – at first I thought she was going to be the spanner in Locke’s works so also wasn’t sure how to feel about her but I ended up liking her to an extent. She played a good role to the end.
    Quite right about the Grey King as well – he just went too far. He went over the line – in fact he went so far over the line it became a dot!
    I hope you get chance to readalong RSURS but don’t let your work suffer!
    Lynn 😀
    P.S looking forward to Mistborn (not started yet but will soon!)

    1. Tehe. I thought that the cursing in this book worked out perfectly. It gave it style.

      Vorchenza was such an awesome character that she made it really hard to decide who I was rooting for, even though Locke was an obvious choice. She wasn’t a villain, just someone who happened to be on the wrong side of the law as Locke.

      I started Mistborn last night and read the first section. I’m enjoying it a lot so far, and I really wanna keep reading.

  3. The conclusion of the book was logical and it opens up a new and interesting world to explore. Hopefully the Bondsmagi will get involve more although it’s hard to see how they won’t considering what Locke and Jean did. I was also disappointed by the lack of use of the Elder Glass and Eldren mythology. I suspect it will come up in later books.

    1. I liked the way that the ending was complete. In fact when I first read this book I didn’t realise it was intended for a series. I don’t particularly have a problem with unfinished endings when I’m reading a series – but it can be annoying, especially when you have a long wait between reading books! And, I don’t like ‘real’ cliffhanger endings – you know the type – when somebody is about to die and the book ends (noooooo! don’t do that – just so mean!)
      Lynn 😀

      1. When a series ends on a massive cliffhanger, I generally end up going straight to the next book (if it’s written) at the expense of sleep, and then I’m particularly cranky for the next few days.

    2. I’m hoping the Eldren come up, even though I don’t think they will. I think the series will be more about Locke and his adventures and that he won’t have to save the world from Lovecraftian horrors with a knack for building things. Could be completely wrong though.

  4. I agree, a book needs to have an ending even if there’s going to be a sequel. That drives me nuts. Lynch ended the book in a way that made me want to read the next book but I was satisfied with how this one ended. And, even though it doesn’t need to be said, I can’t wait for the second book!

    1. Exactly. I left this book wanting to read the next one, but not like “OMG OMG what happens?!?!” I think that stories that don’t end shouldn’t be published and marketed separately but instead as one unit, even though I doubt that’ll ever happen.

  5. Yes, yes and yes on the comment about how each book should be self contained. Has the publishing world learned nothing from Robert Jordan?

    I also found your comments about Locke’s morality and his code to echo the conflict between Batman and the Joker in Dark Knight…where Batman has a certain set of rules he will break and some he won’t.

    1. Exactly. God forbid an author dies before a series is finished and then what happens to the poor readers? I still wanna know what happens at the end of Asimov’s Foundation series too.

      I hadn’t even thought about Batman while writing it… great parallel!

  6. You are so right about the ending: authors that leave everything on a cliff-hanger are assuming that I am going to buy their next book and I don’t like being taken for granted. The only author I can forgive for this is George R R Martin, but that is because he is a god!

    I am just about to start the Mistborn Read Along as well, so I’ll see you there . . . and you KNOW that you want to read RSURS with us . . . 😀

    1. I’m so excited for Mistborn. I got the boxed set for Christmas and have been saving them for a readalong. 😀

      I need to get back into the Song of Ice and Fire books soon. I’m thinking that as soon as the semester ends I’m going on an epic fantasy binge and reading all of the awesome long books that I haven’t found time for quite yet.

  7. I completely agree, I love that these books have actual endings, instead of just a cliffhanger. Critics would call it episodic, but I call it the right way to end a book. it’s got a conclusion, we get some closure, but we also know the story has another future chapter for us to enjoy.

    And I remember this book having a lot more swearing in it!

    so what the hell is Locke’s real name? I wonder if he ever told Sabetha what it is?

    1. I’m so curious about his name now! It’s got to be something pretty awful. I hope we get to see Sabetha in the later books, because Lynch is making us curious about her by only alluding to her and not telling us anything.

    2. I never really thought ot it before, but I guess it’s quite arrogant for an author just to leave you hanging at the end of a book and it presupposes that you’re going to continue reading. I suppose it’s a good way of hooking you and reeling you in but I do prefer Lynch’s approach so that you get to choose if you wish to continue.
      Lynn 😀

  8. I will echo everyone else in agreeing that series novels without endings are annoying. I think if you’re going to market something as a set of novels, each book should be well-constructed, and not just a transitional piece.

    I bet we’ll see more of the Bondsmagi, too. I’m wondering what they’re going to do about the Falconer. Given his arrogance, it seems like they might just say, “Obviously you sucked as a mage, and therefore we don’t need to care about you.” That, or they might try to cut off Locke’s fingers and tongue :(.

    1. I’m just hoping that the Bondsmagi have enough sense to go after just Locke and Jean instead of all of Camorr if they decide to retaliate.

  9. Now that you mentioned it, I couldn’t agree more about the resolution. I hate it when a book end on a cliff-hanger. And then you have to wait a year for the next one.
    Which is why I’m doubly happy I won’t have to wait for the sequel as it’s out (I just have to wait for the next read-along). 🙂

  10. Now that you mentioned it, I couldn’t agree more about the resolution. I hate it when a book ends on a cliff-hanger. And then you have to wait a year for the next one.
    Which is why I’m doubly happy I won’t have to wait for the sequel as it’s out (I just have to wait for the next read-along). 🙂

  11. This book ends quite well, this is a very slight spoiler for the second book but it does end with quite a bit of a cliffhanger (especially when compared with this book).

    A lot of the comments complained about authors leaving cliffhangers at the end of books. It seems that generally the first book in the series will have a solid beginning to end arc, but then the later books will occasionally have cliffhangers at the end of them. Most of the time they’re not that bad, but it really depends on how long you have to wait for the next book. A couple of the commenters mentioned GRR Martin and Robert Jordan. Martin took about 6 years between books 4 and 5 of ASoIaF, which was really annoying, especially considering that book 4 had a letter from Martin in the back of the book saying that the next book should be out in a year or so (not 6 years later). I enjoy those books, but if I have to wait another 6 or 7 years to get book 6 I really don’t know if I’ll care anymore at that point. My favorite comparison to make with Martin is of course Jordan (partially because they’re both very good, very long series and partially because so many people compare them anyway). Jordan died and we got the next Wheel of Time book faster than Martin put out his book. I also think that Jordan overall does a better job of having each book end with a conclusion to at least one major story arc. (Semi spoilers for Martin’s books – Arya at the end of book 3 or 4 was a really bad cliffhanger, and he’s done that with a couple other characters as well.)

    I suppose I can actually answer a few of the questions for this as well (sorry for the really long comment).

    1 – Locke is a pretty interesting character, but I don’t think he really changed much by the end. I think that the book does a good job of exaggerating his accomplishments to make him seem larger than life (similar to how Rothfuss does it in The Name of the Wind, the actual story is fairly mundane, but the telling of the story is stretched every time).

    2 – They got what they deserved, or at least what Locke and Jean thought they deserved, I’m ok with it.

    3 – I never gave it much thought since they really aren’t interacting with the remnants of the society other than staying in the buildings. Also, the only full name he was ever given was The Falconer of Karthain (or something like that, I think it’s Karthain).

    4 – The interludes worked for me in this book because he stayed to the form of one present day chapter then one interlude chapter (although if I remember correctly there was one section where in the middle of a present day chapter he jumped back to the past to infodump something he was going to use in the chapter, that was poorly done). Overall it worked in this book, the second book I think had a much larger problem with the descriptions, particularly in the first half.

    7 – Excessive profanity? I don’t think I noticed it at all when I read the book. But then I tend to be a bit foul with my language anyway.

    8 – Just finished reading it a few weeks ago.

    So there we are, once again sorry about the really long comment.

    1. Long comments are fun. 😀

      I need to finish the rest of the GRRM books; I finished the second book and am waiting to read the third until the semester’s over. I’ve heard that the story goes downhill after three though unfortunately. Martin’s waiting so long to write Dance With Dragons makes me think that maybe he lost interest in his own series.

      I don’t really think that Locke has changed either, but I do think he’s matured a little bit after things went from being a game to him to involving people that he cared about. Not a lot, mind you, but a bit.

      I’m curious to see how Red Seas Under Red Skies will compare to Lies of Locke Lamora.

  12. I’ll add one more comment on the topic of endings. Yay for properly ending a book in a series! I like it that I can easily tell the books apart in my head – tLoLL is “the Grey King” book.

    Have fun with Mistborn! It’s great. 😀 Hope school and Sanderson won’t totally kill you and prevent you from reading RSURS as well!

    1. Tehe. Sanderson won’t keep me from reading other things; I need to read other things to keep myself from reading the whole book at once. I’m already pretty obsessed with Mistborn, to the point that I even had a dream that my boyfriend told me to shut up about Mistborn already because it’s all I talk about, lol.

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