Week 1: The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along

The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along http://onemore.org/2016/03/24/come-to-camorr/

“Come along on an epic adventure! Flights (of fancy), accommodation (ethical) and food (for the imagination) included. Poison not guaranteed. All travel is at your own risk. Late nights, sore eyes, and an overwhelming desire to spend hours in the kitchen creating something wonderful may ensue. All belongings are the responsibility of the traveller; travel will not be reimbursed if limbs are lost to sharks, or hearts to thieves.”

You are cordially invited to join The Lies of Locke Lamora read-along. Our itinerary is as follows:

  • April 7th: Prologue and Book 1 – hosted by Imyril at X+1
  • April 14th: Book 2, Ch4-6 – host TBC
  • April 21st: Book 2, Ch7-8 – hosted by Wendy at The Bibliosanctum
  • April 28th: Book 4 and Epilogue – hosted by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow

1) We get a lot of detail about the city, from architecture and geography to social structure and the Secret Peace – not to mention the food! What do you make of Camorr?

Wendy: It seems beautiful! Even the seedy underside is described with a level of care and detail that makes it enticing, despite the smell of sweat and piss that permeates places like The Last Mistake. There is an obvious upper and lower class, but the divide between them seems a bit more gray than usual. Obviously there are orphans running around, but there’s an odd sense that there aren’t adults similarly wandering around without means to take care of themselves. As if the orphans, once they find their place (or fail to find their place) move on to be something. There is no room for beggars and such on the streets (or at least I didn’t get the sense that there were any?). If you don’t serve a purpose in Camorr, then you simply don’t get to exist.

Tiara: For some reason, probably because of the use of honorific titles like don and doña, I keep picturing it as somewhere like Madrid in my mind. It sounds like a place that has a lot of flavor and culture. Lynch has put so much into describing the affluent areas and the poorer areas. It was interesting to see how barbaric the upper class is as they revel in brutality with the bloodthirsty game they play while the criminals seem to have more of a camaraderie and loyalty. I’m normally not that into things like gardening, but I also found the idea of alchemical gardening a really cool idea. I love the description of the doña’s garden boat. It sounded exquisite. I might’ve caught myself thinking that I wanted one of those (as long as it has wifi).

2) What are your first impressions of the Gentleman Bastards? They are liars and conmen (and proud of it) – but do you think our thieves have hearts of gold?

Wendy: They very well could have hearts of gold, but honour among thieves seems to be the first priority–loyalty to each other. Locke’s guilt when he understood that he was responsible for the eventual death of the other Streets kids seemed more about his realization that he’d broken such a sacred trust because of his lack of foresight, rather than because he cared for their lives in particular. But once he becomes a part of the Gentleman Bastards and builds up true relationships, I imagine he most certainly would care about the welfare of his companions–even and especially Sabetha, despite whatever lies between them. But for those who stand outside Locke’s circle, it seems they are all just potential marks–though they don’t seem the type to ever go out of their way to harm someone maliciously (punching Conte in the crotch doesn’t count).

Tiara: They are an amusing group for sure. Most of the time I kept thinking about how elaborate this scheme was and how dedicated they were to keeping the act going by assuming so many distinct roles. I noticed that when they were talking to the don as the Midnighters, there was mention of the Thorn of Camorr gave money away. Even though it was a rumor, I wondered if there was some truth to that and if Locke was doing it because he’s still trying to repay back his debts or if he truly does have a heart of gold or if he gives freely under the pretense that he’s still paying back his debt. I’m sure the story will probably show they have a soft spot for more than just themselves in the long run because it seemed like an important lesson that Chains imparted. Conning people is one thing, causing them grievous harm is another.

3) Do you find the split timelines a useful device for filling in background without a lot of exposition? Which timeline are you enjoying the most?

Wendy: I really like it. Especially because it’s not just split from Locke’s past to the present, but the events of the present are out of order in places as well, particular around the significant portions of their plan. It’s a unique storytelling choice and I’m eager to see how it all fits together as the story shapes up.

Tiara: Yeah, I like the non-linear approach that the story is taking. It definitely makes me want to keep going because you never know what you’re going to jump to in the next part. The part with the Midnighters was my favorite part, I especially loved how that narrative was framed.

4) Has anything taken you by surprise so far?

Wendy: The descriptions keep speaking of “alien” architecture and those who came before. It’s mentioned almost casually, at first, but more than enough times now to stand out.

Tiara: I don’t think I’ve been surprised by anything so far. I’ve noted some things of interest, though, and I wonder if something will come of these things like the missing lady of the group. 😉

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21 Comments on “Week 1: The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along

    • There’s still time to hop in on the read-along! I’ve had this book on my shelf for 6 years, highly recommended by friends, but I’ve only just finally picked it up. Glad I did!

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  1. Pingback: Come to Camorr: week 1 – x+1

  2. I’m so glad you’re both enjoying the ride so far. Your comment about Camorr having a place for everyone and everyone in its place is spot-on; I hadn’t really thought about it, but on reflection you’re right – I didn’t get an impression of beggars and the homeless. I suspect they’re there, but that the beggars at least work for the Capa… or maybe the orphans don’t let them get a look-in.

    I love the Floating Market – bustling traders, trees on barges, the Doña’s alchemical garden, it’s this crazy juxtaposition of searing heat, smelly waters, and leaves over the water. I’m sure I’d get robbed blind in minutes because I’d be stood on the quay staring with my mouth wide open.

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    • Heh, I’m with you on the Floating Market. I didn’t get into nearly as much of the fine detail in my post as I might have liked (it’s been a tough week and my brain is tired), but hopefully I can stretch out the kinks as we go, because this book definitely deserves that.

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      • I can definitely relate to that. It’s been a busy busy week for me, and my brain is just fried. I don’t feel that I put as much effort as I wanted into the questions. I’m going to try to do better because it’s definitely a book that deserves more introspection.

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    • I would be the same way. If a place like this existed, I’d be so wrapped up in everything and make myself such an easy mark. Reading (or rather listening to) this has been a fun journey so far. Can’t wait to see what they get up to in this next part. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • The details of the city are amazing. I forgot to write about the bloody spectacles! Duh! I love the idea of these gladiatorial/coliseum-type events all being held in the water. This would add so much more flare to Shark Week.

      I’m also intrigued by the alchemical aspect. I am loving the way Lynch so smoothly inserts all of this information. I don’t know how this particular long con will play out in the next book, or if it was just a way to provide more background on the place and the characters. Either way, I think it’s an excellent, organic way of doing so.

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  3. I had started off reading this one as part of a readalong last year but real life got in the way and I had to drop it. I wish I could say that life was quieter atm and that I would jump in right this moment but sadly, work is crazy busy right now. I WILL read this one though. THIS YEAR. I’ve heard way too many good things about it and I own a copy so I have no excuse 😉 Good luck with the readalong ladies^^ x

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    • I know how that is. I’m really busy with work and kids, too, but I’m trying to get all this in. I’m stubborn and think I can do more than I probably can. Sometimes life can be so pesky and interfere with all the reading we really want to do. 😉

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  4. Ohhh! Another one of my favorite books is spotlighted in a read-along!
    Since I lack time for re-reading this is the next best thing for revisiting my “darlings” 🙂
    One of the things I most loved was the description of the city and the way that Lynch could make it come alive with his words. And of course the Gentlemen Bastards… The sense of closely knit family is one of the best details of the book.

    Have fun!! 🙂

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  5. I think Wendy is spot on about being useful in Camorr – if you don’t find a way to be useful and serve someone/something, then you won’t be around for long.

    Tiara – I also would love a pleasure barge that has a bar and an alchemical garden. Chemistry and botany should be done while paddling around a bit tipsy.

    Wendy – you make a good point about Locke’s minimal relationship with the Streets kids and yet he still felt something about causing their unintended deaths.

    I agree with Tiara about how the split timeline drives forward my reading – there’s more than one story being told here and it’s exciting to see which part we will get next.

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  6. I’m so sorry I missed this read along. I do own the book and I’ve meant to read it for a long time. I think this would have been the right occasion. But alas!, I was doing the AtoZ Challenge in April… which was only a part of the mess of that month.
    But I’m enjoying your thoughts abotu the book. I knew it was a different one, but it seems to be even more surprising than I thought 🙂

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  7. Pingback: Tiara’s 2nd Quarter Update | The BiblioSanctum

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