Week 1: The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along
“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. 😉