Week 4: 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:

1. Locke returns to finish the Salvara con, after a bit of a trying start. What did you think of the clothes con at Meraggio’s? Entertaining interlude, or timeline nuisance?

Wendy: Lynch is a teeeease. Let’s call these particular interludes an entertaining nuisance. Fortunately, Lynch had already established that the actual interludes, flashbacks, and other sidetracks lay groundwork for future events, so it was just a matter of time before the pay off of these particular shenanigans came to fruition. I also liked the reality of it. We’re heading into the final showdown, but Locke and Jean have almost nothing to their name and no one to turn to. It would have been unrealistic to have him simple stumble upon good fortune now, and contrived and disappointing to have him show up for angry revenge without plotting out an elaborate ruse to back it.

Tiara: Not gonna lie. I was a little antsy through all of this because I finally figured out that Lynch was totally screwing with my emotions with all this anticipation by dragging out all the scenes. I wouldn’t say it was a nuisance since we needed to know what the next scam was going to be to help them achieve their goals. The ending just started to feel like the author was intentionally adding all this padding because he knew, he knew, I was going to be salivating about this ending. (Yes, I’m making this all so personal… LOL.) I was so anxious to see what was going to happen that I was almost literally screaming, “WILL SOMEONE GIVE HIM THE CLOTHES SO I CAN SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?” *sings* Anticipation, anticipation…is making me late… keeping me waiting…

2. The plot is back on, and before long Locke and Jean are facing the Falconer – with better results, this time… What were your thoughts on how this confrontation turned out?

Wendy: The interlude here is pretty damn ominous. It might be signing a death warrant to kill a bondsmagi, but somehow I think utterly maiming one is going to come back and bite the boys pretty hard in future books.

Tiara: Even though a part of me knows that they’ve probably made a terrible mistake (but a mistake I would’ve made for my loved ones, too!). While I was listening to that part, I pretty much hopped out of my chair and did the Melbourne Shuffle because I really, really hated that guy. I felt such satisfaction in my soul after that confrontation. Like there are so few moments of comeuppance in books that leave me totally satisfied, and that moment is one of them.

3. So it turns out that Capa Raza did indeed have bigger fish to fry than just Barsavi. What did you make of Locke’s decision between going after Raza/Anatolius and saving the nobility?

Wendy: I like the way this seemed like Locke actually had a heart, but ultimately was and has always thought only of himself and his brothers. He’s not heartless. He just shares his love sparingly. Based on the fate of the plague ship, it seems to me that it wasn’t about weighing the lives of the nobility versus seeking vengeance, but about weighing his promise of a death offering to end all death offerings, versus avenging the lost Bastards. Despite his state of mourning and pain and anger, Locke proved himself (even with the interlude to get the clothes and continue with the Salvaras) to be calculating no matter what, never letting his emotions get the better of him, even with so many emotions churning within him. That he could set aside the immediate hope of vengeance to focus on their tribute was very impressive.

Tiara: It just felt right that this was about so much more than being the Capa. Everything he’d done was just so distinctly brutal and personal in this book. As for Locke, well… whatever he is, I don’t think maliciously vicious is one of those things. He may steal from those people, but it’s just thieves’ business with him and the nobility of Camorr. There’s no anger toward them or some revenge plot. He just wants their money. While he could have just decided to step to the side and let whatever happened happen and wouldn’t have been wrong for that. I get the feeling that he doesn’t exactly want to see people suffer at the hands of cruelty either if he can prevent it, though, especially when he factored in the children. Being a thief doesn’t automatically mean he’d want to see people get hurt. And in the end, he weighed that saving the lives of many, after he’d lost so many people he’d love to Raza, was the right thing to do. He saved others from suffering the same pain that he felt by losing loved ones.

4. “I just have to keep you here… until Jean shows up.” Locke gets his chance at revenge after all… Thoughts on this final showdown?

Wendy: I didn’t expect it to end so cleanly. Well, not cleanly, but I thought Locke would lose the chance to face Raza–but again, his decision to go for the nobles (aided by Jean’s note) helped ensure that Raza had no where to go and would not want to go. Of course I thought Jean was going to fly in for the save, but I really like that Lynch once again did not take the obvious route, keeping me anxiously guessing right to the end.

Tiara: My heart when he said that. I mean, I knew Jean wasn’t coming or he wouldn’t make it in time due to his injuries, but there was just something so poignant about that moment with him using that line after reading the interlude with it earlier in the novel. It was true to who Locke Lamora is even when fighting. He’s not the strongest or the biggest, so he has to use what abilities he does have to the best of his advantage. Then, my heart again when he started naming all the people he’d lost. So touching. I ended going back and reading the ending in the eBook after listening to it, and I happened to be listening to a song called Retrograde while I was reading this. I might’ve gotten a little choked up during the fight scene when I heard these lyrics, “And your friends are gone, and your friends won’t come […] we’re alone now, so show me why you’re strong…” Then, MIA came on and it was LIVE FAST, DIE YOUNG, BAD GIRLS DO IT WELL! Annnnd… Moment over.

Final thoughts

Wendy: I started out really enjoying this book and Lynch’s unique method of storytelling and world building. I love the mysteries teased with the Eldren, and the alchemical aspects, and I adore the Bastards. But Nazca’s death (which got her out of an unwanted marriage she was sold into without her consent) really soured me. I understand why she died and recognize that she didn’t die alone, but fridged women is a tired, tired trope, especially within a world where, while women can hold places of power, they have to earn it with far greater effort required to do so than a man. It’s fantasy. That means we can change the reality. Lynch’s world is far better at dealing with sexism than other works I’ve read, but it made me sad to think: “well a vat full of horse piss is better than rape, right?”

I was strongly considering bowing out of the next readalong, unless something really compelling happened. Well. Something really compelling happened. Not just one thing. It was a whole lot of insidious things that kept digging under my skin to writhe there with everything else that got me eagerly turning the pages from the beginning until the big meeting in The Spider’s office where I decided that I wanted the next book to feature Locke and Jean teaming up with the Salvaras to reclaim the underworld that would now be in turmoil after the loss of not one, but two Capas, with The Spider and the super sexy Reynart to be both friend and foil to their plans, with the Daughters of Camorr stepping in to take control. The ending didn’t exactly give me that, but I have high hopes of seeing Sofia Salvara especially again, even though Locke and Jean have been forced out of town. And in chatting with Tiara today, it seems like we’re already sold on reading the third book too. So, while I don’t forgive Lynch for Nazca, it looks like I’m here for the long haul. Bastard.

Tiara: I’m not going to add too much more. I’ll just say that I’m not certain what I was going to get while reading this story, but that turned out to be much more than I thought it would be. I enjoyed the unique storytelling style along with the vulgar humor. It also managed some seriousness without losing that humor. A fine showing, and I can’t wait to see where the Bastards’ adventures take them.

Hotline Bling

That’s my excited for next book dance right now.

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9 Comments on “Week 4: The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along

  1. Pingback: Come to Camorr: week 4 – x+1

  2. I missed a trick. It never occurred to me that Locke going back into Raven’s Reach was (at least partly) about the death offering – I always read that as something that just sort of came to him as he went, another one of his flamboyant improvisations (and perhaps a back-up plan for killing Anatolius if he was already aboard). That’s a really intriguing interpretation, which puts Locke in a slightly different light. Huh.

    I’m glad the story did enough to win you both over in spite of Nazca. I have a hope that one of the books will bring us back to Camorr so we can see what the Spider makes of the Salvaras (and watch the Bastards try not to fall into their grasp) – and what the Right People have become in the absence of an obvious heir to the Capa.

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  3. “He’s not heartless. He just shares his love sparingly.”

    This is on the money where Locke is concerned, and I definitely think that without that heart under the calculating, con-artist personality, we’d never be able to love him like we do. The same goes for all of the Gentleman Bastards, and it’s why this book works so well and affects me so deeply. They don’t hold much to be sacred, but what they do is pretty fucking sacred, and so to see them lose it and have to deal with that aftermath is heart-wrenching in the private moments, and so fiercely uplifting when they’re taking payback. You know there will be consequences for what they did to the Falconer, and Camorr will probably never be the same given how they left it, but Locke and Jean have done as right as they could by Calo, Galdo and Bug, and they’ve still got each other.

    My heart, indeed.

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  4. Reading your review I revisited my own emotions for the final part of this book, and still feel the grief of Locke and Jean’s loss: that was the part of the story that made me understand you can never feel too certain about a character’s fate, because Lynch does not exactly behave like a… caring mother with his creations. If knowing that no one is really safe does add some spice to the tale, it also makes for some harrowing, nail-biting reading indeed!

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  5. Heya Ladies!

    For Wendy – I think we can already see the teeth marks on the Bastards’s bums from that decision to maim the bondsmagi. Great final thoughts. I am glad to hear that this series has grabbed you and won’t let go, despite the pain of losing Nazca.

    For Tiara – Yep! The Falconer definitely deserved what he got. And I love your playlist for the final showdown between Locke and the Grey King.

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

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