March 14, 2012

"The Lies of Locke Lamora" read-along part 1

At the end of last week I quite accidentally started to re-read one of my absolute favorite books, The Lies of Locke Lamora. Honestly, I only know one single person that has ever shown interest in the book, and that's my sister.
It has always puzzled me that neither the book nor the author is not known and famous world wide, but suddenly I discovered I wasn't alone as a big fan of the books.

I work at a book-store, and while at work I was supposed to find the ISBN-number of The Lies of Locke Lamora so that we could order it. I than found myself looking at nothing less than the web journal of none other than Scott Lynch, the very author of the book.
When I came home I read through most of his resent posts, and I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that a lot of book-bloggers had just started a read-along of the first book!

Naturally I joined, and below is (though a little bit too late) my first post concerning the read-along...
There are a lot of participants to this particular read-along all over the internet, but here you at least have the host-blogs:

The Little Red Reviewer
Dark Cargo
SF Signal
My Awful Reviews

And like I said, even the author has thrown himself into the game together with us to share a lot of background-information!

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far? If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?

Like I said, it's a re-read, but it has been a long time, so there are a great many details I don't remember from the first time. This is also the first time i read it in english. Back in 2010, the only copy I had was in Norwegian. (My native language in case you wondered. And yes, I do in fact live in the cold and wet, yet beautiful country named Norway.)
After finishing Read Seas Under Red Skies (the second book in the series) last week, I just had to experience the first book in its original form. Scott Lynch is such a brilliant storyteller and the fluidity of the language that he masters so brilliantly got somehow lost in translation. I never regretted the purchase of my english copy.
When it comes to reading it for the second time, I think the book is actually better somehow than the first time! Perhaps it's because I know what's going to happen and it makes me grinn with expectation :)

2. At last count, I found three time lines: Locke as as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?

Honestly, I don't remember how I felt about it the first time i read it... But I love parallell stories and actually enjoy the mild confusion it always brings. Getting to know the grown up Locke and simultaneously learning where he came from and why he ended up on the doorstep of Father Chains is brilliant! It somehow unravels the secrets and mysteries layer by layer...

3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?

I have never been a fan of endless descriptions of places and views. For example The Lord of the Rings has a great deal to much of that for my taste... (Though I love the book!) That being said, I don't think this book has got too much of it, just enough for me as a reader to picture the city of Camorr in my mind.
And truly, that is indeed a peculiar city! Hanging of kids, entertainment containing jumping sharks and armed men and women, a secret peace that keeps the "police" from turning in the citys criminals... and in the midst of this caos we find our little gang of thieves and con-men going under the name the "Gentlemen Bastards".
It's a hideous place with horrible rules, yet it's beautiful and enchanting with a touch of mystic about it. Honestly, it's so vivid and real I almost feel like it does exist somewhere in the world not yet discovered. And it's definitely the best setting Lynch could ever find to put Locke Lamora into!

4. Father Chains and the death offering. . . quite the code of honor for thieves, isn’t it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into?

I know, I know! And frankly I can't wait to see it happen! I am not going to spill any details for those of you who are reading it for the first time, but I can say one thing: Locke Lamora is one of the very few protagonists that has become my favorite person in the book they appear in.

5. It’s been a while since I read this, and I’d forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what’s happening?

Like I said, I'm no fan of long descriptions, and usually I want to be put right into toe midst of it all. But somehow I consider the start of this book as a very good disguised of doing just that. Just think about it...
The first time we ever get to hear the name Locke is on the first page when he has already done something so awful that the Thiefmaker has to kill him if father Chains won't have him. If that isn't starting off on a high note, I don't know what is?

6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.

Well, I have to plague innocence at that point... Although, it did strike me what scams I could play my best fried on the 1st of April had I possessed Locke's ability to lie so convincingly he almost believes it himself sometimes!