April 12, 2012

"The Lies of Locke Lamora" read-along FINALE

I know, I know! I'm way too late... This post should indeed have been up and running on Saturday, but I have been doing so much all weekend I did not have a free moment to type it down. But its like they say: Better late than never!

So this marks the end of our "Lies of Locke Lamora" read-along. It's a little sad it's over actually... I was indeed one of those that lack the patience to follow the read-along schedule down to the last detail, so I actually finished the book over a week ago. But since it's a re-read for me, I must insist on the fact that I still remember quite a lot! If you do not know what this post is all about pleas head over here for an explanation.

This is the last part of the read-along, and will therefore be completely packed with SPOILERS... so if you haven't read the book (and actually plan to do it) you may not want to read much further. But if you are in on the read-along, or have read the book once upon a time, or you're just a curious spectator that don't really care about spoilers... here's my answers to this weeks questions provided by Lynn's Book Blog.


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?

Hm... In the beginning of the book I feel like Locke and the Thorn of Camorr are sort of two different people. Locke uses the rumors to his advantage, but he never identifies with them. It's very much like I said last week: Locke does not believe himself to be the Thorn, therefore he is not the Thorn... in the beginning. But during the book a lot of events turns Locke's safe and perfect little world upside down, and that's when Jean finds the "Thorn within" in Locke. He knows that even the name Locke Lamora is not real, and when things get tough he digs deeper down into Locke's personality. It's really he who finds out that inside, Locke is really the Thorn of Camorr. So what if the rumors says the Thorn can walk through walls and such? Locke Lamora does just that when he gets inside 

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 like the fact that the women in the book are close to equal to the strong male characters. The Berangia sisters vere not exactly some of my favorites, but I was so impressed when Sean beat them in the warehouse! I mean, they had really badass fighting-skills... But I just loved that the fabeled Spider was an old woman! She truly was a strong and smart woman in this story. So much so that I did not flinch as much as I probably should have when Locke hit her... I mean, she strikes me as the type that fights back hard in one way or the other.

She and Locke can, sort of, be compared to Batman and Joker... (Since I first started the Batman-comparison.) Locke needs someone fighting against him to do his best. It's under preassure his best ideas are borne. And Doña Vorchenza would be out of job and unnessesary if it weren't for guys like Locke and the Gentlemen Bastards. That would explain some things... Like why Locke hade to save her (and all the rest of the nobels) instead of just getting revenge on the Grey King. And why Doña Vorchenza let him go even after all that he's done in her city...

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??

Hm... I must be honest and say I have never really thought about it. Im my mind, the Eldren has always just been there in the background adding mystique and wonder to Lynch's world. He might have gotten inspiration from ancient civilizations and legends like the ones about Atlantis? Or they are just a result of Lynch being brilliant? ...again!

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?

Oh! At times it was so frustrating! Stopping the action at a particularly juicy part just to jump back in time or tell a compleatily different story. But I would not be without it! It builds the tention and excitement to even newer heights and sort of spices up the storytelling. I did feel like the descriptions got a little overwhelming at some points, but most of the time it was great!

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?

Like I'v said before, this is a re-read for me. But apparently that doesn't mean I remember all that much from the first time... You see, I had forgotten who the Grey King really was! I knew who he wasn't, (Chains and other people I read people were guessing at,) but I could not make my brain remember what his story was and why he was doing all these things. When we finally got to know it, it just made sense. A guy that had lost so much at such a young age and under such cruel circumstances, no wonder his brain snapped! I'm not defending him or his actions in any way, I just understand why he became what he did...

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? 

Like Jean, I immediatly thought he would try everyting in his power to rescue the people in the Tower instead of satisfying himself by going after the Grey King... Through the book I feel like we have grown to know Locke, for better and worse, and by that point in the story he almost seemed like an independent person who could make his own choices. It's here the true length of Lynch's brilliance and genius shines through. He has made us believe in his character. Created a believable personality for him. He doesn't want a lot of innocent people to die, and what he want more than anything is to stop the Grey King's plans. One can say that what he did was stupid and heroic, but I think he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he had gone after that grey bastard instead...

The carrying of the sculptures was exciting, but the really great moment came just after that. The part where Doña Vorchenza realices what she's done and where all of their money are... I laughed so hard I almost could not keep it together! I knew it was coming, but still it's one of the very best parts of the book! It shows us that even when he's been busted, captured, poisoned and almost killed several times, he's still plotting, planning, locking for a way out or just a way to get back at them. He must have been grinning like a crazy idiot when the Doña didn't look! At least on the inside :)

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?

I don't usually like swearing... Most of the time its just pointless and out of place. But for me, Lynch actually made it work somehow? It enhanced the believability. A world (and book) with so much fighting, killing, stealing and torture, is svearing really that out of place? If some of my best friends got killed, my house got burned down along with all of my belongings, at least three different people wanted me dead and a sorcerer was watching my every move, it would not simply do to say something like: "Oh, no! I am so angry! We truly are in a lot of trouble..." No, then we actually find ourself in need of some more expressive words and phrases. 

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?

I have read it! And it's SO GOOD! So to all of you that haven't... do it! Some says they did not find it as good as the first, but I am actually tempted to say it's better... That's perhaps stretching it a little bit, but it's not fra from the truth. Because after this book *SPOILER* Locke and Jean are the only ones left. Which means that we get to know them on a way deeper level that in LOLL. I like character-driven books, and this one is...

I know there will be a read-along for Red Seas Under Red Skies as well, starting at the end of this month... Since I'm about to dive head-first into no less than four graduating exams during the next two months, I might be a little buissy from now on, so I might not be able to read the entire book again. Luckily I just finished it (the week the LOLL read-along started) so I'm sure I remember enough to answer each week's questions anyway and participate in the discussions. One simply can not read school-books all day long!
So I'll be seeing you around :)