Welcome to this weeks question and answers for the Lies of Locke Lamora readalong. This readalong is being hosted by some lovely and impressive bloggers as follows:
The questions this week are brought to us by SFSignal and are below. If you haven’t read the book then I suggest you stop reading now as there be spoilers below! Also, if you haven’t read the book but have a love of fantasy then I strongly recommend Scott Lynch, I love this series.
1. In the chapter “A Curious Tale for Countess Amberglass” we learn of the tradition of the night tea in Camorr. I found that not so much fantastical as realistic – how about you?
I definitely found it had a ‘real’ feeling. Dona Salvara going to see the Countess for some ‘tea and sympathy’ not to mention a bit of gossip! What could be more normal than that. I think the normal elements are what grounds the book – it almost feels in parts as though it’s a parallel universe, things that you’re familiar with and then things that are fantastic. The tea party is definitely very normal but then there are other elements that bring it back to fantasy. I suppose the setting was rather fantastic, sitting on a glass balcony above the clouds! Probably not my ideal spot with a fear of heights! Then we move on to a rather elaborate cake that sounded a bit amazing – packed with goodies (and calories!) So a good mixing of fantasy and reality. Then on top of that we have yet another of Locke’s plans thwarted. It seemed like such a good ploy by Locke and he seemed to have almost pulled it off! Makes you wonder what else is going to go horribly wrong.
2. When Jean meets with what will become the Wicked Sisters for the first time, the meeting is described very much like how people feel when they find their true work or home. Agree? Disagree? Some of both?
It was like he’d found his soulmate! LOL. I thought that little story was brilliant, like finally Jean had found something that had been missing.
3. Salt devils. Bug. Jean. The description is intense. Do you find that description a help in visualizing the scene? Do you find yourself wishing the description was occasionally – well – a little less descriptive?
No, I didn’t want less description – particularly in this instance! Okay, I can hold my hands up and admit there’s a lot of description in this story, personally, I really enjoy it, however, okay, you could probably lose a bit of detail about the food/drink/clothing – and it wouldn’t be detrimental – but to lose the description on something like the Salt Devils – it would be criminal to have cut that down. It was such an exciting scene – massive, spider like creatures, Locke stuck in a barrel (feel like there’s a pun flying around in that statement somewhere), blue ick flying about all over the place and Jean being brilliant slashing and hacking – no, I thought it was just the right amount of detail. (Was anybody picturing Shelob from LOTR when the salt devils appeared!)
4. This section has so much action in it, it’s hard to find a place to pause. But…but.. oh, Locke. Oh, Jean. On their return to the House of Perelandro, their world is turned upside down. Did you see it coming?
Oh, this is such a sad scene – I was already prepared for it, but, and even though I hadn’t formed a real connection with Calo and Galdo, it still made me very sad. In a way yes, I did see this coming. They were out of the way, the Grey King was at large – he’d clearly been following them and knew where they lived and so it’s not rocket science to assume he’ll want to get his hands on their dosh – after all he thinks Locke is dead – and best irony of all is that he can now use the Bastard’s money to pay the Bondsmage for his services – perfectly despicable methinks.
5. Tavrin Callas’s service to the House of Aza Guilla is recalled at an opportune moment, and may have something to do with saving a life or three. Do you believe Chains knew what he set in motion? Why or why not?
I just think that Chain’s wanted his GBs to be prepared for all eventualities. You never know when something will be useful and so he’s given them a bit of a grounding in all things. And, as we can now see, its paid off.
6. As Locke and Jean prepare for Capa Raza, Dona Vorchenza’s remark that the Thorn of Camorr has never been violent – only greedy and resorting to trickery – comes to mind again. Will this pattern continue?
I think that things have the potential to become much more violent at this stage! It’s personal now!!
7. Does Locke Lamora or the Thorn of Camorr enter Meraggio’s Countinghouse that day? Is there a difference?
I think Locke Lamorra enters the counting house. I think the Thorn of Camorr no longer exists. And I think this is seen in the way that Locke has to make a few attempts before he finally succeeds in obtaining a set of clothes. He’s not being calm and collected, he’s not taking the time to study his opponents, he’s just hellbent. The Thorn of Camorr was a conman – almost playing with the rich and flaunting his brainpower, ‘look at me, look at how easily I walk among you and deceive you’ and actually not just deceiving them but also pulling the wool over the eyes of the rest of the criminal element. I think from now on we will only see Locke, I think he will still be clever, and come up with plans, after all he did succeed in the Countinghouse, but he now has a different motivation. Let’s hope he doesn’t resort to his previous reckless self – revenge is a dish best served cold (or something like that!) or – another quote – fools rush in.. etc. etc. That was very rambling and incoherent – for which apologies. Basically, I think the Thorn has now gone and Locke is in the building!
Thanks for the questions
Okay, we’re on to the third week’s readalong of Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora. This week we stopped at a particularly tense part of the book – and can I just ask who the hell came up with that stopping point!!! You raging maniac you! I have managed to not read on, but I have read this before and I want to take my time with this readalong. This readalong is being hosted by some lovely and impressive bloggers as follows:
If you haven’t read this book – then really, I would recommend it m0st heartily. Plus, come and join us all, we’re having a great time. If you have read it and want to readalong then get in touch with one of the lovely people above and they’ll add you to the info. And, be aware, ‘there be spoilers ahead’.
1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions of the magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage’s powers?I guess I would say I’m more puzzled, or intrigued, by the magic we’ve seen used. There isn’t much of an explanation this far into the story about ‘why’ the Bondsmage can use magic or where they draw their power from – although I could be missing something here! I enjoyed Chains story about the Bondsmage and how they became such a force to be reckoned with. It’s all part of the world building that I enjoy so much about this book.
2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here. Even though I seem to have forgotten such a good deal about my original reading I’m not going to take a guess because if it turns out to be in any way remotely connected it will look like a big fat spoiler (or as though I’m trying to be a tremendous smartypants)! I am intrigued though (and I have really not a clue – how is that even possible?)
2.5 (since 2 wasn’t really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would) Again, I would love to speculate about the crazy turns in store – but spoilery! Dang!! And, believe it or not I’d forgotten about Nazca – I knew in my tiny brain that her and Locke were not going to get it on, but I had forgotten about her being murdered. Strangely enough I remembered the whole scene with the barrel full of horse urine – what is up with me, really? The other thing about this is – I was really quite enjoying the character of Nazca and here she is getting bumped off – I think that’s a really difficult thing for an author to do and I really respect it. I’m not saying I enjoy losing the characters that I like but sometimes it is necessary and it’s a hard decision. Big respect for not being too precious to lose a character if the plot needs it.
3. When Locke says “Nice bird, arsehole,” I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway? I have been laughing out loud a lot – but I think you probably hit on what was, for me, the funniest scene – when Locke met the Grey King and his bondmage for the first time. ‘Nice bird, arsehole’ is pretty hilarious! I always feel really odd about using ‘asshole’ – just the whole ass/donkey thing! I did think of a couple of lines I really enjoyed: “When you don’t know everything that you could know, it’s a fine time to shut your fucking noisemaker and be polite.” and the story about the half crowns where Tesso says “because I can’t imagine that you shit-wits would really be sitting there right where we beat the trouser gravy out of you just yesterday”. Trouser gravy? LOL! There are others, but I’ll leave it now (it could become an essay!)
4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they’re “cleverer than all the rest?” Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage? Well, as much as I hate to say it, I feel that they’ve been ‘bested’ at this point. The Grey King knows exactly what they’re up to and how to turn the screw. They are between a rock and a hard place and don’t even have the option to run because they’ll never get away with it now. I suppose if they’d got out of there years ago – and it seems like they probably had enough money to do so, but they kept just wanting to put in one more job – then they wouldn’t be in this mess – but hindsight is a thing of beauty! (I wonder if you can buy hindsight glasses – I want a pair of those)
5. I imagine that you’ve probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the “present” storyline, but I’ll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead? Won’t elaborate on this as I have already read. Also, can’t remember and haven’t actually read ahead! And, I don’t have the first bloody clue.
6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking? I really enjoy the characters so far, we get little glimpses into the history behind the relationships and I think that slowly but surely we have a world being developed with really easy to picture characters. To be honest, I think Jean may be my favourite character – I’m not sure why. I like his nature, he’s very real. But I also like that he can just totally look after himself!
7. Now that you’ve seen how clever Chains is about his “apprenticeships,” why do you think he’s doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge? Ha, I can’t actually remember whether Chains had any other goal such as revenge. I like Chains and I like the way he sometimes doles out his lessons – like the way he taught Locke a bit of humility when Jean first came to stay! I feel as though he thinks he’s like a master tutor and he’s giving his apprentices the best, the fullest, the most comprehensive education in how to be a trickster – he’s like the Ivy League of conman tutors!
Comments from other bloggers:
For the next few weeks I will be joining a number of other people taking part in a readalong of the Lies of Locke Lamora, followed by another readalong of Red Seas Under Red Skies. I’m so excited to be doing this because Scott Lynch’s third novel is due to be released this summer and so this acts as a perfect reminder of all that has already taken place.
I love these books! They’re dark, gritty and brutal. They’re populated by great and complex characters. Definitely unflinching and not for the YA market!
If you haven’t already read these books and don’t want to read spoilers please don’t continue with the rest of this post (and, really, if you haven’t read these books what exactly are you waiting for – really, just read them). If you want to join this readalong follow this link:
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?
I’ve already read the Lies of Locke Lamora but it was some time ago now and so rereading all the detail again is amazing. I think I’m noticing so much more this time because I think the first time I read a book I read it very fast and am totally on a mission to find out what’s happening next so I don’t tend to savour the writing as much as I should. With this reread I’m taking my time and absorbing properly all the information about the place, the food, the descriptions of the orphans and being introduced again to the Thiefmaker (who I can’t help picturing as Fagin from Oliver Twist) and Chains.
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?
I’m really enjoying the flashbacks and the slow reveals of what actually took place with Locke that led to the Thiefmaker finally reaching the end of his tether and deciding to dispose of him. I think the way the time lines jump back and forth make it more interesting. One moment we’re looking at Locke and his crew and what their next job is, then just as they reach a critical point we bounce back to Locke telling his story to Chains. One part of me is thinking what – no, I want to see what happens next, but then pretty rapidly I’m absorbed in ‘younger’ Locke’s tail and then I’m equally as eager to carry on reading that story. I think writing like this and jumping inbetween helps to focus your attention, plus, it’s like you’re reading more than one story so it’s double or even triple the excitement.
3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?
At the risk of appearing to just automatically like everything that Scott Lynch does I’m going to admit that I love the world building. What I particularly enjoy is the detail – maybe it’s not to everyone’s liking – but, I find it really easy to build up the world in my own mind’s eye. I have my own idea of what the place actually looks like (which might not be the same as everyone else’s but that’s the beauty of reading). I like the fact that traditions, lifestyles, even food have all been thought about. It makes the whole reading experience rewarding. I even have my own picture of what I think Locke looks like, the twins, Chains – I’ve got it all pictured. Plus, I like the fact that SL has thought about it all. He doesn’t just say ‘okay, here’s the world and this is what it’s like and expect you to be wowed – he builds it up gradually, he introduces you to the unsavoury elements and explores the underground, he gives you a bit about the history, just enough to keep you going, I can practically taste the food and the wine. I can imaging the squalor of certain elements and the richness of others. There are loads of layers that gradually build to give you a perfect picture. It’s like a work of art
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?
Well, it seems a contradiction in terms, but I guess that Chains is going to mold Locke into a thief with honor! He’s not just going to be a ‘grab and run’ or sneak in the night. He’s going to use his cunning and intellect. Chains is going to develop him and teach him the ways of the world so that he can blend into any setting with ease. He’s going to help develop him to think on his feet and be quick witted. He’s going to help him to become an actor of sorts.
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?
I enjoy reading either way, providing the writing is good and in this case it is. Sometimes when reading a novel I just feel like I’m suddenly reading a huge info dump, which doesn’t blend in well with the story and feels quite literally as though the author is thinking ‘okay, let’s get this over and done with’. I don’t enjoy that and it can be distracting and take you away from the plot which is just annoying. The start of this book helps you to see how Locke is as a boy and gives you an appreciation of how is character has come along to reach where he is as an adult. You can see that even at a very young age he was going to be a lot more than just a regular pickpocket – he likes to succeed and has a lot of ambition.
6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.
No, I wouldn’t be any good at this as I’m a total wimp. I think that there is a pickpocket in the making in my house however – I usually have to buy a new set of headphones every month (why? I dunno!) plus little things have a mysterious habit of going missing – or I’m losing the plot and can’t remember where I put them. Perhaps we have Borrowers under the floorboards – which would explain why I have 50 pairs of odd socks.
Great questions. Loving it.
On a totally superficial note : I love this cover (I can’t help myself from just going there!)