Scott Lynch

Books: Fantasy

Gentleman Bastards: The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006), Red Seas Under Red Skies (2007)


Magic City: Recent Spells (2014), Street Magicks (2016)

Gentleman Bastards

The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006)

It's somewhat difficult to classify The Lies of Locke Lamora. It's definitely fantasy, but I haven't come across a lot of fantasy like it. The closet comparison I can think of is Thieves' World; the main characters are scoundrels and thieves, and no one is up to any good.

Locke Lamora is a thief--and a prodigy at that. The young boy has moved beyond the Thiefmaker's ability to control, so the Thiefmaker has sold him to the Eyeless Priest. There he meets the boys who are to becomes his brothers and fellow conspirators--the Gentleman Bastards.

The story moves back and forth between two arcs, the story of Locke's childhood, and his adulthood and his current scam. The timing of the cuts is good--both story arcs are excellent. Even when one arc stopped at a cliffhanger moment, I couldn't help but want to go back to the past and learn more about Locke's past.

I really liked this book. Once the story got started I had a hard time putting The Lies of Locke Lamora down--luckily it's the last day of my vacation, so I didn't have anything else to do except finish the book.

The world building is also very good. There is as much left unexplained about Camorr as there is explained, which made the land as fascinating as the characters.

The one caveat I have about this book is that there is unlike other fantasy books, Scott Lynch uses regular American cursing instead of using made-up words, which was a bit of a shock at first--I'm just not used to seeing the f-word used liberally in non-urban fantasy. I have to say that the use of the word made sense, consider the sort of people that Locke and his friends were. They're thieves and scoundrels and men of ill-repute, of course they'd use rough language when talking with each other. However, I have to say that it was in some of these passages, where Locke and the other Gentleman Bastards are talking that I found the dialog to be most stilted. Mind you, there were only a few passages like this, but I did find them jarring, especially since I found most of the other dialog to be excellent.

If you're looking for a strong fantasy, with irascible scoundrels, then you must definitely read this book. I'd say it's one of the best books I've read this year, but as it's only January 2nd, that probably isn't very impressive. So I'll say instead that as long you don't mind strong language, you should definitely pick up The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Rating: 9/10

The Lies of Locke Lamora, Audio Edition (2009) narrated by Michael Page

The Lies of Locke LamoraI read this in 2007, about a year after it was published. It's dark, which is one of the reasons why I never got around to reading the sequels (the primary reason being because I only had them in hardback).

Locke Lamora is an orphan who, after causing trouble under the Thiefmaster is sold to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, who turns out to be an even bigger scoundrel.

The story alternates between Locke's past, and the heist the Gentleman Bastards are currently trying to pull off.

Although it is a heist story, parts of it are extremely dark. Main characters are murdered. Side characters are murdered in especially horrible ways. Main characters have to go through horrible experiences.

There is also a scene which I remembered from when I read the book, that I actually had to skip when listening. The scene in question is on page 160 in the kindle version, and is 33% into the book. Locke's thoughts about some of the deaths as he sees the aftermath are hard, but this is on-the-page torture and I just couldn't listen to it.

This is actually the first time this has happened, and I've listened to Mike Carey's Felix Castor series. Which makes me wonder if I would be able to listen to an audio book of the Thieves' World series, which I love and have reread countless times, but does have some specific bits that are awful.

So I enjoyed the story, but the audio might have been a bit too much.

Publisher: Random House Audio

Rating: 8/10


Magic City: Recent Spells (2014) edited by Paula Guran


"In the Stacks" by Scott Lynch is a tale about magical libraries and librarians.

Inappropriate Levity Bronzeclaw, "Lev" to everyone at the university. Lev's people, dour and dutiful, gave their adolescents names based on perceived character flaws, so the wayward youths would supposedly dwell upon their correction until granted more honorable adult names.

Delightful! (OOK!)

All in all this is a marvelous collection, that I highly recommend.

Published by Prime Books

Rating: 8.5/10

Street Magicks (2016) edited by Paula Guran

Street MagicksI believe it took me less than a year to finish this anthology. Hopefully this is a new trend for me.

I believe it took me less than a year to finish this anthology. Hopefully this is a new trend for me.

"A Year and a Day in Old Theradane" by Scott Lynch is a story I got hung up on. I like Scott Lynch, but had a difficult time getting into this story.

"Shouldn't I have a hangover?"

"I took it while you slept," said Ivovandas. "I have a collection of bottled maladies. Your hangover was due to be the stuff of legends. Here be dragons! And by 'here,' I mean directly behind your eyeballs, probably for the rest of the week. I'll find another head to slip it into, someday. Possibly I'll let you have it back if you fail me."

An interesting collection, although there were a lot of stories that were not for me.

Published by Prime Books

Rating: 7/10