I stayed up late last night, to finish devouring ‘s first novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora.
Short review: WOW.
OK, now that’s out of the way, on to the longer review:
I have not felt like this about a fantasy novel since China Miéville first sent me an uncorrected proof of Perdido Street Station back in 2000.
In a lot of ways, The Lies of Locke Lamora grabbed me in exactly the same way. I am a city boy, more in my element among the crowded streets and towering buildings than I am in more pastoral settings, and any book where the city-setting is drawn in such detail as to make me feel as if I know the place is sure to win my heart.
If Miéville’s New Crobuzon was a phantasmagoria of Dickensian London — brick tenements, smoke-belching factories and steam power — then Lynch’s Camorr is Renaissance Venice, teeming with merchants, nobles, thieves and intrigue. The details of the city, right down to the smell of rain on pavement, immersed me so fully within its streets that I looked very much forward to inhabiting that space for the time I was there, and very much missed it when I was done.
I will not divulge elements of the plot, even in vague terms…suffice to say that I often marvelled at the cleverness of the characters, and of the overall story itself. On a technical note, I was completely won over by ‘s use of flashbacks, bouncing back and forth between the current plot and incidents in the early education of the Gentlemen Bastards. Too often, flashbacks have a tendency to feel like awkward exposition, but these were done in such a way as to almost create two separate plot threads, one in the present and one in the past, and I found myself looking forward to how BOTH progressed.
Oh, and one more thing: The Lies of Locke Lamora is responsible for only the second time in my entire life when a passage in a novel has made me exclaim “YES!” out loud. The only other time that has occurred was in Return of the King, with the phrase “Rohan had come at last.” So, take that as you will.
I am a complete and utter raving fanboy from this point forward, and cannot wait until I can read Red Seas Under Red Skies, the second book in the sequence.