The Lies of Locke Lamora – Read along wk5

Its the last set of questions this week for The Lies of Locke Lamora (boo!) but after this we will now be moving on to the second book in the series Red Seas Under Red Skies (yay!).  The questions this week were provided by Lynn, from Lynn’s Book Blog

Before I start the questions I’m going to talk about my one real criticism I have from the books (its not really a big one either), as I want to finish my post with the ‘I really do love this book’ comments. 🙂

(also going to cut this because its a long post with major spoilers)

The fight scenes in the book were great, believable and horrific. As they should be, even if I can’t actually cope with them. However after the fights I never really believed that either Locke or Jean had almost died/been in a horrific fight After Locke was pulled from the coffin, where he must have died. Ignoring the fact that CPR isn’t that effective when a person’s heart has stopped, to my imagination Locke would have had the absolute shit beaten out of him. Surely he should have been bleeding internally, and yes it’s mentioned that he had a sharp pain late and I’m sure he was running on a massive adrenaline high but at the same time I found it jarring. Jean’s fight slightly less so, although carrying Locke at the very end would have been a supreme effort.

Also that bit with the knitting needle? Did I misread that? I don’t quite understand what happened there. She stabbed him with a knitting needle, yes it was poisoned but.. Locke should have been bleeding surely? Quite badly? Knitting needles are not small things. Why didn’t she just stab him with a dart coated in the poison? (I also found it a bit bizarre that Vorchenza used poison in the first place.)

Anyway on with all the good stuff. 🙂

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?

I have been staring at this question for at least 10 minutes and have written pretty much all the answers to the other questions and I’m still finding it hard to pull my thoughts together for this answer. I kind of find it hard to ‘see’ what the legend was. I mean I know what it was from the blurb and what Vorchenza says, but I don’t know how it was built up, and you don’t see many people talking about it either. As we see most events from Locke’s POV then we can see that he isn’t perfect, he’s not infallible. I like this quality, I love that he’s pretty crap at physical combat. He’s human.

Locke grows up  a lot during this book (wouldn’t anyone given the circumstances) it should give him a better appriciation for just how nasty some people can be, that really he shouldn’t take people’s words for granted. (Considering his whole profession is about lying you’d think he’d be a little more cautious about what people tell him.) Although, and this is something I’ve said below, I do think he might be underestimating the repercussions of what he did to the Bondsmage.

Still I think Locke is a great main character, he is a nice person, loyal to his friends and will try and do the heroic thing even if it could screw him over, but he is flawed. Which is exactly how I like my main characters. 🙂

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 was worried about Jean when the Berangia sisters turned up, they are good, we know they are good. And there were two of them. It was a kill or be killed situation and it wasn’t a fair fight. I found that fight quite believable, Jean got hurt, but he managed to take them out in a way that showed he was skilled and not oddly superhuman. With Locke and Vorchenza I confess I was amused by it, mostly because it was completely unexpected – hitting an old lady in the face?  It shows that Locke isn’t quite the Gentleman thief he makes out to be, even if she did stab him first.

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??

I can’t actually think of any specific myths or ancient civilisations that would be similar. I’m sure there is probably something? As to theories? I don’t remember whether its stated anywhere as to whether Elderglass is a naturally occurring material? Or was it just that people don’t know? If it is naturally occurring then it could just be something that’s resistant to magic. If not then perhaps whoever built the structures used a different type of magic that is unaffected by that the Bondsmage’s wield. Or, if their magic is more based around names and using the right words maybe its simply because they don’t know the proper name of Elderglass so they can’t actually affect it with their magic?

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?

I thought generally the level of description was perfect (had to skim read those fight scenes!) it really brings you in and helps you to see whats going on. However with the interludes, yes I do find them interesting and it didn’t exactly detract from what was happening at the end, at the same time big things were happening!

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?

I thought it would take longer to resolve,  I know this is a series of books so I sort of assumed, as with most epic fantasy that things would kick off in the first book and not be resolved for a while. I guess I imagined there would be more politics invovled and more sneaking about from Locke and Jean to bring the Grey King down.  But I do love that the situation with the Grey King was resolved. I did find it credible people can spend a long time planning their revenge and I’m not sure I could have imagined anything worse than large bombs filled with Wraithstone!!! The man was deranged.

Saying that though I’m sure the stunt Locke pulled with The Falconer is going to come back and haunt him! I mean yes ok he didn’t kill him, and I’m sure some bondsmages are going to go ‘ok fair play you won that round he’s not dead, The Falconer was stupid and maybe a bit of a dick’ but with all I’ve read about them so far there is no way they can let that stand?! Also to the Falconer? You silly silly man. My heart was in my mouth when Locked walked in to the healer’s place and he was there. And then he started acting like a Bond villain. This isn’t a criticism, on the one hand I do get annoyed by the good guys getting out of life or death situations because the bad guy plays around. But he’s a bondsmage. A supremely arrogant person who of course is better than two pathetic thieves. How on earth could they outsmart him? Of course Locke wasn’t his real name, but I suppose we as the reader have the hindsight of backstory. To be honest in a way I am surprised that in world where True Name magic exists that people actually are using their real names. Its clearly not that common? Or at least the Bondsmage’s do a good job of keeping it a secret. In fact I’m wondering what constitutes as a True Name. Is it the very first name you’re given? (as it seems to be in Lockes case?) What would happen if you got amnesia and renamed yourself? Does that then count as you’re true name because that’s what you believe your name to be? Or if you knew you had amnesia would the powers not work on you because you know its not the name you were born with?

Also I had a major fit of giggles at this bit:

‘I called him an arsehole, too.’ Said Locke. ‘He didn’t like that.’

Understatement of the year. 😀

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? 

No. Although the manor he did it did surprise me. I kind of wondered whether he would try something clever to get in, but no he went in as himself. I was however almost biting my nails with annoyance as no one would believe him, even though they have good reason! But once they did, I loved how there was no fuss they got on with the job at hand, clearing people out the way and Sofia showing how well she knows her stuff! 🙂 I found this whole section great! The interaction between all of them was fantastic. I think I have a soft spot for Reynart now. 🙂

I also really want to see how Sofia and Lorenzo get on with becoming the new Spider. 😀

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?

Um.. what? I tend to dislike people criticising books for these reasons, I recall seeing some similar comments regarding The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie as well. I mean people swear in real life. Its not like these characters were swearing every other sentence, it happened at times when I expect most people would swear. I wonder if Lynch had made up some swear words like they do on TV shows all the time (Frak, Frell etc) would people have even noticed??

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?

Do you have to ask? 😉

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “The Lies of Locke Lamora – Read along wk5

  1. I completely agree that Locke is underestimating the threat of retaliation from the Bondsmagi. I mean, one could argue that he gave the Falconer a fate worse than death because he completely stripped him of any way to use his powers or to do much of anything for himself. Yeah, he totally deserved it, but at the same time it might not have been the wisest course of action. I’m hoping that we’ll see more Bondsmagi in the later books.

  2. You’ve got a point about the whole naming thing! Noboby would use their real names ever! Although I suppose most people would never come into contact with that sort of magic some may be complacent. I loved the fact that Locke had change his name and nobody knew his real name (I wonder what it really is or whether we’ll find out?) It did have a bit of a Bond film feel about it in parts I suppose – like the Locke in a Barrel scene – they could have just waited until enough time had elapsed – guess it would be a short story then though. LOL
    I think that by the end of the story I liked Locke a lot more – at the start he was definitely a bit arrogant (in terms of his own cleverness and being above everything). By the end he’d been brought down low and had had to come out fighting and show his true mettle!
    Great book and brilliant readalong with so many different theories and opinions.
    Lynn 😀

  3. Amy

    I sort of ignored the first question because I didn’t feel like anything I typed was an accurate account of how I felt about the legend. Locke wasn’t it but I think he liked the idea of it. In the end, he was really just a thief, a thief who didn’t even know what to do with the loot he acquired. Locke is definitely an interesting character.

    I’m really looking forward to the next book.

  4. Pingback: I just have to keep you here . . until Jean. . . shows up! « the Little Red Reviewer

  5. Pingback: The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along Part V « Darkcargo

  6. I imagine that the bonds magi keep the whole name thing VERY quiet and they are so expensive to employ that few people would ever come on contact with one. However, I agree that Locke will need to be very careful of men with tattoos on their wrists: sure the Falconer isn’t dead, but that is a technicality! 🙂

    • The whole name using thing that the Bondsmagi operate with seemed to be a big surprise to Locke and the rest so they’ve obviously managed to keep that little trick a closely guarded secret. I suppose the thing is – if you’re in a situation where you’re up against a Bondsmagi who has your name the likelihood of your living to tell the tale are fairly remote! So it’s probably something that you wouldn’t know about until basically it’s too late. The Falconer made the stupid mistake, like a number of players, of being over confident and also in playing with his victims. If he’d continued with his first strike and used Jean then it would have been totally different but he was enjoying himself too much! And so he was the master of his own downfall!
      Lynn 😀

  7. I love that Locke is human, and fallible, and vulnerable. He hurts, he bleeds (ok, maybe doesn’t bleed as much as he should, but still), he responds to things like a normal human being, not like a superhero.

    My take on the knitting needle thing was that Vorchenza wanted to appear as the dim old lady who just sits there, harmlessly knitting. and you’re right, knitting needs are big suckers!!

    Chains liked to say “thieves prosper, and the rich remember”. well, i think the Bondsmagi remember too. Locke is rash and he can be completely stupid. I’ve got to believe the Bondsmagi show up in future books, they are just too cool, too crazy, and too fucking demented for Lynch to just leave aside.

  8. In tv/movies, I like to call that “magic CPR”. Its resurrection powers work best if you start sobbing wildly and yell “Don’t die on me now!” :D.

    Also, I like your idea that the Bondsmage magic might be entirely name-based, like for objects as well as people. In that case, maybe Elderglass is a purely magic material, which can only be shaped by people who know its true name?

  9. nrlymrtl

    I have seen people put good books down because of cussing and sex. Do they shelve friends because they cuss and have sex? Both are part of the human condition, even if you are not currently participating.

  10. Major fit of giggles for me too with that quote, it was awesome. And giggles again with your theory about amnesia… I guess you’re then immune to all bondsmage tricks! That makes you want to consider severe head trauma, just for the sake of it 😉
    I think I would bleed to death if someone stabbed me in the neck with a knitting needle, it’s huge! She really did deserve that punch in the face for that!

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