The Lies of Locke Lamora Part V

The final week of the awesome Lies of Locke Lamora Readalong sees the group answering Lynn’s questions. I don’t really do book clubs or anything similar so this has been a really new experience. The book has been great and so have the discussions. I’ve come across a lot of good bloggers and enjoyed reading their answers which you can check out at Little Red Reviewers blog. Here are my answers.

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?

Locke is nothing like the myth of The Thorn of Camorr. He does not have many of the skills associated with the myth, doesn’t know what to do with the stuff he steals and is complacent when we first meet him. He is then pushed to his limits by the Grey King and is reduced to nothing so he has to dig deep to get past his complacency and find a new level of strength and direction. He knows his weaknesses and plays to his strengths which are deception and thinking on the fly which he uses brilliantly in the final battle. He also acquires a new level of bravery and ruthlessness considering the final series of confrontations and fights could have gone disastrously wrong. Interestingly the Grey King is what Locke might have become if he alone had survived and lost everything he loved.

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?

The women in this world do not take a back seat to men and are believably strong. They have established themselves in their professions through hard work and natural skills and by playing on the weaknesses of others.

The Dona has used intelligence and deception to maintain her position. Like Locke she has a degree of complacency and underestimates how desperate or devious her foe might be so when she is overcome by brute force it was absurd but believable and I must admit to finding it amusing (すみません!). I was expecting a conversation so the right hook caught me off-guard but then how else was Locke going to escape Dona Vorchenza since she had outwitted him?

As for Berangia sisters they were the natural equals of Jean and they went out fighting which is how they lived. I had little sympathy for them since they knew exactly what they were getting into and were confident that they could take him. I kind of liked them and so I felt that their fight was a bit of a let down since I wanted something more spectacular than a dust up in a warehouse.

Anyway, I prefer my girls tough.

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 think the Bondsmagi have picked up their magic from relics from the age of Eldren. We got background as to how the Bondsmagi have established themselves as a force in the land but very little detail as to how they got their magic and how it is taught and it seems strange that they alone have all of this knowledge. I think that someone or some group has stumbled upon something or deciphered something from ages past that has given them their magic and science and since then they have worked very hard to gather up this knowledge/tech. With that said I was disappointed that we got so little of the Eldren. I think I mention them and the Elderglass in every readalong post so far but that is because it is such an interesting factor of the story.

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 raced through the interludes and descriptions. As nice as they are I wanted to see how Locke was going to defeat the Grey King and save Camorr.

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 was expecting the Grey King to be a foreigner who was muscling in on Camorr’s criminal underworld the same way that Capa Barsavi did. When we find out the Grey King’s background it seemed much more credible since there’s bitter history between the Grey King and all of Camorr and this history has sparked a twisted obsession which has powered the Grey King into establishing himself in foreign parts and building himself into the ultimate threat. The best thing about this is that it all makes sense. At one point I did wonder if it was an invasion force from another kingdom which might have been more interesting.

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? 

I was not that surprised when Locke chose to go back to the tower. He has seen his friends massacred and he is out to foil ALL of the Grey King’s plans. He might also feel the need to rescue some of the more blameless people at the party – children/servants. Anyway it paints Locke as fundamentally decent character in contrast to the Grey King and other criminals. Who could love a hero who would let so many people (including children) become gentled? Anyway getting into the tower would be easy considering that the guests want him dead or alive.

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 find that profanity done well can be amusing otherwise it is boring to read and really unnecessary. The insults and profanity in The Lies of Locke Lamora veered between humdrum to the occasionally creative and I ignored it for the most part. Considering that the Gentleman Bastards are thieves and exist in the criminal underworld I doubt polite language is going to be the main form is communication. If you are that offended then try reading something else.

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 already got it. I cannot wait to start it.

24 thoughts on “The Lies of Locke Lamora Part V

  1. Great answers! I think the women are very believable in this story and play good strong roles. I wasn’t sorry to see the Berangia sisters taken out but I was pleased that they went out fighting. I didn’t really like them as characters. They were cold and calculating but they were on a mission – and they stuck to it. Plus they were pretty kickass!
    I thought the Grey King played a really great character in the story. He’s just so bloody obnoxious and really manages to eliminate any tiny trace of pity or sympathy you might feel for him just because he’s so ruthless. I liked the fact that he didn’t underestimate Locke though. At the back of my mind I kept thinking – ‘why do you have to kill the GB’s’? But he knew that once he’d used Locke there would be no stopping him and so he had to wipe the Thorn and his gang out completely! (Plus he needed their money to pay off the Falconer – a bit cheeky to say the least).
    I’m a bit like you – I would like to know a bit more about the Bondsmagi. Not so much as to why their magic works – but I’m keen to know things such as, are they born with magical ability or is it taught to them. The Elderglass itself I figure is one of those mysteries in life that isn’t going to be answered – and I’m content with that to a large degree. After all, we don’t know the why’s and wherefores of plenty of things in life – we can only speculate. Who built Stonehenge? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct, why is all the nice food in life full of calories! Who killed Roger Rabbit and why did Dobby have to die! LOL
    At least this way we can draw some of our own conclusions.
    Looking forward to No.2 already.
    Lynn 😀

    1. The Grey King ended up being such a compelling character because he felt so real. He’s so used up and consumed by revenge he risks everything to pursue he vengeance. I felt sorry for him when he felt unable to cry at his losses at the end. That said, I wasn’t too sympathetic considering his plot was insanely evil. The same sentiments can be applied to the Berangia sisters – so committed to the mission and so professional, they can live undercover with their most hated enemy. I just didn’t see it coming!

      I also liked the way the Grey King stole the GB’s loot in order to pay off The Falconer. Very cheeky but efficient!

    2. After all, we don’t know the why’s and wherefores of plenty of things in life – we can only speculate. Who built Stonehenge? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct, why is all the nice food in life full of calories! Who killed Roger Rabbit and why did Dobby have to die! LOL

      omg, I just nearly spewed wine all over my keyboard! that was brilliant!!

      1. Ha ha, I’m sure it was ‘who framed Roger Rabbit’ – I’m always mixing my metaphors, mis quoting things and singing the wrong lyrics to songs (really confident in the notion that I’m absolutely not singing them wrongly at all – for example, ‘stand in the river’! – no ‘stand and deliver’, Gina used to work on the docks – pretty sure it wasn’t Gina – think she worked the diner, or ‘it’s all about the money, money money’ – no it ISN’T! LOL
        Lynn 😀

  2. Neat theory on the Bondsmagi/Eldren connection. I want to learn more about both of them; I thought that they were fascinating. I’m hoping they’ll show up in the next books.

  3. I liked the strong women in the story too, particularly the Berangia sisters. They’re scary and badass and fit so perfectly into the story.

    As for the profanity, I found it amusing. It does fit with the story though. These are criminals we’re talking about. I don’t picture flowery language. If people find it offensive, they can always choose to read another book.

    Great answers.

    1. There’s a line in Haywire where one character says “It would be a mistake to think of her as a woman.” That line can be used for many of the women in this story. They are the equal of men and it wasn’t in the typical unbelievable fantasy way where they are so good no man except the hero can touch them. Call me immature but I would love to be part of a gang named Gentlemen Bastards.

  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 really liked your idea for the link between the Eldren and the bonds magi: an I hope we get to see more of both. Of course, I want to see more of the Falconer gibbering in a corner because I hated him, but I suspect we are more likely to see his angry brothers as they try to remove Locke’s tender bits! 😀

  7. I pretty much felt the same way you did about Locke vs his Thorn of Camorr alter-ego. Locke uses the myth to his advantage, but the two people are nothing alike.

    Interestingly the Grey King is what Locke might have become if he alone had survived and lost everything he loved.

    darkly fascinating observation. Locke certainly has the potential to become someone as twisted as the Grey King. . i wonder if he knows that? I wonder if he realizes how close he is to becoming a horrible person? I’m gonna be thinking about this all night now.

    When Locke goes back to the tower, all i can think of is what he says to the Grey King’s man before he kills him in the Glass cellar, “whatever he’s planning, I will unmake it. Whatever he desires I will destroy it.” Locke going back to the Tower, that’s him unmaking the Grey King’s plan. He doesn’t want all those people to die or get gentled, but more than that, he doesn’t want the Grey King to win.

    1. This is a really interesting point. Both Locke and the Grey King are obsessed by their need for revenge so they are both similar. I suppose the difference is that Locke did go back to rescue the nobility but now you put it like this – was he really bothered about saving anybody or was he just hellbent on stopping any plans of The Grey King. Now I’m in conflict!! I want to think of Locke as being better you see – I suppose that’s the main difference. They did both have similar motivations but I simply want to think better of Locke!
      Lynn 😀

      1. Locke is still a flawed character at the end which makes him so interesting. I don’t know what Scott Lynch will put him through in the following books but it will be very interesting to see his development.

  8. Ken

    Nice theory on the magic. I wonder how the Bondsmagi became so powerful too. I saw the outlines on Scott Lynch’s site and it says that the history of magic will be revealed in Republic of Thieves. Can’t wait!

  9. I came to the same conclusion about the Bondsmagi picking up their magic from the Eldren. Now I wonder if it will prove correct. 🙂
    Hopefully, many of the questions I got from reading this book will get answered in the next one.

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