Even though I'm four weeks behind, here is my addition to the Gentleman Bastards read-along. This discussion covers from the beginning of The Lies of Locke Lamora through the Interlude entitled “Locke Stays for Dinner”. The host for this week's discussion is Little Red Reviewer, where you can find the discussion questions and all the other blogs and commenters participating.
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 been eyeing this book for years now, and finally picked it up this past week. While I'm definitely enjoying it and definitely intrigued, I'm not by-the-balls immersed in the story yet. I imagine this will change as I keep reading, and I'm excited for that! There's nothing better than falling into a new story, the kind where you forget where you are as you're reading. I'll just need to stop long enough to answer the discussion questions... sleeping is overrated.
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 really like it when books follow several different timelines, so just fine. I think it adds an interesting level of tension when the reader knows how something is going to turn out the character doesn't. I thought the Prologue was way too long, and too distant a perspective to keep me interested in it. Those first forty pages were slow. I doubt I'll feel the same way in a reread now that I'm further into a storyline, but as a first reader I would have liked the brilliance of the game to get me to appreciate Locke as a character, and then start into the backstory.
3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building?
It took me a while to figure out what was magic, but then I noticed how everything was alchemically altered in the world. I thought this was really interesting, especially little things like the heating stone that cooks when you splash water on it. I wonder if alchemy is going to have a central presence to the plot, or if it is going to stay in the background of the worldbuilding.
And the brutality! I feel bad for those poor sharks, goaded into pain and blood-frenzy for the shmucks of the town who want a good show. And with the abundance of thieves everywhere in Camorr, I can't help but think the general populace are a bunch of idiots for continuing to be so blind to their games.
I feel bad for Don Salvara, too. Yes, he's richer than he'd ever have reason for, but he's knowingly putting himself out and extending a hand to help a person he doesn't know anything about and doesn't have any ties to, and he's going to get swindled out the ass. As Locke and the Don are making their terms, I can't help but hope Locke gets trapped. I'm interested to see how and when he pulls away and finally steals the money.
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?
I really like Father Chains. He is a great mentor. I have to keep reminded myself that he is teaching him a backhanded kind of moral code, but I guess any kind of code is better than none. I can't help but agree with his flawed logic, though. "They weren't using it, so I took it for our own appreciation." I try to keep my life streamlined and I give away or get rid of things I don't have a use for anymore. I'd rather someone else appreciate it than have it collecting dust in my own closet. That being said, I don't want my unwanteds stolen!
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 really like set-up, because the pay-off is so much bigger at the end. That being said, I prefer the set-up to have a direction, a plot of it's own, and then later on the true plot of the book is revealed. The prologue was hard for me because I had no idea where it was going.
6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.
Please, I'm nowhere near the smooth-talker Locke is! I'm as honest as they come, but only because my skill at lying is absolutely dismal.
So, the next section is dark and graphic, huh? Is it bad if I'm excited? I like it when shit gets real. The next section is Chapter Three through the end of the interlude "The Boy who Cried for a Corpse."