Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Locke Lamora Read-along: Week Five

The final week! It was so tense! I think I held the book and inch from my face as I flew through the final chapters! I like books that have a doozie ending, and the forshadowing! The planning! This week's discussion is hosted by Lynn's Book Blog, and as usual be sure to visit Little Red Reviewer to read all the other posts.

My favorite interlude of the entire book: "Someday, you're going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee."
"Oh, please. It'll never happen."

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?
Like the Spider, I think there is a huge assumption about who the Thorn of Camorr is by everyone else. The Thorn of Camorr is not just Locke, it's the Gentleman Bastards. Locke may be the mastermind behind it all, but he couldn't do half of the things by himself that they accomplished together. Locke is nothing without his band. That being said, I think Locke did grow a lot during the progession of the story. He took things into his own hands, and went into a fight knowing he couldn't win because he knew he it had to be done. After the fight with the Grey King, Locke disproves the prophecy when he tells Jean to leave him to die and save himself. Not to mention going back to his arrest to save the entire nobilility. It's a very strong and admirable trait to be loyal to the end, to morals and to friends, and Locke is nothing if not loyal. Just as must as Jean or Bug or the Sanza twins.

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 – 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?
Female or not, the Berangias sisters deserved everything they got. And while it is a bit disturbing to think about an old lady getting punched in the face (all I could think about was her face caving in) she deserved it too for poisoning Locke. Since I'm a female, I don't really hold to the "All females should be treated delicately" logic. If they can go out there and fight sharks and be two-timing king's hands, they can get brutally beaten and stabbed and killed. I think all that falls under occupational hazard.

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?
It certainly seems to echo our own relics from lost civilisations: Stonehenge, the giant heads of Easter Island, etc. I hope this is something Lynch will touch on more in the later books, why these gigantic structures remained and how they were built and why they were important.

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?
In the very last two chapters, I thought the pacing was good, and like I said earlier, the one-page interlude with Chains is my favorite in the whole book. But for a while now I thought the Interludes were getting in the way. Sure, knowing how the Stone chair was the only thing remaining in a field of black ash is interesting, but I want to get back to the story now, thanks. There were a few interludes where, once the main story had picked up with the Grey King, I just couldn't wait until they were over to get to the interesting part. They relieved too much tension.

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 think the Grey King's motivations were wonderful. I became conflicted because I felt bad for him, and that I didn't know who to root for since him and Locke were suddenly after the same thing: revenge. I'm glad he isn't just some hokey dumbass who decided to kill a few hundred people and throw an entire city into turmoil. What's more, he's what I saw Locke turning into if he had years and decades to plot and enact his revenge. If Locke hadn't been able to kill the Grey King right away, I think his plots would have escalated into the same level of tragedy if he'd had years for his anger to boil.

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, because even though Locke is capable of doing all kinds of cruel things to completely dick a person over (i.e. to Merragio's waiter), he isn't emotionless enough to take lives of the completely innocent, especially on such a scale. He did what he had to do to ensure he'd be able to look himself in the mirror for the rest of his life. Escaping from prison is something that can be handled when the time comes. And yes, I loved everything about the sculpture scene. I loved it when Locke proved he was right, I loved it when he had to cooperate with his enemies, and I loved it when he gave the nobility their final "fuck-you" at the end with the shit barges, even when they had just come to an uneasy truce.
Locke definitely took his grand old time getting to the Wraithstone sculpture though, I would have been screaming "Wraithstone in the sculptures" over all the Midnighters trying to keep me quiet until somebody finally checked on them. I was counting the pages until he finally said "Wraithstone," I wanted to smack him in the head!

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?
If you don't like the profanity you can go and read another fucking book. Cursing is part of life (one I rather enjoy) and when authors deliberately leave out all swearing it comes out as disingenuous. Especially if the book is a "gritty" fantasy. People are going to swear, son. The best part about LL cursing is that it was funny.

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?
Yes! And I am going to force myself to only read up to the discussion, so I can answer the questions without knowing what's going to happen next! I'm so glad the third one is coming out this year (fingers crossed).

Now that I'm finished, I can finally go through all the other posts and start commenting!

1 comment:

  1. The berangias were great characters. They absolutely got what they deserved but they were very entertaining weren't they. I had my brief moment of feeling sorry for what the Grey King had gone through but it was fairly short lived - the fact that he was a total maniac and didn't care who he affected changed my mind rather swiftly!
    Can't wait for no.3. Such a great series.
    Lynn :D