Monday, January 14, 2013
2: Scott Lynch - The Lies of Locke Lamora
But it isn't. Instead it's a 500-page slog where every single clever idea that pops into the author's head gets spun out into a lengthy description, and every detail of clothing, furnishing, and location is laid out in forensic detail (stop telling me that the buildings were made by a giant race who were there before people. You've told me five times now, and believe it or not, I can remember it from the first time you told me). Some of these ideas are pretty clever, but others just don't work, and the ones that don't work grew to annoy me pretty quickly.
(For example, the world Lynch has built has 12 gods, or 13 if you're one of the Right People. So instead of saying "oh my god," people swear by saying, "gods!" Which is fine. But they also say "gods-damned" a lot, where Earth people would say "goddamn." Now, I don't know if you've tried saying "gods-damned" out loud, but it doesn't work as an exclamation. It's too hard to say. But there it is, scattered throughout the book, annoying me.)
Locke Lamora's plan is also pretty dull, as is a lot of the talk about guilds and pacts between various lawless or religious factions within the city state. The annoying thing about this is that you can't really skim it because some of it turns out to be important later on.
However, if you're prepared to wade through the setup stuff in order to get to the far more exciting second half, you're richly rewarded with dastardly baddies, a confused and imperilled protagonist (the best kind), some serious revenge motivation, a couple of exciting fight sequences, and a sickeningly vertiginous escape before everything gets wrapped up in a highly satisfactory manner. Oh, if only the whole thing could have been like this. I get the awful feeling it was written backwards, with things happening in the exciting second half that then needed to be tediously set up in the first, like Bill and Ted's escape from jail.
* "Why do people in these books make everything out of obsidian? What's wrong with steel? Steel's much stronger." - Husband's response to my observation about the language in the book.
* Whenever I say The Lies of Locke Lamora out loud, I always have to do it in an Oirish accent.