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I've finished reading the Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch today. Lies appears to be the new book all the cool kids read. Since I rather loved previous books similarly hyped (see Erikson' Malazean Book of the Fallen and Bakker's Prince of Nothing), I was rather expecting to be blown away.

Well, I was disappointed.

Lies is a pretty good book, enjoyable and fun to read, but that's all it is.

My biggest grip with the story was characterization. I could never feel much empathy and liking for the characters, either Locke Lamora (who is supposed to be a charming, clever rogue who could talk the sun out of its shine), his friends, enemies, dupes or mentors. Mostly they came across as dull and lacklustre and I couldn't care much whether they get away with their ingenious tricks or not.

Sadly it so happens that characterization is the thing I prize most while reading so my enjoyment of the book too a heavy blow. Charisma is the least one should expect from a anti-hero, damnit!

On the plus side, this is a good story. The plotting is clever and twisty enough, the setting has just the right amount of ambiance, originality and classical stuff and sheer gustos to work for it. The writing is good and occasionally very amusing. The various swindle, lies and double-crossing one would expect are well pulled off and compelling to read. The tone didn't shy away from some grittiness when necessary though I seldom felt that it gave it the gravity necessary, resulting with a lightness of tone too similar to a shallow action movie (where the heroes are always right no matter what horrid thing they do because they're the hero)

Recommended if you're a big fan of Jack Vance and that kind of old school fantasy with clever tricks and glib fast talking, definitely. But maybe worth waiting for the paperback.

February 2016

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