Rating: 4.5 stars
Locke Lamora is a liar, hence the title of the book. He is also an orphan and a thief, a well-trained thief. We meet him when he is six or seven years old, and follow him through to adulthood amid a fantastical underbelly world of thieves, killers, organized crime and magic.
I had read rave reviews about this book and expected to be sucked in right away, but after reading the first 90 pages I did not understand all the hype. I found the beginning to be, frankly, not interesting. I actually thought I might not finish the book. Then an unexpected event occurred . . . the story picked up and I was finally hooked.
There are twists and turns to the plot that kept me interested in finding out what happens next. Locke Lamora’s story is told in both the past and present. Locke’s past history is revealed in various chapters called “Interludes”. The author takes his time fleshing out Locke’s character and the world around him. This world has the feel of a very dark and mystical Victorian Venice, Italy.
None of the characters in this book are your typical heroes. They are crooks and scammers trying to best each other, yet you root for Locke and his family of rogues because they are the main characters and you are expected to. I was surprised when I found myself rooting for Locke. Imagine the Artful Dodger was the main character of Oliver Twist. You would be rooting for him instead of Oliver Twist. It is a strange feeling but that’s what happened.
I kept expecting a romantic storyline as well but there is only a brief mention of the one female member of Locke’s roguish family and his love interest, but she is off somewhere far away. Hopefully she is introduced in the sequels. Scott Lynch did a wonderful job creating and describing the dark fantasy world of this story. I also loved the ending. I found it satisfying as well as peaking my curiosity for the second book of this series.