The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along, Week Three

This week’s installment of The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along is hosted by Bryce from My Awful Reviews.   Thanks to Bryce for the great questions!

Week 3 covers chapter five thru the end of Interlude “The Half Crown War,” so if you’ve got any questions of your own that you’d like to post, make sure they stay within that time-frame. Also, please refrain (I know, it’s tough) from posting anything until Saturday, so we can all stay on the same page.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are this week’s questions. Enjoy!

1. This section is where we finally get to sneak a peek at the magic in The Gentleman Bastards books. From what we read, what are your initial impressions ofthe magic Lynch is using? Is there any way that Locke and Company would be able to get around the Bondsmage’s powers?

One of my big complaints with certain fantasy novels is the magical systems become too easy an out for the writer.  Got the heroes trapped on a cliff and don’t know how to get out?  Bim, bam, boom! Use magic and we’re out of it.  I don’t mind magical systems, but I prefer them to be thought out in advanced with limitations and consequences to their use.  And I don’t like them be the magic “get out of plot thread” jail free card that they can be when used by lazier fantasy writers.

Lynch’s magical system follows the rules for magic that I prefer–one that is clearly defined but isn’t a get out of jail free card.   And I think that right now, the magical system is in place as one more speed bump for Locke to overcome (or not) in this quest to pull of the scam he’s currently working.

2. Not a question, but an area for rampant speculation: If you want to take a stab at who you think the Grey King might be, feel free to do it here.

Well, I’ve actually finished the book so I’ll skip this one.

2.5 (since 2 wasn’t really a question) Anyone see the Nazca thing coming? Anyone? Do you think there are more crazy turns like this in store for the book? Would you like to speculate about them here? (yes, yes you would)

I can say that I didn’t see her death coming.  I figured Locke would have to find a way to wriggle out of the nuptials but I didn’t figure he’d get out of them because of the way in which she meets her death.  (And it’s a pretty icky way to return her to her family and friends.  I winced a bit when I exactly how she was killed.   There’s not really a good way to die but this one seemed more brutal than the usual fantasy novel death.

3. When Locke says “Nice bird, arsehole,” I lose it. EVERY TIME. And not just because I have the UK version of the book and the word arsehole is funnier than asshole. Have there been any other places in the books so far where you found yourself laughing out loud, or giggling like a crazy person on the subway?

As I said above,  I winced when I found out how Nazca died.  And there are some moments that had me smiling or internally wanting to high five Locke and company.  But most of the time I was at home, alone reading the book so no one saw my reactions.   Except the cats.  And they only used it as blackmail material for cat-nip and cat treats.

4. By the end of this reading section, have your opinions changed about how clever the Bastards are? Do you still feel like they’re “cleverer than all the rest?” Or have they been decidedly outplayed by the Grey King and his Bondsmage?

I’ve always felt like they’re cleverer in the sense that they find a weakness or a blindside and exploit it.  And I get the feeling that the Grey King is similar to that.  He’s able to find weaknesses in the GBs and use them against our heroes (or in this case our protagonists because I’m not sure I’d necessarily say the GBs are classic heroes).  I also wonder if Locke really knew what he was getting himself into by going up against them.  Was he fully aware of the resources that the Grey King and the Bondsmage have?

5. I imagine that you’ve probably read ahead, since this was a huge cliffhanger of an ending for the “present” storyline, but I’ll ask this anyway: Where do you see the story going from here, now that the Grey King is thought to be dead?

Yeah, I read to the end of the book.  It really picked up momentum from this point forward.

As for the Grey King, I kept hearing him say “I’m not dead yet” in my mind.  (An allusion to Monty Python and the Holy Grail)

6. What do you think of the characters Scott Lynch has given us so far? Are they believable? Real? Fleshed out? If not, what are they lacking?

Locke and Chains are both well defined.   The rest of the character and the universe feel lived in, but they’re not quite as detailed as Locke or Chains.  And that’s a good thing.  Too much detail and knowing the backstory of every single person would make this far too long a book!

7. Now that you’ve seen how clever Chains is about his “apprenticeships,” why do you think he’s doing all of this? Does he have an endgame in sight? Is there a goal he wants them to achieve, or is it something more emotional like revenge?

I think Chains has made his errors along the way and wants to ensure that his apprentices don’t repeat those mistakes.

18 Comments

Filed under Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along

18 responses to “The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along, Week Three

  1. I must admit I was shocked when Nazca died – I’d actually forgotten (or was in denial). What it did bring home to me again about this story and about the way Scott Lynch writes is the feeling that everything is open game. It makes you realise that anything could happen and nobody is safe!
    Lynn :D

    • Similar to how you can’t really get too attached to anyone in a George RR Martin novel

      • You’re right: Nazca’s death has shown that nobody is guaranteed to make it to the end, apart from Locke. It is always refreshing to read a fantasy with that sense of real danger.

        WRT Mr Martin, I heard that every time people complain about him writing too slowly he kills another Stark! :D

  2. Pingback: The Lies of Locke Lamora read-along, week three! « the Little Red Reviewer

  3. Pingback: The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-Along, Part III « Darkcargo

  4. nrlymrtl

    I’ve heard that mule piss is worse. Still, it’s the minor allusion to the ‘solid bits’ that disturbs me the most.

    • Oh my lord, I THANKFULLY missed that bit.

      That is so very disturbing. Her death was tragic enough as it was, the method of delivery added the most offensive insult of all time to a fatal injury… But ‘solid bits’? *nausea*

  5. “As for the Grey King, I kept hearing him say “I’m not dead yet” in my mind.” LOL

  6. Pingback: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, readalong « Lynn's Book Blog

  7. “I’ve always felt like they’re cleverer in the sense that they find a weakness or a blindside and exploit it. And I get the feeling that the Grey King is similar to that. ”

    I wish I’d had a perfect observation like that! when they pull a job, they spend months observing their mark. They know absolutely nothing about the Grey King, so they have no idea what his blindspots or weaknesses are (if any). They have to pull this job blind, and they are kinda sucking at it.

    lol, omg, everytime The Grey King shows up again, I’m going to be snickering “I’m not dead yet”, that was great!

    • That’s exactly it- they’re pulling the job blind and they’ve had virtually no preparation for this. I feel so bad for the poor fuckers. Things are not going their way. :(

      • Hi Rose

        Well they are going at this thing blind now but on the upside they’ve had a very thorough training at the hands of Chains so they’ll just have to fall back on that! Maybe that’s almost the answer to No.7 and Chain’s motive – maybe he didn’t have a ‘motive’ as such he just wanted to train them to be the best they could because you never know when a Grey King might just pop out of the woodwork!
        Lynn :D

      • Lynn,
        That makes a lot of sense! You think it’s possible that Chains wasn’t preparing them for anything specific, but just to be the best at what they do Just In Case? Sounds feasible; he clearly wanted them to be prepared for every scenario!

  8. When the Nazca situation resolved itself I was totally floored.Like you I figured that she and Locke would end up having marriage as another complication to overcome. Then she gets taken out of the game…

  9. Cat blackmail! They do it to me all the time…
    I also really like the kind of magic we have here and I’m glad that the heroes cannot use it and have to be clever instead. Cleaverness really is the best kind of magic there is in my opinion…

    • I’m glad the GB’s have to use their noggins instead of trying to use magic. Still intrigued if the magic is inherited or learnt though. Can’t help being curious (or incredibly nosey!)
      Lynn :D

  10. It’s kind of interesting to see the Gentleman Bastards being beaten at their own game. On one hand, it had to happen, but I’m still hoping they manage to find their way out of the mess that they are in.

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