Category Archives: Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along

Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along, Week Four

I got a bit behind on my read-along reading last week.  So, while others all across the book blog-o-sphere were posting about chapters 11-13 of Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies on Saturday, I was sitting on the sidelines, not reading the posts as they came up in my reader because I didn’t want to SPOIL myself on what was to come.

Finally, I was able to get enough time to read the chapters and now am finally able to respond to this week’s questions, which come to us courtesy of Nrlymrtl from Dark Cargo.    The read-along is hosted by Little Red Reviewer and if you’d like to see what other have said, you can find a list of those participating on her site.

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Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along, Week Three

Sometimes time just gets away from us.  That’s what happened this week with my reading on the next section of Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch.  I swear, there are just too many good books out there tempting me and vying for my attention these days!

But I did manage to find some time to get in the latest section.  Because I really don’t want to miss participating in the read-along.  This week’s section covers chapters seven through ten, or as I call them “Bad things happen if you forget the cats.”

If you want to jump into the read-along, it’s hosted by Little Red Reviewer and this week’s questions are courtesy of Ashley who blogs over at SF Signal and tweets at @ohthatashley.

And now, onto the discussion…

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The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along, Week Five

It’s the final week of The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along.  This week’s questions cover the end of the book and the entire book as a whole, so there are SPOILERS here.  If you don’t want to know how it all ends, bookmark and come back when you’ve finished reading!

This week’s intro is courtesy of Little Red Reviewer

Hi Everyone!   Can you believe it? this is the final week of our read along of Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora, and what a wild, wonderful ride it as been!  Everyone give a warm welcome the newest member of our lunatic read along team, Lynn, from Lynn’s Book Blog, who provided our discussion starters today.  The last chunks of the book are pretty dense, and there is a lot to cover. Feel free to focus on as many or as few of these discussion starters as you like, or add in your own!

Due to massive quantities of spoilers, please don’t post anything until Saturday morning.  I know a lot of people are travelling this weekend, so if you aren’t able to post during the weekend, don’t worry about it, post something whenever you have a chance during the week.  Send out your links as you publish so everyone else can visit you.

A huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in this read along, it couldn’t have grown into the giant monster of the most incredible read along I have ever been a part of without you!

Here are Lynn’s questions/discussion starters:

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?

In some ways, it reminded me a bit of the relationship between Superman and Clark Kent.  Superman is what he can do, Clark Kent is who he really is.  Similar thing with Locke and the Thorn.  The Thorn is a persona of what Locke says he can do and he’s allowed the reputation to build and be embellished over the years, but in the end Locke is who he really is.   As for how he compares to the legend, I think he ends up falling short because no mortal could ever be everything that the Thorn’s reputation makes him out to be.  Locke can try and we see how the reputation does come back to bite him at several points in the story (or should I say the lengths Locke must go to in order to maintain the reputation.  Another pop culture reference could be Fonzie from Happy Days.  In an early episode, Fonzie is trying to teach Richie about being tough and points out that everything thinks the Fonz is tough even though we’ve never see Fonzie hit anyone.   Similar thing here.  Locke has built a reputation possibly based on a couple of previous deeds but it’s all about maintaining it).   Unlike the Fonz, Locke can’t maintain the air of coolness and toughness as the novel plays out and we end up finding out that the actual Locke is a pale imitation of what he’d like the Thorn to be.

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 – even 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?

Not really since it seems that Locke and Jean are equal opportunity bastards.

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??

Reading this, I had to wonder if Lynch is setting up some things for future installments in the series.  Again, it all goes back to world-building and since this feels like the start of a longer fantasy series, it only makes sense that there are pieces being put into play that we’ll have to wait for future installments to see how they play out.

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?

The early stages, I found the interludes all about world building and creating the universe for the novel and series.  As the story progressed, I have to admit I found them a bit more intrusive than I did in the early stages.  I was so caught up in the scheme unfolding and the peril to Locke and company that it was hard to step away and have the interlude for a couple of pages.   Honestly, I skimmed these on first reading and got back to the drama unfolding and then went back to the interludes and gave them fuller attention once I’d got the final page and found out how everything turned out.

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?

The Grey King is almost a mirror image of Locke, only without the guidance of Chains to shape him.   In many ways, you can see how the Grey King would believe he is the hero of the story.  Those kind of characters–the ones who are absolutely convinced that what they’re doing is right–make for the best adversaries or villains in a story.  And I like that Lynch gave us the motivation for the Grey King.  It doesn’t make him any less a bastard…but at least we can see that he’s got some very good reasons for being one.

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? 

Surprised?  Yes and no.   It does show some character growth to Locke from the first pages of the novel where he’s willing to let the rules apply to everyone but him.  Or he disregards them.   And it goes along with bits of the Thorne persona that Locke has created for himself.   In the end, I get the feeling that the Throne is who Locke wishes he could be in an ideal world.  And here was a chance to put that into practice, so he did it.

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?

I read this with a real world book group as well this month and one comment that a lot of us had was that there was an awful lot of cussin’ in the novel.  It was a bit more obvious in the first fifty to one hundred pages but once I got used to the voice and language Lynch was using to tell his story and create his universe, I will admit it didn’t seem quite as glaring as it did in the early pages.

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?

I plan to be back for the next round of read-along questions, yes.

You can check 0ut other responses HERE.


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The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along, Week Four

This week’s introduction is courtesy of Little Red Reviewer, who is hosting the read-along. She says it far better than I could.

It’s time again for The Lies of Locke Lamora Read-along.   This week’s questions are courtesy of Ashely over at SF Signal.

Make sure to tweet Ashley at @ohthatashley and let her know how much you are enjoying the readalong. If you never listened to the SF Signal podcast, I highly suggest it, they do some awesome stuff, including having our favorite dark fantasy author as a Sword & Sorcery discussion panel member.

In other Scott Lynch News, he’s got another super spiffy behind the scenes bonus on his Livejournal , and he recently did an interview on the Sword and Laserpodcast. Oh, it gets even better!  Next Wednesday evening, he’ll be doing the AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the Reddit Fantasy subreddit

1.      In the chapter “A Curious Tale for Countess Amberglass” we learn of the tradition of the night tea in Camorr. I found that not so much fantastical as realistic – how about you?

Looking back over this section, one line really jumped out at me.  It’s from Dona Vorchenza when she says, “Give advice at forty and you’re a nag. Give it at seventy and you’re a sage.”

But that’s not really answering the question, is it?  I find the night tea fits in with a lot of the rest of the novel.  Dark things happen at night.  Secrets are shared and traded.  And horrible things happen to certain characters.   So, it only makes sense that the tea would happen then as well.

2.      When Jean meets with what will become the Wicked Sisters for the first time, the meeting is described very much like how people feel when they find their true work or home. Agree? Disagree? Some of both?

Some of both.

3.      Salt devils. Bug. Jean. The description is intense. Do you find that description a help in visualizing the scene? Do you find yourself wishing the description was occasionally – well – a little less descriptive?

Again, Lynch has this masterful skill of giving us just enough details to let the imagination fill in the rest of the details.  Earlier in the novel, this was fun because it allowed us to visualize the world he was creating.  Here, it allows us to fill in details of the horrible fate meeting Bug and Jean.  It reminds me of Pyscho and the famous shower scene where Hitchcock achieves more by the rapid cuts and allowing the imagination to take over rather than by actually showing the details.  A lot of people will swear to you that they see details in that scene that just aren’t on the film.

4.      This section has so much action in it, it’s hard to find a place to pause. But…but.. oh, Locke. Oh, Jean. On their return to the House of Perelandro, their world is turned upside down. Did you see it coming?

Given the fate that Nazca met, I figured the only one safe to make it to the very end is Locke.  But I’m not even counting on him making it out of the book.  (Or at least I wasn’t.  I’ve finished so I know how…and here come the SPOILER police to stop me from ruining it for those of you who haven’t finished it yet)

5.      Tavrin Callas’s service to the House of Aza Guilla is recalled at an opportune moment, and may have something to do with saving a life or three. Do you believe Chains knew what he set in motion? Why or why not?

I don’t necessarily knew Chains knew specifically what he’d set in motion.  But I think he had an idea something like this would happen.

6.      As Locke and Jean prepare for Capa Raza, Dona Vorchenza’s remark that the Thorn of Camorr has never been violent – only greedy and resorting to trickery – comes to mind again. Will this pattern continue?

I think Locke is like an animal–if he’s pushed into a corner and the only way out is to fight, he’ll fight. But he seems like he’d far rather rely on his own ingenuity and planning to get out of a situation that resorting to brute force.

7.      Does Locke Lamora or the Thorn of Camorr enter Meraggio’s Countinghouse that day? Is there a difference?

In Locke’s mind, they’re still separate identities.  But in terms of the threads beginning to tighten around him and people figuring things out, that may not be the case much longer.


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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.


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The Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along, Week Two

Welcome to the second week of The Lies of Locke Lamora read-along.  This week’s host is Susan over at Dark Cargo.  Thanks for hosting this week!

This segment covers Chapter 3 through the end of the Interlude: The Boy Who Cried for a Corpse.

1) Do you think Locke can pull off his scheme of playing a Midnighter who is working with Don Salvara to capture the Thorn of Camorr? I mean, he is now playing two roles in this game – and thank goodness for that costume room the Gentlemen Bastards have!

When the Midnighter was first introduced, I thought something was up.  I have to admit Lynch pulled a nice surprise by having the person revealing Locke is a fraud to be Locke himself.  It almost makes me think that Locke may prove to be too clever for his own good.

I do think he can and will pull it off.   However, I do think we’ll find a hiccup along the way that Locke doesn’t expect to see coming.  And does anyone else think this situation is just begging for a make-up or wardrobe malfunction?

2) Are you digging the detail the author has put into the alcoholic drinks in this story?

A couple of summers ago, I read three quarters of the Long Price Quartet.  (I’ve got to get to book four.  It’s on my TBR shelf, ironically near where Lies was sitting!)

One detail included in that fantasy series was descriptions of the various dishes eaten by characters.  It really helped me connect to the series and the world-creation because, let’s face it, all of us eat and drink.   I find myself having a similar reaction to the drinks described in Locke.  They help the world-building aspect of the book without feeling like I am being overwhelmed with details.
3) Who is this mysterious lady Gentlemen Bastard Sabetha and what does she mean to Locke?

So far, she seems a lot like Maris on Frasier or Vera on Cheers.  I’m wondering if she’ll be spoken of in the book and a definite influence on things but never seen center stage as it were.

4) Are you as creeped out over the use of Wraithstone to create Gentled animals as I am?

In a word, yes.

5) I got a kick out of child Locke’s first meeting with Capa Barsavi and his daughter Nazca, which was shortly followed up in the story by Barsavi granting adult Locke permission to court his daughter! Where do you think that will lead? Can you see these two together?

It made me wonder how Nazca fits into the game Locke is playing.  What’s the benefit he gains my courting her?  He seems too focused on the game at hand to be distracted by romance.

I have a feeling this will not end well for her–and probably not just a broken heart.

Or could it be that she’s playing Locke as well?

6) Capa Barsavi is freaked out over rumors of The Gray King and, in fact, us readers are privy to a gruesome torture scene. The Gray King is knocking garristas off left and right. What do you think that means?

It seems like we’re getting some foreshadowing of things to come for Locke.  (I’m actually a bit ahead of where this week’s read along finishes off, so I’m trying to make sure I don’t include any SPOILERS….)

7) In the Interlude: The Boy Who Cried for a Corpse, we learn that Father Chains owes an alchemist a favor, and that favor is a fresh corpse. He sets the boys to figuring out how to provide one, and they can’t ‘create’ the corpse themselves. How did you like Locke’s solution to this conundrum?

So there are some rules to the game.  Or was it more Father Chains just making it harder for Locke?  It brings up the question of would Locke kill someone to get what he wanted and/or needed.

Locke’s solution is just a lower grade version of the con he’s pulling with Don Salvara–Locke appearing to be something he’s not to get what he wants.  In this case, it’s a dead body and there aren’t any elaborate disguises or plots within plots going on.  It’s almost like we see the big con and then in the flashback, we see how Locke built up from this smaller version to the larger version in play as the novel unfolds.

As for Locke’s use of the dead body not only to meet the requirements of Father Chains but also to make back a little money, it all seems to be in keeping with what we’ve established about Locke.  He only sees people and things in terms of how they can benefit him.


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Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along: Week One

ImageIt’s week one of the Lies of Locke Lamora read along, sponsored by The Little Red Reviewer.

1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far?  If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?

I’m reading Lies not only for the read along but also for the Obscure References SF/F book club.   It’s my first reading, though I tried to read it a couple of years ago when it first came out and it just didn’t quite grab my attention at the time.  This time around, I’m enjoying it a lot more and have found it a bit easier to get into it.

2. At last count, I found three time lines:  Locke as as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world? 

In many ways, it reminds me of Lost, which is one of my favorite TV shows of the past couple of years.  Since this appears to be a novel about the Gentlemen Bastards pulling cons, watching Locke at different ages and stages of being able to pull off these cons should be interesting.   I also think it will be interesting to see if and how the flashbacks inform each other–for example, will Locke learn from the mistakes he makes at a young age.  Or will he keep repeating them in new ways as the story progresses?

3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch’s world building? 

One of my barriers to enjoying epic fantasy is world building run amok.  I don’t mind an author creating a rich tapestry of world, but when we have to describe every leaf on ever tree, it gets a bit tedious.  Or every step of the epic journey.  (I blame you Tolkein!)  So far, Lynch has given us enough to build a world and make it interesting, but not so much that he’s over-describing or filling page after page with endless details that aren’t really necessary.   While the sequence of the ladies dancing with the sharks could be seen as padding, I like what it informs about the world and Lynch gives us enough details to help us see what’s going on in the mind’s eye but not so many that it’s become too much.

4. Father Chains and the death offering. . .  quite the code of honor for thieves, isn’t it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into?  

I’ll just say I think they’re called the Bastards for a reason.   I have a feeling Locke is going to grow up to be fairly selfish.

5. It’s been a while since I read this, and I’d forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer  set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what’s happening?

It can go either way.  I think it has to occur organically from within the story.  I

6. If you’ve already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.

I can’t honestly say that I have!


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