The Lies of Locke Lamora: It's average at best.
It took me a good six months to finish this book and I feel the need to vent. The Lies Of Locke Lamora
is set in a fantastic version of Venice called Camorr; a city full to the brim with crooks, creeps and crazy people. Our heroes include a con artist called Locke, his best friend Jean, and their crew, "The Gentleman Bastards".
The story is pretty simple: The Bastards are undertaking a con where they happen across a larger conspiracy which threatens to destroy their home. What follows is a load of double-crossing, mouth-shooting, blood-and-guts fun. However, there were a number of flaws that buggered my enjoyment and discouraged me from reading the next book:
It's too long. What we have is a thriller that's bogged down in so much detail act that it feels like watching a whole movie in slow-motion. The first three paragraphs of every chapter describe either the masonry or the customs of Camorr. There are amusing anecdotes here and there but they all say the same thing - that Camorr is full of crooks, creeps and crazy people and this fact is hammered again and again. This is a 300 page story stretched to 500. It's as if Harry Dresden were written by Robert Jordan. There are clever parts but they're all buried under countless descriptions of bloody Elderglass.
The Characters. Despite the length of this book, the characters seem thinly drawn. Locke is a con artist with a heart while Jean is his sidekick and blood brother. These two aren't deep or anything but they all right as main characters. The story is inter-cut with flashbacks of the two growing up in the trade but these are pretty much for the sake of more world-building. They don't shed anything new, only establishing what we already know. Everyone else is pretty much forgettable. When the author starts giving them the boot I was neither shocked nor saddened.
Finally, the last act. As the book goes on the author sets up more and more stakes, and I wondered how our heroes could overcome these difficulties. I was to be disappointed. In one long scene before the climax, everything
is tied up in a manner so easily that when the final battle comes, it's a damp squib because there's nothing at stake. Imagine if John McClane in Die Hard
resolved the situation peacefully, and then fought Hans Gruber over a parking space.
In total, I enjoyed this book but I can't recommend it.