The original plan was to review Love’s Labour Lost on Netflix today but I came down with a case of the I don’t want want to do thats. I love Shakespeare but I don’t really feel like watching an adaptation of a play that I’ve never been super thrilled with. He’s written better. I could be shortchanging myself here but there’s no buzz and there’s been a lot of mediocre Shakespeare adaptions out there. Some of them are just awful movies. Instead, I’ll do something that I almost never do. I’ll write a brief book review. I rarely write book reviews because, unlike movies, I really don’t want to spoil a good book which is an intensely personal journey. Still, there’s so many books that I would recommend.
I first came in contact with this book because a friend of mine handed to me. There have been dozens of books that I heartily enjoyed after a friend or family member handed it to me. In fact, I might not have been as into fantasy if a relative hadn’t given me a bag full of every book in the Belgariad and the Malloreon when I was pretty young. This book was handed to me on a trip to Virginia in my late twenties. I could barely put it down once I gave it a try.
The Lies of Locke Lamora was pitched to me as “Oceans 11 in the Middle Ages” which is pretty accurate, at least for the first book in the series. The main character worships a secret 13th god in the pantheon that watches over liars and thieves. So the book’s heroes are con men who are involved in heists and elaborate long cons. If you’re a fan of shows like Leverage or movies like the Italian Job where the protagonists are crooks with a heart of gold then you will probably enjoy this book.
The beginning of the book kind of felt a little like Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book. I love the back story but I’m a fan of the hard luck kid who makes good because he’s just smarter and more skilled than the people putting him down. Locke is a great character because he makes the kind of choices you’d expect a real person to make. Beyond that, practically every single character feels pretty rich and rounded and people you can definitely picture in your head. Jean Tannen especially sounds like a guy I would love to hang out with.
What I was most impressed with is the author’s world building skills. There’s nothing I love better than a well-crafted world. Just look at the Belgariad, the Dresden Files and Lord of the Rings for some prime examples of this. I love where I can imagine the geography and the culture of a foreign world and I do mean foreign here. Almost nothing really operates like the politics of our world although it seems to take place on an Earth-like world (give or take a few moons and suns).
This was a story that I was invested in as early as a few pages in and I only became more and more interested. I actually wanted to go to bed earlier so that I could read this good book. I went on to read the second book Red Seas Under Red Skies which was just as good if not better. It’s hard to tell since I enjoy the world-building and meeting new characters so much. I have the same problem determining my favorite Dresden Files book since I’ve loved every single one so much. I am currently reading the third book in the series, The Republic of Thieves, and I tell you it’s awesome too so far. I especially like how it goes back into the character’s back story again and fleshes it out even more.
So go out and find this book or any of the other books I mentioned or get them in the digital format you prefer.
(PS. The title has three Ls in it. That’s extra points, right? Oh right there’s no points.)