The Lies of Locke Lamora — Initial Impressions
So I’ve finally started digging into some modern fantasy. All cards on the table, though, this came only after I gave up on “A Princess of Mars”, which is supposed to be science fiction, but really isn’t. I would probably count that book as fantasy as well, but it’s far from modern.
“The Lies of Locke Lamora” has come up in many lists on many blogs and fantasy sites. In fact, I’ve had it on my phone, waiting to be heard, for some time. That time came yesterday, when I was on a long drive and in need of a book, after the previously mentioned deadlock with Burroughs.
So far the book is proving to be a mixed bag. I noticed several problems from the start, most significantly the sheer overload of exposition and info-dumping. Ever new scene, it seems, starts with an info dump. Maybe things have changed in the last decade, but I’ve always felt, from my learning and experience, that scenes should start with action and that world-building should be done, as much as possible, with action and dialogue rather than exposition. It seems Lynch didn’t get that memo. There’s simply too much world-building in the opening pages, rather than character and action, you know, the stuff that draws a reader (or in this case listener) in emotionally. It also gets to the point where it seems the author is gloating about how fine a world he has crafted, rather than telling us the story. Much of it seems unnecessary at the time of delivery.
The book also doesn’t do a great job of distancing itself from common tropes, particularly the child-thieves (or thieves in general) concept, or from its generic (if well-designed) fantasy setting. I imagine that is going to come later with the plot and the character.
I wonder if being a writer myself has made me too critical of storytelling in many forms, not just fiction but also film.
It is those two things, plot and character, that have managed to secure my interest thus far. I found the humorous backstory of Locke’s exploits as a new thief to be highly entertaining, enough to want to see where his character goes.
So, I’m going to keep listening to this one, for a while at least. I’ll let you know how it goes.