JM Williams

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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.


8 Responses to The Lies of Locke Lamora — Initial Impressions

  1. It’s so interesting how different we all are. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have read the whole series to date. The wit definitely appealed to me, and I enjoyed Locke’s friendship with Jean quite a bit. I agree that the exposition at the beginning is a little heavy, but I like world-building, and Lynch creates a fully-realized fantasy world. I hope it gets better for you. Happy Reading. 🙂

    • JM Williams

      I’m glad you liked it. I’ll take that as a sign that I might, too. I like world building, just not when it is shoved in my face like in the introduction. And I love a good friendship, so you’ve given me something to look forward too. Thanks! 😀

      • I liked the second book a lot too. The humor and friendship between Locke and Jean really shine. The third book was a disappointment, I thought, compared to the first too. Enjoy.

  2. A LOT of world building detail is present that doesn’t seem to affect this plot and this story, but might be useful later on. Or might not. I just finished this book, and am uncertain if I’ll read more. I’ll think on it a while.

    • JM Williams

      One of the things that threw me off in thr first section was the quirky dating system. I didn’t know why I needed to know the dates or years other than he was five years old at this time and that time came a year later etc. It struck me as being too flashy.

  3. I’ve reviewed this one also. I’m more tolerant of infodumping than most people, but this one’s infodumps were a bit too grimdark for me. I didn’t think the jumping back and forth in time was done well, and had a couple other issues which I won’t mention since you haven’t finished the book.

    • JM Williams

      What do you mean by grimdark infodumping? Does grimdark has a certain common style in that regard?

      • No, sorry. I just meant that the information that got infodumped might have been dark. I can’t remember what was and wasn’t infodumped, as it’s been a while since I read this, but I remember that the opening chapters of the book had children being sold into sex slavery, child thieves being hanged, etc.

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