An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. Born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora dodges both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains, neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected family of orphans “Gentlemen Bastards.”
I don’t really know what to think of this book. I did enjoy it, but I also nearly gave up on like 3 different occasions. It was quite hard-going yet compelling at the same time. Don’t ask me how that works, but it just does. And at over 700 pages it’s not the quickest of reads.
I’ve read a few reviews that liken TLOLL to Ocean’s Eleven and The Godfather – two films I have never seen so I don’t know about that but I did make some of my own comparisons. It reminded me more of a cross between Oliver, Robin Hood and Spartacus(Blood and Sand) for all of the obvious orphans, thievery and Capas/crime bosses references.
The world Lynch has created is truly unique and really it is a unique experience to read too with all of the crazy tangents and flashbacks. I loved the whole Venice Renaissance feel it had and the place names and descriptions were perfect in creating an off-kilter reality. It is in the realm of fantasy but there is nothing too outlandish making it still normal enough to feel real.
The Gentleman Bastards themselves are witty and intriguing but I didn’t really warm to them all that much which made it hard for me to root for them. When Locke gets thrown into the sea in a cask of horse piss I thought it was hilarious, but I didn’t really care if he survived or not.
TLOLL is a witty, action-and-violence-packed swashbuckling adventure for adults that is written with remarkable detail and imagination, I just wish that I could have found it an easier read. It’s definitely worth a try though, especially if you enjoy crudeness, violence and inventive swearing!
3 unicorns out of 5 unicorns! 🙂
This copy is published by Gollancz, 2011.