One of those very popular titles that tend to show up in the "Best Fantasy Books" lists (here
is one list I rely on). This could be the book that brings me back to reading more fantasy novels (as I tend to have a preference for sci-fi). The Lies of Locke Lamora
hits the ground running from the lengthy prologue which is reminiscent of Dickens’ Oliver Twist where magic is very common. As I grew older and more cynical such “high fantasy” begin to seem rather childish to me and I find that I much prefer science fiction where the fantastical element tend to be backed by actual science and more believable. Wizards conjuring chairs and things out of thin air, turning people into frogs etc. just get my cynical eyes rolling. With The Lies of Locke Lamora
by the time magic shows up it seems to be very discreetly used, and besides, I was already deeply immersed in the story and quite happy to suspend my disbelief. I also like the mysterious references to a disappeared ancient race called “the Eldren” which remind me of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and even [b:Stephen Baxter|11623108|3 Stephen Baxter Titles; Exulatant, Manifold Time, the Time Ships|Stephen Baxter|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/book/50x75-673c574e721a5d4c3fd6e25b74d42bf2.png|16566292]’s Xeelee absentee aliens.
The prose is very readable and often humorous, the main characters are very well drawn and dialogue is sharp. However, I have one minor quibble about the writing, I find that most of the characters tend to sound the same when they talk. Practically everybody seems to be ready with sardonic or witty repartees of a similar style, even the uneducated characters seem to be similarly articulate. It is not a major problem and the frequent banters are quite entertaining, I just wish that the characters' voices are more distinguishable.
Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the plot twist and turns and I had no idea how things will eventually turn out except that Locke Lamora will survive as this is a multi-volumes series bearing his name. Over all I had an excellent time reading this book and my aforementioned minor quibble does not amount to anything. I am definitely on board for more of this Gentleman Bastard series