In which a charming thief and his friends attempt to outsmart members of the privileged class and new enemies in a magical and perilous city.
This is by far the best book I have read in a very long time. I loved it! It's an incredibly well paced adventure where the protagonists are just barely staying ahead (mostly) of some really bad guys. There are secrets and mysteries that gradually unfold in pleasing ways, tragedy, comedy and tons of action. The characters, particularly Locke Lamora are very likable and nuanced. It was such a fantastic read, everything a great fantasy book should be.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is set in a harsh fantasy city where past inhabitants have left mysterious structures, and subtle magic pervades. It's an interesting setting with lots of culture and iniquity. Reading about Locke and his friends navigating it and seeing the setting gradually exposed is super cool.
The Lies of Locke Lamora alternates between the present-time adventures of Locke and bits from his childhood or various explanations of the setting. Usually when books are structured like this I am significantly less interested in one time period, but such was not the case here. I didn't mind being taken away from the action for a short chapter from Locke's childhood because those were really cool too!
I think the type of plot where protagonists are too stubborn to give up and keep fighting for barely more than survival against crazy odds works really well for me. Locke Lamora is such a story, similar to something Matthew Woodring Stover would do, maybe. An interesting twist on this plot was how Locke Lamora wasn't actually much of a fighter. His style/skills were planning and thinking of ways to minimize the actual fighting. Not that there wasn't fighting in this book. There was fighting. And some pretty legit violence/torture scenes as well. Sort of disturbing, but it just helps make Locke's story totally compelling.
If you like action type fantasy and don't mind some disturbing bits, I would highly recommend Lies of Locke Lamora. OK, that's a lie. I would pretty much recommend this book to any adult vaguely interested in the fantasy genre. It's unbelievably awesome. I did not want to put this book down, or end it. It's a self-contained story, but apparently has one sequel out and many more on the way next spring. The last thing I wanted to do was start another new fantasy series that's still being written, but I am also really happy there is more of this story!