The Lies of Locke Zamora and a Few Thoughts on Teen Wolf

Before I get started, I have a couple of thoughts about the upcoming season of Teen Wolf. According to MTV, who should know since they are Teen Wolf's network, this will be the final season. Why? It's hugely popular and lots of fun, so why get rid of it? Is it because the actors are too old to make convincing teens? Or did the creators just run out of interesting mythologies? Jeff Davis has done a terrific job incorporating gods and monsters from a variety of cultures. This time around our stalwart heroes and heroines will be interacting with the Wild Hunt, a terrifying phenomena no one in their right mind would want to tangle with. There will be a twist on the legend, with those who get caught up with/by the Wild Hunt vanishing from the memories of those around them. There is a terrific scene in the trailer where Stiles discovers his own father has forgotten him. This idea of losing our most basic identity is an old one that has lost none of its horror. You can watch the trailer for season six here:

The Lies of Locke Zamora

My arm, which I originally injured reading House of Leaves, will never heal at this rate, as I keep reading enormous books which are part of a series. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch clocks in at a little over 700 pages in the hardback edition and was a strain on my ridiculously flimsy arm. (One of the many drawbacks of lupus is joints and such are extremely prone to injury.) I was going to pace myself on the book, putting it down when my arms started to hurt, but it was too interesting and I ended up with an ice bag and an ace bandage helping my arm prop up the book.

The first in the Gentleman Bastard series, The Lies of Locke Lamora introduce us to an intricate, complex world and a set of rapscallions who call themselves the Gentleman Bastards. They are thieves, but they are more than that as they are also terrific con men, with a gigantic wardrobe, expert hair and makeup, and a variety of accents to back up the characters they create. The big con at the heart of this novel involves the pretend rescue of all of a particularly good type of brandy (no hangovers because alchemy), which is supposedly at risk because of impeding war.

But while Locke and his compatriots are setting up this scam they are also being drawn into the web of a mad killer called the Gray King. And his plans for them are dangerous and difficult. But Locke can't exactly say no because there is a tremendous threat hanging over everyone's heads.

Intercut with interludes that tell the story of Locke's childhood and growth as a thief, the novel is a delight. There are so many loose ends that are constantly trying to trip the characters up, but Mr. Lynch juggles them with seeming ease, creating an exciting and suspenseful story.

Almost as interesting as the story is the detailed world the author has drawn. The story is set in a port town, in a planet with three moons. While not science fiction, there are sci fi elements, with the characters existing in a soaring glass city left behind by unknown previous occupants. The people live in a society with technology I would date to our 1500s or so, so not terribly advanced by our current standards, but they do have artifacts left behind with useful attributes. They also have a kind of magic, which I found disappointing. While there is nothing wrong with having magic in a story, it can be a bit of a cheat, especially if it seems effortless and really changes the balance of power. I'll have to see if I feel any better about it in book two and three, both of which are sitting on my desk waiting for me to read. There are supposed to be a total of seven that will be written in the series, which is a pretty good number. Enough to get really into the world but not so many that the author runs out of things to say.

I do have one caveat to my recommendation; there is quite a bit of torture the characters go through. I found myself cringing through several scenes. So if you have a very weak stomach and a very strong imagination you might need to skip this one.

You can read an excerpt here: http://www.scottlynch.us/excerpts.html

(Purchasing anything via these links will net us a commission from Amazon, which helps keep the site up and running.)

Bonus Treat:

This week's bonus treat is the Walking Dead; Puppy Edition. These husky pups just keep coming. And coming. And coming.