The Lies of Locke Lamora Group Read Part 3

Gentleman Bastards Read-along: Lies of Locke Lamora

Welcome to the third installment of The Lies of Locke Lamora group read. This week, Wendy at The BiblioSanctum has provided the questions. Spoilers for the end of Part 2 and all of Part 3 follow beneath the cut.

This week was intense! I’m rereading the book so I knew a lot of what was going to happen beforehand, but I still feel those character deaths.

Before everything got so serious, I really loved that scene where Locke and Jean interrupt someone else going down the trellis and end up taking an entirely unplanned route. The punch that was “for Locke Lamora” was also a moment of humor in an otherwise very dark scene.

Camorr is clearly a man’s world. One of the three female characters who could hold any sway was cruelly fridged, while another remains notably absent. Will Sabetha will swing in to save or seize the day? What are your thoughts on Donã Vorchenza’s role?

As I’ve read this before, I’m not going to answer the Sabetha question. As for Donã Vorchenza… I absolutely adore her. If this book is ever made into a movie, I’d want to see her played by Maggie Smith. I really love that the feared spymaster is an elderly woman! And she’s now onto Locke’s game! Kudos for Donã Sofia for being smart enough to go to her.

Apprenticeships, fighting, farming–the Gentlemen Bastards have undergone some significant training (save for physiking!) and testing. What do you think of Chains’ teaching methods. Do you think he adequately prepared them for their future in Camorr?

I doubt that Chains anticipated the Grey King situation, but I think he did a very reasonable job of preparing them. If the Gentlemen Bastards have one great flaw, it’s that they don’t know when to give up and run. We’ve seen the results of that this week. Interestingly, I feel like this was foreshadowed by Chains when he was warning Locke on killing with carelessness. Of course, I think the entire situation was touched upon at the beginning of the book:

““Someday, Locke Lamora,” he said, “someday, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.””

Related to the training, I didn’t think the sections on Jean becoming an initiate of the Death Goddess were wholly necessary. We’ve already had sections on how deadly Jean can be, so I feel like this section just took away from the pacing (although I loved that note he left).

I think over extensive flashbacks is a problem The Lies of Locke Lamora has more generally. I don’t mind so much this time since I already know what will happen, but I remember it being really aggravating the first read through.

Pour out a forty for those lost. Share your thoughts on the passing of the Bastards and Barsavis.

As I’ve said previously, I knew it was going to happen. I kept trying to brace myself for the character deaths throughout the book, especially Bug and Nazca. Between the Bastards and the Barsavis, what percentage of the core cast will make it out alive?

Everything in this book has been a series of long cons. Do you think taking the Capa’s throne is the end game for the Grey King? Or is there still more in store?

I know too much to answer this question. I will say that I’d completely forgotten that the Grey King was the brother of the Berangias sisters.

Here’s my question for everyone reading this – what do you think will happen with the plague ship that appeared? I feel like it has to play in somehow (or else why bother with it?), but it’s another thing that’s completely slipped my mind.


14 Comments Add yours

  1. imyril says:

    I love that we both went straight for that quote. It’s absolutely the heart of it, really: for once, Locke isn’t the smartest man in the city, and it has consequences.

    I’m with you on the flashbacks. They’ve worked for me the last two weeks, adding history and nuance to the present day – but this week some of them really got in the way of pacing. I didn’t mind the brief Don Maranzalla flashback or the Half-Crowns, but the interlude about the Camorri attitude to revenge – while apt – took the wind out of my sails, and the Aza Guilla training even more so. Even the plague ship (not a flashback, I know) felt like a distraction, although I know it has a place in what’s to come (I, err, can’t really say more than that without colossally huge spoilers – suffice to say it’s about to become a key playing piece for all parties even though nobody is really sure what it’s doing).

    But I got really caught up in the drama of the Bastards vs the Grey King. It breaks my heart every time.

    1. Locke’s pretty arrogant about his capabilities, and I think that’s what turns into his tragic flaw. The quote’s a good illustration of it, so it’s not that surprising we both jumped on it.

      The plague ship felt slow to me as well. I think there was too many pages between Locke getting thrown out in a barrel and the narrative returning to show what happened to him.

    2. Wendy B says:

      Good point about the plague ship! I’ve been so caught up in my despair over the twins and Bug and my squee over the Spider (I love that not only is she a woman, but that she’s an elderly woman… I want a book on her!) that I forgot all about it!

      It’s interesting reading your (non)responses because you’ve read it before. Others have read the book before but still seem to be surprised by things or are seeing things from new angles, or have forgotten this and that. How long ago did you read it? Is it still fresh in your mind?

      1. I read it at some point in high school, but I can’t remember what year exactly. I remember reading it on the bus during what must have been either sophomore or junior year, so… two to three years ago? I remember a lot of what happens, but some things did slip my mind – for instance I completely forgot that the Capa tried to get Locke to marry Nazca, although I did remember her eventual fate.

        I’m hoping that the Spider will be a series fixture and will reappear at some point in the future.

      2. imyril says:

        I last read it about 3 years ago (in the run up to Republic of Thieves coming out), but I have read it at least 3 times before, maybe 4. So while some of the finer details are gone, I’ve got a pretty good handle on most of the plot points.

        There’s still room for new grace notes – I can really sit back and soak up some of the finer details because I’m not agog at the plot (I get terribly distracted by plot over nuance with a book like this on first reading!)

      3. On first reads I tend to focus on the plot. Themes, character arcs, and general nuance are what I tend to glean from rereads.

      4. Wendy B says:

        I don’t often have time for rereads these days, but there are several books I wish I could read again. I did truly enjoy rereading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms because everything changes once you realize the perspective the book is actually being told from.

      5. Most of my rereads these days have been because a new book in a series is about to be released. Most of the time I’m focused on the newer books making up the TBR pile.

      6. Wendy B says:

        I am trying my best to focus on what’s already in my pile rather than adding new stuff… so hard… books are sooooo yummy…

  2. nrlymrtl says:

    Oh! Maggie Smith would be perfect for Dona Vorchenza. I can only hope that one day this series will be turned into an epic TV series.

    Not to be argumentative, but I really enjoy the flashbacks. When I first read it, I didn’t see the purpose of each flashback right away, but in subsequent readings I feel they all add to the Don Salvara/Grey King plot line quite nicely.

    I remember what happens with the plague ship, so I won’t say anything much about it. I do find it very cool that the Camorr harbor has a whole set out way of dealing with plague ships. And apparently it is well known as the ship came in with the right color lights to notify the harbor patrol from afar.

    1. I’d agree that the flashbacks are better on a second read through. Not only to you have some idea of how that particular scene will be significant, you’re also not as rushed to go find out what happened. I still think they should be cut down some to help with pacing though.

      The plague ship chapter as well as the beginning sections with the quarantines suggest that Camorr is very familiar with disease. The ways that they’ve developed to handle it are definitely interesting.

    2. Wendy B says:

      Perhaps if the Jean flashbacks had come earlier, they would have fit better since Jean would then be growing up along with Locke. I loved Locke’s flashbacks, but Jean’s did feel a bit disruptive when they started coming in later, though I appreciate that they helped shape the relationship between the two and heightened my fear when they returned to their home and Jean was attacked.

  3. I agree with Susan (nrlymrtl) about the flashbacks – they may not all seem obviously in keeping with the book’s themes or miirror the Grey King plot, but they do tell us things about those characters. And in terms of pacing, I found they helped me to take a metaphorical breath between one Dramatic Thing and the next, which I often find I need if I’m going to be able to keep going with a book that’s as epic as this one is.

    As for the plague ship, I suspect I recall (vaguely) what’s going on there, but I’m going to keep my mouth shut and find out if I’m right. 😀

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