Book review: The Lies of Locke Lamora

This has been, in a way, a long-awaited read for me. One of the Goodreads group I am part of scheduled it as a re-read for late 2018 and, seeing how highly rated it is, I decided to join.

Not the best idea, in retrospective.

After several pleasant surprises coming from reading unknown self-published books, I’ve ventured into the blockbuster waters once again. This book has almost 170k ratings with the average of 4,3 so I thought it should be a good ride.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The book is really slow to begin, to the point the first third is an awful slog and it only starts slowly getting better around the half. I still wonder where I got the patience to go on when there was barely any sign of real action and I was instead being chucked from one timeline to another, back-and-forth between Locke’s beginning and his masterpiece plot that was comprised of double-layered lies and an array of costumes the Hollywood could be jealous of – all described in so much detail it dragged the story on even more.

So, around 50%, the self-proclaimed Grey King arrives and shakes things up. The bad part? After the first 350 pages of very slow story, I found myself unable to start caring much for the characters, not even when blood started to flow and it seemed there would be some long-awaited action. I admit that the ending was good but at that point the damage was already done, beyond repair for me.

The reading got better at that point but still kept its problems – flashbacks and overly detailed descriptions that did nothing else for me than distract from the main plot.

I’ve ranted about this narrative style when I was reading Blood Song and The Wolf of the North, and this book probably made it even worse as I struggled to find depth in those shifts or the scenes they depicted, with two or three exceptions that were short scenes later that could’ve been flashbacks in a chronological narrative without issue.

My last issue was Sabetha, who was mentioned as someone really important for Locke only to never make an appearance to the point I dubbed her a Schrödinger’s cat as we don’t even know if she’s dead or alive. Wasted chance, probably, for some depth to the hoarding, cursing kleptomaniac Locke is.

  • Read date: 16.11. – 18.12.2018
  • Publication date: 27.6.2006
  • Goodreads / Amazon rating: 4,3 / 4,4
  • My rating: 35% (see details below)
  • Length: 752 pages

Considering how this book played out, I rated it this way: First 350 pages 10%, P350-P500 40%, P500-P600 60%, P600-P750 80%. Calculating the average based on this got me to 36,6%.

In conclusion, I’ll probably stay away from the other hyped-up books compared to this (or books this is compared to) as this was complete miss regarding my tastes.

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