Posted on November 17, 2008 by Flames
The one word that comes to mind when I talk about this novel is Revenge. It was with a capital R since it was such a strong part of this read. Almost every plot line could be brought back to this one basic principal. You mess with me or mine and you will pay. It may be tomorrow or even 20 years from now…but it will happen.
Locke is a fun character. I have to admit I love the smart ass characters that even in the face of danger, are still talking a serious amount of trash. It isn’t the smartest plan to say the least, but I do understand it being a smartass myself. But beyond that he is really a well written character. He is in charge of a group of thieves that he has known since he was a child called the Gentlemen Bastards. They run around the city scamming the nobles out of money on well thought out plans that take advantage of their weaknesses. Their allegiance was their Capa (a gangster like boss).
All was well until the Gray King came into the city and began to murder associates of the Capa. Locke and his band get caught up in this and also are trying to rob a noble out of A LOT of money with a con. Both things would normally take a singular purpose, but Locke’s arrogance gets them in over their head.
I don’t want to ruin the book for those who have not read it so I will stop there with specifics. But back to the general principal of the book…Revenge. Locke loses people close to him because he thought he could handle a situation that was beyond his control. It was interesting to see how he reacted to losing those close to him. The best thing about Locke was that he was not perfect in any way. He was a flawed character that had to deal with a situation that unraveled before his eyes.
This is a very good first novel for Scott Lynch. It was a very gritty and brutal book that most of the time is not shown in fantasy novels. That fact alone is interesting considering how much death usually happens in this genre. Most authors do not really delve too much into it. Lynch shows a scene where they actually torture someone to get info out of him. It never went TOO far, but it went farther than most fantasy novels are willing to go. It was done well and as I mentioned, it never really crossed the line into overly brutal.
The other characters we well written too. Jean, the twins, Chains, the Gray King. That is the thing that will usually make a break a book with me. I love good characterization and it was done here. The plot itself was pretty well done as well. People will go along way to take revenge on someone and that was handled very well.
Overall, it was truly a masterful novel and I hope to read the second one soon. Especially since it is out in paperback now.
Review by Stacey Chancellor