Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Review

Okay, so I finally finished this wee beastie of a novel. Wow. Just wow. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies. The world, plot and characters were all intricate and involving. The most frustrating things were the flashbacks & commercial breaks to drop in history and backstory. Don't get me wrong. All the backstory served a purpose, even the ones that in the beginning I thought were totally pointless. Could the same info have been conveyed in a different, simpler manner? Sure. Coulda. But then you wouldn't have this thoroughly actualized epic.

I would imagine that there are masses of unpublished writers out there engaging in tons of sour grapes after reading this tome. Let much gnashing of teeth ensue. How come he gets to load the story down with all that backstory? Why'd they let him use cliches? His novel was waaaaay more than 120,000 words, and everyone knows that first time writers shouldn't do that. I'll tell you why. Because his story, and the style, and the tone are all the exception to the rule. This story is what you get when it's done well. Most of the time, that doesn't happen. Someone writes a hideously boring 160,000 words that's all a dream sequence or something else equally appalling. No agent or editor wants to wade through that, so they give us these rules to help them weed the incompetant ones out. But if you're good enough, and the story is good enough, you can get away with all kinds of stuff that the rest of us can't.

If you're looking for an intricate, detailed epic fantasy (that doesn't involve elves or dragons) complete with the complex world's entire history, pick this book up and prepare to be enthralled. You'll be transported.

If however, you like simple and light (and for, aghem, none of the good guys to die), don't frustrate yourself here. This book won't be for everyone (not like any book is), but those who like this kind of thing will delight in its reading.

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