Saturday, March 31, 2012

Read-Along: The Lies of Locke Lamora, Part 4

This is the fourth post for my participation in a read-along of Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora, hosted by Dark Cargo, @ohthatashley at SF Signal, My Awful Reviews, and the Little Red Reviewer.  What this means is...

Read-Along posts discuss a specific portion ofThe Lies of Locke Lamora and are therefore full of spoilers!  I will do a usual review post once the book is complete.

Today's section is from Chapter 9 to "Orchids and Assassins".  A lot happened during this section that completely changed the nature of the story.  I can't wait to see how Lynch pulls everything together in the last 5th of the story!

1.            In the chapter “A Curious Tale for Countess 
Amberglass” we learn of the tradition of the night 
tea in Camorr. I found that not so much fantastical 
as realistic – how about you?

I think that the tradition makes a lot of sense. The nobles seem to be constantly worried about “losing face”, and it seems that keeping all your worries bottled up inside could get incredibly stressful.  I imagine less people would be coming for night tea, if they actually knew the truth about that kindly old lady.  Thinking she has ways to contact the Midnighters is one thing, the truth is a whole other barrel of fish. 

Also, I just read Redhead’s responses, and now realize this question might be referring to the quirkiness of having tea in the middle of the night.  That apparently seemed totally normal to me, because it didn’t even occur to me that it might be considered fantastical.

2.      When Jean meets with what will become the Wicked Sisters for
the first time, the meeting is described very much like how people
feel when they find their true work or home. Agree? Disagree? Some of

That’s never really happened to me, or anyone I know, so it’s hard to say.  I’ve always moved around a lot, so people who talk about “true” homes confuse me.  I feel like my true home is where my family lives.  They could move anywhere, and suddenly I’d have a new true home.  Work is more or less the same.  I love my work, most of the time.  High energy particle physics can be really exciting, but also really frustrating.  However, I don’t feel any deep visceral connection to my analysis code.  I may well just “not get it”, but I saw the encounter as the author defining Jean’s character class.

3.      Salt devils. Bug. Jean. The description is intense. Do you
find that description a help in visualizing the scene? Do you find
yourself wishing the description was occasionally – well – a little
less descriptive?

It definitely helped in visualizing the scene. There has been nothing so far that has made me wish for less detail.  There is a line of gory past which I can’t handle, but The Lies of Locke Lamora has not yet crossed it.  I felt very sorry for Locke, though.  For a while, it seemed that his only options were to drown in horse piss or be eaten by a giant spider.

4.      This section has so much action in it, it’s hard to find a
place to pause. But…but.. oh, Locke. Oh, Jean. On their return to the
House of Perelandro, their world is turned upside down. Did you see it

I can’t honestly say I saw this particular turn of events coming.  As most of us mentioned in the last set of questions, the death of Nazca made it clear that no one (except perhaps Locke) is immune from getting killed in this story.  I suspected Bug or the twins might die, but I did not expect both, and I did not expect it to happen exactly this way.  I was also surprised by Locke’s reaction.  I can’t say it wasn’t justice, but I think that was the first time Locke has deliberately killed someone. 

5.      Tavrin Callas’s service to the House of Aza Guilla is recalled
at an opportune moment, and may have something to do with saving a
life or three. Do you believe Chains knew what he set in motion? Why
or why not?

I don’t think he anticipated this exact turn of events, either.  In a general sense, I think he knew what he was setting in motion.  I believe that the whole point of learning the traditions of all twelve priesthoods was so that they could pass as a priest of any religion at need.  I think Jean and Locke are lucky that they had such an intelligent and thorough mentor.  On that note, Jean’s apprenticeship with the death goddess was incredibly creepy.  I fully support his timing in getting the hell out of that temple deathtrap.

6.      As Locke and Jean prepare for Capa Raza, Dona Vorchenza’s
remark that the Thorn of Camorr has never been violent – only greedy
and resorting to trickery – comes to mind again. Will this pattern

If one believes Locke, then it will not.  Locke is out for blood.  However, I don’t think he really has the temperament of a murderer.  I think he will probably kill the people who deserve it (like Capa Raza), but I highly doubt he will actually kill all of Capa Raza’s underlings.  I think trickery and cleverness will continue to be his main resource, but I don’t think he’ll shy away from violence as he has in the past. 

7.      Does Locke Lamora or the Thorn of Camorr enter Meraggio’s
Countinghouse that day? Is there a difference?

I think that was pure Locke Lamora.  The Thorn of Camorr plans his games    months in advance, and carefully weighs every possibility. Locke Lamora runs in with no planning and relies on charisma and quick-thinking.  Locke Lamora’s schemes also tend to end up with much more collateral damage (poor Benjavier!).

Other Notes:

On another note, I am a little disappointed with how the Grey King mystery was resolved.  His identity and goals were something of a let down. However, with the mysterious plague ship hanging around and all, I don’t think we have the full picture of his intentions yet.

Also, with all the deaths, I believe the only main characters remaining from the beginning of the book are Locke, Jean, and the Salvaras.  It’s a little hard to get worked up about major characters that are only now entering the story (Capa Raza, Dona Vorchenza, etc.).

Lastly, Locke’s Salvara game is stressing me out!  He and Jean are so desperate, and they’re going to such lengths to kick the game back into motion.  But it’s a trap!  I am wondering at this point if Locke will get caught, and then end up helping the nobles against Capa Raza.


  1. Never thought about the element of having tea at night - good point which I also completely overlooked!
    You have to hand it to Lynch - he's putting us through it - and stressing us out too!
    Lynn :D

  2. "For a while, it seemed that his only options were to drown in horse piss or be eaten by a giant spider."

    This. You know the phrase 'a rock and a hard place'? I'm replacing that phrase with this. Stuck between horse piss and giant spiders. The ultimate conundrum.

  3. The Salvara Game - how the hell is that going to turn out? I can't see it going according to the loose and fast revised plan.

  4. @Lynn I'm glad I wasn't the only one :). The whole night tea sounded like a lot of fun, anyway. Hanging out on an Elderglass tower with a view of the city...

    @Rose Haha, that's great! I wonder how strangely our friends would look at us if we use that phrase. "I feel like I'm stuck between horse piss and giant spiders..."

    @nrlymrtl Yeah, I can't see that going well either. There are too many cracks in the plan that Locke doesn't even know about.

  5. @ Allie: Like you, I didn't notice anything strange about the idea of drinking tea at night: tea is not just for the afternoon! :)

    @ Rose: Yet another great phrase courtesy of Mr Lynch! :D

  6. we're all coming up with completely different answers, and we're all interpreting the questions completely differently as well. . . I love it!

    and i totally want to eat that cake from the Midnight Tea.

    I vaguely recall there being more to the Capa Raza story, but for the life of me I can't remember what it is. oh wait, i can. . . but if I told you, I'd spoil the surprise!

    from the moment Locke enters the Echo Hole to the moment they leave the glass cellar for the last time, I am biting my nails and forgetting to breathe that entire time. And I've read this like 10 times! and still!

  7. @Sue CCCP: Exactly! Night owls, unite :).

    @Redhead: That cake sounded delicious. Thanks for not spoiling the surprise :), I am looking forward to the point where all will be revealed. This was definitely a very intense section. I hope Jean doesn't die in the last 100 pages!