Tag Archives: Literature

The Lies of Locke Lamora

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Sometimes you read a good book and your brain goes ‘Mmmmmm’.

Sometimes you read a brilliant book, have a brain orgasm and you immediately shove the book in all of your friends faces.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with these sensations. The Lies of Locke Lamora, for me, was the latter. Written by Scott Lynch, this story is definitely a page turner. Lynch has brought us into a formidable alternate world filled with Alchemy and mystery and further into a city that’s rife with revenge, secrets and thievery.

Isn't it PRETTY?

Isn’t it PRETTY?

The story is true to the title in that it follows the Life and Lies of one Locke Lamora. Also known by reputation as the Thorn of Camorr, a local urban legend that portrays a dastardly thief, who is a ‘friend to the poor’ as well as ‘a ghost who can walk through walls’. And of course, Locke Lamora is neither. Nevertheless,  trained as a very eager young thief and a ‘graduate’ of sorts in the art of ‘false facing’ and deception Lamora and his partners in crime (the very aptly named Gentlemen Bastards) are exceptionally good at what they do; even if their methods don’t really suit the laws and taboos that exist between the nobility and the treacherous underworld of the ancient City of Camorr.

The City of Camorr is up there on my list of fantastical places that I kind of wish was real. In the descriptions, the city is made out to resemble our own worlds Venice in Italy. An ideal location for this particular story with dozens of waterways slinking through labyrinths of stone and magnificent towers of a very alien material called Elderglass. Which really sounds quite beautiful. The culture and history of the city was something I also loved reading about. You get a very good insight to this in specific ‘Interludes’ in the story that are dedicated to the past learning experiences of Locke and his Gentlemen Bastards. The band go through rigorous training in just about everything; from immersing themselves in the various religious orders of Camorr to high society cooking and etiquette (which reads DELICIOUSLY).

And so it is in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the City of Camorr, mainly in the darkened dank areas where there are lots of unappealing types, our anti-heroes find themselves caught up in a clandestine war. A war that has the utmost decency to reveal itself in the middle of one of the biggest scams the Gentlemen Bastards have ever pulled. Drat! And so, the boys are in the hot seat and chaos ensues that triggers a lot of unpleasant situations and a lot of quick thinking on Locke’s part. I do believe a very prominent figure in Popular Culture has a quote that sums up this book in a very accurate and original way:

“Secrets and lies…IT’S ALWAYS SECRETS AND LIES!” – Homer J. Simpson

If Scott Lynch’s brain had some kind of biological window/thing that projected images, I would very much like to peer into it and see his vision of this amazing and intricate world he’s created. Especially the City of Camorr, with its unearthly Elderglass Towers and colourful characters…and of course the Austershalin Brandy… in fact, all the liqour in Camorr sounds awesome. I’ll take several crates of everything if it’s ever invented. Which is highly unlikely as most of it is made through a mystical art of alchemy with things that only exist in a fantasy world. DAMN YOU SCOTT LYNCH.

Ahem.

In conclusion, this book is awesome and you (YES YOU) should read it as it will benefit your eyes and cure any boredom related disease that you have.

Now, that concludes this bloggish fangirl rant. If you’ll excuse me, I must go sell my possessions so I can buy the sequel; Red Seas Under Red Skies… toodles!

Peace Out.

The Left Hand of Paul Hoffman

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Greetings Unicornlings,

Yes, I’m late.

I was in Limerick.                                              

There was lots of Irish Music.

So, with this in mind, today is all about BOOKS.

Variety is the spice of life.

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

In one word this book was very thoroughly ‘Meh’ with a side stutter of  “Oh.”   The concept was what attracted me to buying it and to be quite honest, I felt a little bit let down. Hostile battle priests training boys to be big tough soldier killing things, one of them being the Angel of Bloody Death. I was excited gorram it!The Redeemers keep is a formidable and adequate setting but the  character development and descriptions felt a little rushed, particularly with Thomas Cale. I just couldn’t get stuck into his character (Not in that way you filthy people). I suppose you could say I expected too much but when you have a blurb that goes somewhat like this:

“His name is Cale.

They told him he could destroy the world.

Maybe he will.”

…you expect something a little more captivating.

Although the narrative sometimes seemed too hasty and Cale’s intro iffy in places,  I was still drawn in by some weird plot points: scary characters called Bosco (I don’t care what ANYONE SAYS that puppet was scary and his box even scarier) lovely smelling pebbles extracted from girls stomachs etc… and some ACTUAL characters that aren’t quite as vacant as Cale at the beginning. I found myself loving Idris Pukke in some ways, primarily because his name is silly and of course because he keeps Cale in check and reminds us that he’s still a kid and has yet to fully grow into the Angel of Death he really is, or that I’m hoping he really is. I would have liked to hear more back story on him. Most of the stories from his “extraordinary life” are left out and only really described as extraordinary  (rush, rush, RUSH!).  Vague Henri, as I expected, was more like able than his fellow boy soldiers and sympathetic in characteristics, bouncing off the cumbersome Kleist and the ‘deviously vacant’ Cale.

The trio make a feeble comedy act and often had me wondering why they stuck together at all. As fugitives of a hostile religious order, the boys are hardened to the extent where there’s not  much to see with regards to character. Only at certain points do we see much substance, most of those points include women or…no actually I’m pretty sure it’s just women.

Actually, Cale reminded me a little bit of Keanu Reeves Neo, just with more immature cursing and less respect for his woman (whom he initially refers to as a ‘mad bitch’) Speaking of which, Arbel Swan Neck (with the neck of a swan in case you hadn’t guessed) had better get more interesting in the next book or I’m just going to skim through her sections in the book more so than I did in The Left Hand of God. It is really quite annoying having to read back over descriptive sections that make you feel like slapping yourself in the face with a mackrel.

In summary, I think I expected a little too much from this book on that cold winters day in Easons and said, “Sure, why not.” I’ve decided to chance the sequel, The Last Four Things and see where it goes. It could be awful, there could be more swan necks, It could be awesome, there could be mutant swan armies and giant dragon ponies. Or Cale will probably just kill everyone. Because…y’know, he’s a teenage death machine.

Tune in next week for Hungry Monkey Dogs.

Peace Out

Chris Bunch(ed): Military Scope Vs Literotica

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Well,

First and foremostly, I do not consider myself a very good critic or review-er. This is in no way an ‘official’ brass tacks review of a book. I’m just expressin’ myself, like so:

So yeah,

I have just finished Seer King by Chris Bunch this weekend. I am not going to lie, I picked this book up expecting it to fill my head with silly plot points and unexplained, badly structured battle sequences and MAGICAL ESCAPISM. However, I was surprised, not in an entirely pleasant way but in one that middled betwixt ‘Ooooh’ and ‘What the Frak?’.

The book does what it says on the proverbial ‘tin’ insofar as that we DO get swept away on a tide of soldiering, fueding nations, backstabbing magicians and MOST importantly the art of ‘scalwaggery’.  After a while, it does start to drag at certain points, fair dues to Bunch, this story is motherfucking detailed. Bunchs descriptions are ornate and incredibly specific particularily when it comes down to 3 things; Battle Strategies, Clothes & Sex.  The stories of The Numantian Wars are narrated by this absolute ADONIS of a character, Damastes, your typical tall, strong, well hung (100% relevant, No joke) handsome and fair minded soldier boy.

Damastes and this ‘Seer King’ character Laish Tenedos are tied up in this unbelievably long and difficult stroke of amazing luck. So in this sense, the story moves quite fast, that and it’s all very much an account from a betrayed, dystopic Damastes at the end of their run of good luck. So the end is known and inevitable. So when you’re reading it your all like “Come ON man.” it is actually a bit of a page turner. Now, the descriptive passages were like little lulls in the page turning,  severed limbs, impaled horses, giant demons with no faces ripping people to shreds, death treks through snowy mountain passes, scaling unusually large fortress walls, all very well and good. But there was very specific emphasis on the sex scenes in the book. REALLY specific and detailed emphasis. And hey, that’s absolutely fine by me. Sex is awesome. I suppose what I’m trying to get at here is that the scenes were INTENTIONALLY over-graphic and more descriptive and detailed than most of the battles, journeys etc. due to the personal and closed nature of the characters situation.

Maybe Bunch is aligning his ferocious vision of all this kinky sex that Damastes has with his ladies with his concept and vision of war? 

Battle Fever Vs Night Fever?  

Maybe he just wants to write it for funs. I mean, it is a pretty big deal when it comes to getting to know the characters. I guess.

Either way, it was just surprising for me as I wasn’t expecting it. Which I guess makes me naive and silly. It does solidify some serious character development in the characters of Damastes and Tenedos and adds alot of depth (pun SO intended). So I suppose it is a good thing that Bunch seems to be a sucker for detail (No, I will not stop) It reminded me alot of reading The Fellowship of the Ring. Just from what I like to call a Dip & Rocket effect. The dips maintain the story slowly, plodding along with minor occurances and then the story picks up, ‘rockets’, if you will. This book is very much a dippy/rockety book.

If I could sum up this book in six words it would be this: Jungle Destiny Shiny Assassin Sex Magic. If you like cliffhangers, political and magical warfare and are partial to a bit of literotica, you will most assuredly like this book. I now have reached the stage where I, personally really fucking need to know what happens to Numantia and all its pretty lakes and rivers so I actually went and got the second book ‘Warrior King’. So, thanks Chris, thanks a ‘Bunch’ (apologies). I’m hoping it’s worth it, but I have this feeling that Chris Bunch will deliver…

Okay seriously, I’m done with the sex puns.

Peace Out.