the Little Red Reviewer

I just have to keep you here . . until Jean. . . shows up!

Posted on: April 7, 2012

* * * Edited to add * * *

now that you’ve finished the book, you want to know more about Scott Lynch, right?  leave it to Bryce, of My Awful Reviews to take care of your every need!  check out what Sam Sykes, Elizabeth Bear and Myke Cole are saying about everyone’s favorite firefighter.

* * *

Were these not some of the best weeks of your life, or what?  false-facing, banter, brass balls and everything going horribly, horribly wrong.  Glass towers, bondsmagi, mobsters, the best friends anyone could ever ask for, and of course, bloody and tear streaked revenge.  This is what the best books in the world are made of.

And that’s the wonderful thing about books. the adventure is never over. All you have to do to see your friends again to is open the cover and dive in. It’s also nice to know I won’t have to climb into the damn book and take care of a certain someone, if you recall my bloodlust from last week.

The book may be over, but this isn’t goodbye. It’s “I’ll see you later, you bastard”.  Watch your e-mail for information on an upcoming Read Along for Red Seas Under Red Skies.

For our final discussion posts, the questions were supplied by our newest read along team member Lynn, from Lynn’s Book Blog. Make sure to visit her and tell her how great of questions she came up with! And huge, massive thanks to all our other co-hosts, Dark Cargo, My Awful Reviews, @ohthatashley posting at SF Signal and Dark Cargo Explorer!    Leave your link in the comments below, and I’ll add you to the link list.  With the holiday weekend, don’t worry about posting on Saturday, I think everyone is going to be netsurfing around for the next five or six days, digesting the outcomes of one of our favorite books.

And don’t just comment here, we’ve got over twenty bloggers participating. Yes, you read that correctly: over TWENTY bloggers traveled the same road with us these past five weeks. Go give ’em some blogger read along love!

Yeah, these guys!
Lynn’s Book Blog
Nashville Bookworm
Books Without Any Pictures
Genkinahito’s blog
Kaitharshayr’s Musings
Scruffy Fiction
Tethyan Books
Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers
Travels Through Iest
Just Book Reading
Rose’s thingamajig
Paperless Reading
I Want Life in Every Word
Beware of the Froggies
All I am – A Redhead
Dark Cargo
The Hugo Endurance Project
My Awful Reviews

*** NEW discussions! ***
John Ayliff
A Blog Thinger
Booky Pony

More new discussions!
Updates to the Theory of Everything
The Bente Way of Life

Due to massive amounts of spoilers, Lynn’s questions and my answers are after the jump!

1.       The Thorn of Camorr is renowned – he can beat anyone in a fight and he steals from the rich to give to the poor.  Except of course that clearly most of the myths surrounding him are based on fantasy and not fact.  Now that the book is finished how do you feel the man himself compares to his legend.  Did you feel that he changed as the story progressed and, if so, how did this make you feel about him by the time the conclusion was reached?

Locke is not the man of the legend.  The urban myth of The Thorn of Camorr certainly has grains of truth (stealing only from the rich!), and it certainly helps insulate Locke, but i think if someone told Capa Barsavi that Locke was the Thorn, Barsavi would laugh his ass off.  Hmmm, did he change as the story went on?  I don’t think he so much changed as we simply got to know him better. He didn’t go through some kind of transformation or epiphany. We witnessed his reaction when his family was threatened, but I think that was always there.

at the beginning of the book, we don’t know Locke very well. he’s elusive and rather quiet.  The “getting to know Locke” is quite the slow burn. But at the end, the very end. . .  just wow.  It’s the last 100 pages of this book that really show us who Locke Lamora is.


2.       Scott Lynch certainly likes to give his leading ladies some entertaining and strong roles to play.  We have the Berangia sisters – and I definitely wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of them or their blades plus Dona Vorchenza who is the Spider and played a very cool character – even play acting to catch the Thorn.  How did you feel about the treatment the sisters and Dona received at the hands of Jean and Locke – were you surprised, did it seem out of character at all or justified?

the Berangias sisters deserved everything Jean threw at them. These are bitches who killed Calo and Galdo, and they were out to kill Jean and very nearly did. It was completely justified.  He should have killed them slower. he should have given them teeth lessons.

and ok, maybe Locke shouldn’t have punched Dona Vorchenza. That wasn’t very nice at all!  but. . . she tried to poison him! And the unexpectedness of what he does to her I think takes some of the tension out of the scene, which was actually a good thing.  I love those closing scenes with Locke and Dona Vorchenza and the Salvaras, hilarious!

3.       Towards the end we saw a little more of the magic and the history of the Bondsmagi.  The magic, particularly with the use of true names, reminds me a little of old fashioned witchcraft or even voodoo.  But, more than that I was fascinated after reading the interlude headed ‘The Throne in Ashes’ about the Elderglass and the Elders and why their structures were able to survive even against the full might of the Bondsmagi – do you have any theories about this do you think it’s based on one of our ancient civilisations or maybe similar to a myth??

Complex question!  I have a weakness for any magic that has anything to do with naming, period.  True names are immensely powerful things, just think of your own name. When your mother or father calls your name, you know exactly what emotions they are feeling when they say your name, and how much trouble you are in based solely on if your full name is used.  Nicknames between friends are magical things, secret names, code names.  Again, it’s all in the name. It’s all the specific syllables someone uses when they wish for you to do their bidding.

I don’t have any theories about the Elderglass being able to stand up to the magic of the Bondsmagi, and actually I’m hoping Lynch made the whole thing up instead of doing tedious research.  I’m curious to learn more about the mythos of the Elders, but I don’t think it will have any connection to any of our earthly mythologies.


4.       We have previously discussed Scott Lynch’s use of description and whether it’s too much or just spot on.  Having got into the last quarter of the book where the level of tension was seriously cranked up – did you still find, the breaks for interludes and the descriptions useful or, under the circumstances did it feel more like a distraction?

They were a lovely, delicious, distraction.   the action has me all hot and bothered,  and then I’m told I have to wait for the climax? Oh, but even the waiting is so tingly wonderful.  so yes, quite useful, just a detour on the path. 😉

5.       Now that the book has finished how did you feel about the conclusion and the eventual reveal about the Grey King and more to the point the motivations he declared for such revenge – does it seem credible, were you expecting much worse or something completely different altogether?

I always imagine the Grey King to be some kind of criminal mastermind, and he is, but it’s always a surprise to me that he didn’t start out that way. He wasn’t born anywhere near the criminal underground.  It wasn’t a Capa who sent him down a path of violence, it was the supposedly beneficent civil government. The people who are supposed to be helping the public, making sure society continues to work, those are the people who turned the Grey King into the creature he became.  His game has less than nothing to do with Locke and his false-facing, and it has everything to do with revenge against an entire class of people.   Locke is a ton of fun, but the Grey King? he is a stone cold conscienceless mother fucker steeped in pure venomous hatred.

In another world, the Grey King could be a great antihero protagonist. 

6.       Were you surprised that Locke, being given two possible choices (one of which could possibly mean he would miss his chance for revenge on the Grey King) chose to go back to the Tower  – especially given that (1) he would have difficulty in getting into the building (2) he would have difficulty in convincing them about the situation and (3) he would have difficulty in remaining free afterwards? Did anyone else nearly pee their pants when Locke and the rest were carrying the sculptures up to the roof garden?

Locke is a thief, he’s not a killer.  The revenge that he’s looking for isn’t on the nobles of Camorr. It could be said that because of his love for the nobles and peers of Camorr, he lets Conte beat the shit out of him.   So I wasn’t surprised.  Getting in the tower was just slightly more difficult that getting money and clothes out of Merragio’s. If anyone can pull off something like that, it’s The Thorn of Camorr! and OK, so maybe Dona Salvara was a little too easily convinced to break open the sculpture and look inside, but come on, everyone was in desperate need of a little plot devicing at that particular moment!

Oh so carefully carrying those sculptures of to the roof, I didn’t so much pee my pants as sweated buckets of bullets.  But when Locke tells Vorchenza where the money is buried? now at that, I laughed so hard I nearly did pee my pants, especially when Vorchenza and her men go to dig it up!

7.       Finally, the other question I would chuck in here is that, following the end of the book I was intrigued to check out some of the reviews of LOLL and noticed that the negative reviews mentioned the use of profanity.  How did you feel about this – was it excessive? Just enough? Not enough?

what? there was profanity in this book? Why didn’t someone fucking tell me?  😉

I’ve given this book to more than one person who has handed it back to me and said “couldn’t get into it, Locke is a really unlikeable character”, so maybe people who gave it negative reviews had similar thoughts.

8.       Okay one further, and probably most important but very quick question – having finished, will you pick up the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies?

hell to the yeah!!  actually, I HAVE to pick it up in the next day or so so I can figure out all the chapter breaks for our read along!

38 Responses to "I just have to keep you here . . until Jean. . . shows up!"

I noticed the swearing in the first hundred or so pages, but that’s because it seemed so out of place for the assumptions I have about epic fantasy. Same thing with Richard K. Morgan’s fantasy novel (the name eludes me at the moment) that also turns some of the conventions of the genre on its ear as well. And that’s what Lynch does well–turning conventions on their ear. I am not generally an epic fantasy person–I don’t care much for Tolkein or Brooks–but I find myself more drawn to fantasy worlds that feel lived in….George RR Martin, Lynch, urban fantasy of Charles DeLint and the Dresden files.


I thought the swearing was refreshing because Locke and his gang were members of a criminal underworld. If it were real life, they’d definitely swear. It made the dialogue seem so much more real to me.


I agree with you, Michael: I was also a little stunned by the profanity at first, because I wasn’t really expecting it, but, as Grace says, it was realistic in this setting and so I didn’t have a problem with it.


Strangely enough I didn’t ‘hate’ the Berangia sisters – don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t rooting for them (at all) but I thought they played a good role – very cold and calculated. I was so pleased that Jean kicked their asses good and proper though!
I also couldn’t help having feelings of sympathy for the Grey King but they were very fleeting moments – he was a magnificent baddy, psycopathic in his feelings of righteousness and with no boundaries or consciousness of how far he was actually going! Great character to hate.
Thanks for hosting and can’t wait for No.2!
Lynn ;D


hmm, i guess I didn’t hate them either. . i just didn’t like them very much!


Oh my goodness, the conflicting emotions I had once the Grey King told his story! It was awesome. Reminded me of the second book in the Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett, half the book is from the villain’s POV, and you can’t help but start to like him and root for him, and then you have to figure out how Brett got you to turn to the dark side…


Definitely conflicting emotions, lots of twisting and turning and great comparison with Peter Brett – the Desert Spear you’re thinking how did I end up having such sympathy with this guy??? What just happened.
I think he glamoured us.
Lynn 😀


[…] come across a lot of good bloggers and enjoyed reading their answers which you can check out at Little Red Reviewers blog. Here are my […]


I kind of liked the Berangia sisters even if they were hyper-violent bad-guys. I also felt guilty laughing over the punch that Vorchenza took – kind of like when Robert Downey Jr. punched the kid in Due Date. Here’s my answers:


I have to agree with what you’ve said about the Grey King, I just assumed that he was simply trying to gain power, which is usually what criminal masterminds want. But the fact that he waited all that time, spent all that money, was willing to kill so many people for revenge? That is scary.

Also I was somewhat sicked by the Bondsmage saying that the only reason the GB’s were screwed over in the way they were was because they had so much money and the Grey King could pay him with it. If only they had spent it!! But then I suspect no one would have cottoned on to what those statues were and even more people would have pretty much died.


whoops that should say sickened not sicked.. ah typos 🙂


they always seemed to know how much $$ they had in their vault, but they never seemed to understand how rich they were. The quantity of money didn’t mean anything to them, so they couldn’t understand why someone would want to steal it. and if they had spent it all? this would have been a really short and really boring book. 😉


I did feel bad for the Grey King in a lot of ways but he really did just make things worse for himself. Ultimately I was glad to see him get what he deserved.

Here’s my answers for this week:


What a fantastic ending to a thoroughly entertaining book! Thanks to everyone who hosted this read along, and I’m looking forward to participating in the read along for the sequel! Here’s my answers:


I’m such a moron !! Forgot to leave my link:
We have all been very spoiled by this readalong and the bar is now set very high for future ones! I’m so glad I took part it’s been so interesting reading everyone’s thoughts and just improves the whole experience of the reading the book. Even when (and sometimes particularly moreso) when we all disagree.
Lynn 😀


Bring on RSURS: I can’t wait!

As Lynne says this Read Along has been a great experience and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Reading the book over such a long time and sharing the views of others during the process has made the book even more special for me. Other peoples’ ideas always deepen my enjoyment and understanding of a book, and everyone has been so polite in their disagreements!

I look forward to many more wonderful discussions with you all and I want to extend a big thanks to our hosts.

Here’s my answers:


My answers are at

My only thought on the true naming was to wonder if it was common knowledge that the Bondsmagi used true names to control people, and if so why people used their true names so freely. At the same time, the rarity of a Bondsmage is probably ample protection for most people.


The Falconer seemed to think it was common knowledge, almost like it was this huge inside joke between all the Bondsmagi. But for the most part, i think you’re spot on that since there are so few Bondsmagi, people don’t really need to worry about one popping up around every corner.

and guess if you are worried, you probably don’t use your real name? which leads me to wonder why did Locke lie about his name from the very beginning?


Well when he whispered it to Jean, I kind of got the impression that it was something ridiculous that nobody in their right mind would want as a name. Locke seemed to suit him better. It makes me wonder what Locke’s real name really is, lol.


Yeah, i would love to know what Locke’s real name is – didn’t he whisper five syllables into Jean’s ear? Maybe we should have a ‘guess the name’ quizz – mmm, Englebert Snodgrass?? Yep, I’d stick with Locke!
Lynn 😀


omg, Englebert Snodgrass!!! lol!!!!


I just have to keep you here until Jean shows up. Best. Line. Ever. 🙂

Here’s my link this week –

Looking forward to the next book too. I had to restrain myself from starting it. It’s been a difficult week of reading because of that. 🙂


I loved that the book ended with Locke saying he just needs to wait until Jean shows up. 🙂
Especially since we know the background of that particular sentence (which is why those interludes are so important).


“(which is why those interludes are so important).”

YES!!!! that! Interludes are your friend!! can you imagine if the book had been completely chronological? That would have completely wrecked the effect!


I completely agree, the book would have been a complete wreck if it were chronological.
I shudder to contemplate the possibility.


Ha – ‘Interludes are friends’ – made me think of Ludo in the Labyrinth.
Lynn 😀


WHAT! Poisoned knitting needles! That totally deserves a punch in the face. She tried to kill him and all he did was punch her. That’s actually pretty nice.

I loved that recall of the Half Crown War with Locke shouting at GK I only have to keep you here till Jean shows up! I’m pretty sure I was shouting HELL YEAH! in the car. 🙂


This read along has been fantastic. Such an entertaining book, and so many great bloggers involved! I didn’t realise there were 20, I tried to visit everyone but now I’m sure I must’ve missed some!!


What I find so interesting is that even the people who know that Locke is the Thorn underestimate him and his talents: suckers!! 😀


The only thing I don’t quite understand is that if Locke is a fake name then how did the Bondsmage’s magic hurt him when they first met? Hmmm.


Oh, flipping eck! Now I’m going to have to go back to the scene and check it out – although I figured he was just using ‘regular’ magic at that point – just like when he knocked Locke to sleep??
Lynn 😀


The thought of Vorchenza’s men digging up a couple boat-loads of poo to find the stolen money is quite funny. Locke did some thinking on his feet there.


“he is a stone cold conscienceless mother fucker steeped in pure venomous hatred.”
Ah, and here you are, summarizing the whole character so well I couldn’t think of anything to add. And I also agree about the Berangias killing, it could have been slower, and nastier. Bitches!!

Is the profanity rubbing out on us…? I hope so!! I look forward to starting the next read-along, I miss Locke and Jean already!


Late! I know! But finally my post came up and running as well… It’s the last, so it just had to be added to the rest of them as the epic conclusion it it 🙂


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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