I know, I know, I just read The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch. The thing is, when I was paging through it looking for quotes, I remembered how much I’d enjoyed the characters, and that I’d given a bit short shrift to the descriptions. (I usually re-read a book I’ve liked immediately, to better appreciate how it all fits together; but I didn’t do that here, because I felt that I had a good grip on the plot and I didn’t have time.) So I decided to bring it into work and re-read it over lunch. I wasn’t planning to booklog this re-read, except partway through a question hit me:
Why isn’t this being compared to Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series?
Okay, yes, it’s told in third omniscient not First Person Smartass, and it’s thicker, but otherwise, I think it has pretty similar minerals and vitamins (TM Teresa Nielsen Hayden). First and most obvious, there’s the organized crime: both protagonists start out in a Mafia-like organization (and the morality of that involvement gets raised to varying extents). Then there’s the setting and the history: non-medievaloid with a proportionate history; sophisticated cities; vanished alien races with lasting influences—Camorr is filled with Elderglass structures, indestructible by human means. (The history of the Eldren is not central to the series, according to the author.) There are smart, quick, clever characters with backstories, who get into serious trouble and make it out by the skin of their teeth through wild improvisation. And the books themselves are self-contained pieces of a larger character arc.
If you read the Vlad books solely for the narrative games, you won’t get that with Lies; but otherwise, fans of the Vlad books could do much worse than to check this out.
[I wrote this when our DSL was out and the only thing I had access to was the blurbs on the jacket copy (which, as Chad points out, are possibly not likely to compare the book to a series from another publisher—two other publishers, even). Google tells me that at least three people have made the comparison: Library Journal, in a review behind a paywall; Kenneth Hite, in a comparison mostly about the voice (and slightly disfavorable to the Vlad Taltos series); and C.M. Morrison at Strange Horizons, who appears to have hated the book so much that she went out of her way to spoil the ENTIRE FLIPPIN’ THING in her review. Obviously I neither agree with nor recommend that last. But, since I went to the trouble of writing this, I’m posting it anyway. So there.]