July 18, 2006

Bright Young Things from Gollancz: 3/3

5 out of 5 stars

And here we are, with the third and final new author from Gollancz. This book comes plastered with favourable comments from George R. R. Martin, Richard Morgan, and Hal Duncan, no less, and for once it lives up to them. Lynch has delivered a excellent book, written in an engaging style, with a fine cast of characters.

Locke Lamora is the leader of a gang of thieves, the Gentlemen Bastards who pass the time in intricate plans to rob the nobles of the city of Camorr, a Venice ten times more impressive than the orignal. The careful balance between the underworld and the nobles is threatened by new faces, and Lamora is caught up in a frantic battle to keep on top of a growing web of plots and nefarious doings.

For a first novel Lynch has delivered a remarkably well polished work. The style is nicely suited to the work, not too serious, but still capable of packing a punch. There were one or two passages that made me laugh out loud, but this book is clever, rather than slapstick. Characters are well rounded, albeit in the "lovable rogue" mould. Lynch is not afraid to kill them off, either, and twists and turns in plot took me by surprise. There's barely a wasted moment in the book, and although the interspaced flashbacks to Locke's earlier life sometimes feel a little clumsy, the pace easily carried me through 300 pages in one sitting.

This is not great literature, but it's highly entertaining, and reasonably original, at least for a fantasy novel. I just hope Lynch manages to maintain the tone for the rest of the series, a predicted 7 books. I'm already looking forward to the second. Five stars.

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