The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch The Lies of Locke Lamora is like Oliver Twist meets Oceans 11 meets The Godfather -- or at least that's how it starts off. Once the setting and the world and the characters establish themselves, however, that's when story begins to takes on a personality of its own.

Indeed, looking back now, it does feel to me like there was a stark difference between the first few chapters and the last half of the novel. The beginning reads like a dark drama, chronicling the life of an orphan who likes to steal, in a writing style that's almost poetic. I loved this part.

On the other hand, the rest of the novel -- with its gang wars and theme of vengeance -- reads more like an action-adventure thriller, complete with the appropriate levels of blood, violence and profanity...and guess what? I loved that part too.

Another thing I really like about this book, of which I want to make a special note, are the "interludes" the author has interspersed between the chapters of the story. These sections give "background" information, sometimes about the characters' lives and sometimes about the history of the world. Either way, they give the reader a much better sense of the setting, and I thought this was a very interesting way of doing it.

Perhaps this is why it was so heart-wrenching for me to read certain parts of this novel. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so let me just say that Scott Lynch does a very good job of making you care about his characters, and it's so hard to take when misfortune falls upon them. By the first quarter of the novel, I already had my "favorite thief" and you can't help but root for the Gentlemen Bastards even when they are the criminals.

I'd originally wanted to pace myself reading this book, but I don't think I could have done it even if I'd tried. Let's just say there were plenty of bleary-eyed mornings for me this past week, from staying up way too late with Locke Lamora the night before. Granted, I felt the story becomes a little less refined once it gets going, and the writing also starts losing some of its elegance. The Lies of Locke Lamora is not a fantasy work of deep themes nor meaning -- towards the end, it becomes an action story, pure and simple. Nevertheless, there were still plenty enough twists and shockers to keep an otherwise straightforward tale of revenge interesting, and me turning the pages.

For this reason, I still decide to give this book a solid 5 out of 5 stars.