Review: The Gentleman Bastards

Short version: The books are hugely fun, well crafted, and compelling. Read them.

So the last several weeks have been comparatively exciting, literally speaking. I haven’t had this much fun with the work of an author for what feels like a very long time.

Redwall is delightful in that childhood happiness sort of way, and Dune I will always adore for that mind-expanding feeling of awesome I get – which isn’t too far off from the vibe I derive from sitting and thinking about Neon Genesis Evangelion. I’m a geek, I know.

But recently, I’ve come across an author whose work I’ve come to regard as someone I truly wish to emulate – and, wouldn’t you believe it, they’re still alive. Most authors I’ve come to admire died years before I ever knew their name, or found their work. It is a crime.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is a fantasy novel by Scott Lynch  , a man whose word smithery leaves nothing to be desired. To describe Lies, I affectionately draw offer a cross between Oliver Twist and Game of Thrones. At least for the beginning. Then it becomes Ocean’s Eleven set in a fantasy realm. We’re talking heists, killings, mischief and all manner of “fuckery.”

Several weeks before this post, I ‘read’ The Lies of Locke Lamora (4/5 Stars) in my preferred medium – that is, audiobook – and the narrator, Michael Page, does a tremendous job with the voices and tone. Now, about a tenday later, I’m deep into Red Seas Under Red Skies, the next of Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series; also narrated by a familiar voice, much to the delight of yours truly.

I wanted to mention that I discovered something about myself in reading this book. I was primed by the latest Dead Author’s Podcast (where “Edgar Rice Burrough” claims he wrote Tarzan because he wanted to write a character that was everything he wish he could be), and had been set to thinking a simple question:

“What characters do I like most? In my own writing or otherwise, what characters do I wish to be?”

And so I discovered that I am fascinated by characters who can talk their way into – and out of – trouble. Locke Lamora is one such individual. Another, whom I didn’t realize I loved up until I now have the mental vocabulary to describe it, is Odysseus. In a Fantasy setting, see no shame in having a talent for killing or statecraft. In fact even something as mercantalism is pretty nifty if someone has a knack for it. But Speechcraft! Ha! It all makes sense now; no wonder I was so compelled by games like Baldur’s Gate and Fallout: New Vegas. Dialogue options that allowed you to manipulate the story and arrange your own safety, or any other desirable boon, is apparently more appealing to me than “Making the biggest badass character in the realm.”

The Gentleman Bastard series is fun to read and as of this post, the 3rd book was released days ago. I’ll likely secure a copy shortly after this. Imagine my excitement; now I understand some shard of what the Halo and Game of Thrones fans feel when Bungie reaches to scratch itself or when George R.R. Martin burps.

But perhaps most interestingly, I’m going to endeavor to improve my Speechcraft Skill. Starting with this over LifeHacker.org.

Happy writing!

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2 responses to “Review: The Gentleman Bastards

    • Indeed! Michael Page is freaking awesome. I was inspired to … Eventually… Go out of my way to find stuff that *he’s* done. There’s an encyclopedia of fantasy/mythology out there somewhere with his name on it …

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