I finished this one a little while ago, but I wanted to mull it over a bit before writing a review.
The Lies of Locke Lamora isn't really like anything I've read before. The best way I can think to describe it is as if Neil Gaiman and China Miéville had a lovechild that happened to be a cross between Oliver Twist and Hollywood heist movies and set in a fantasy world that bears a startling resemblance to Renaissance-era Venice, just with a lot more crazy alien glass. Locke Lamora is a young orphan as the book opens, who escapes being sold into slavery by joining the ranks of a Fagin-like character, the Thiefmaker of Camorr. But after a while, Locke turns out to be trouble: he is too clever for his own good and steals from the wrong people, so the Thiefmaker sells him to the Eyeless Priest. And that's when Locke becomes a Gentleman Bastard, one of an elite crew of con-men-in-training.
It's a really enjoyable ride. Scott Lynch is an expert world-builder and is also a master of pacing. The twists are complex and deliberate and the characters are well-developed. He's not afraid to kill them off, either--risk-taking like that is a trait I admire in authors, even though it sometimes upsets me! I can barely believe this is a debut novel.
I did enjoy the first half more than the second, where I feel it slowed down a little. I think that may have been just a question of me devouring the first part so voraciously, though--like crashing a couple hours after chugging a double espresso. It's not like there were any sections I thought should be cut, or ways I think it could have been improved.
This was a really solid effort and a total page turner. I'll definitely be grabbing the next installment sometime soon.