A friend recommended this book to me, and as it was a friend whose opinion I trusted, as soon as I finished what I'd been reading I picked up The Lies of Locke Lamora.
Not since George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice & Fire series have I been so taken with a fantasy novel. Though the number of characters and the world are both much smaller than those in ASOIAF, I was drawn in quite quickly. Though some named characters remain a mystery (a good way for Lynch to make me feel there's a reason to keep reading the trilogy), the fact that many of the main ones were quickly fleshed out was a refreshing change of pace from other fantasy novels.
Additionally, the story never seemed bogged down. I will say that Lynch places 'Interludes' - basically, flashbacks - throughout the novel, and there are several in the latter half of the book that seem more like filler, or at least something that could have been told via a [shorter] scene. However, despite the fact that Lies of Locke Lamora wasn't completely action-packed, I found myself wanting to pick it back up any time that I put it down.
The characters are believably flawed, and despite some outcomes being a bit predictable, there are more than enough shocking developments to even things out.
:: SEMI-SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON IN! ::
What this novel does suffer from is the fact that the author clearly (hopefully?) didn't know for certain that the other two installments in the trilogy would be picked up by his publisher. At least, I'm hoping this is the case...because otherwise Lies of Lock Lamora wraps up far too neatly. So neatly, in fact, that it could easily be construed as a stand-alone novel. In general, there's nothing wrong with that...except for the fact that it doesn't leave me immediately reaching for the second book in the trilogy.
:: END SPOILERS ::
Overall, the world- and character-building in this novel are exemplary. The title character is memorable and important, but so are the secondary and tertiary ones, which many books - especially those in the fantasy genre - fail at. 4/5 stars.
"'There are only three people in life you can never fool - pawnbrokers, whores, and your mother.'"
"'...there's no freedom quite like the freedom of being constantly underestimated.'"