October 5th, 2012

Me 2012

Civ V

Anyone want a copy of Civilization V? Lut got a new copy with the preorder of XCom, and we both already have it. (Note: you'll need a Steam account -- no charge but you need to sign up for the service if you haven't already -- to get it.)

Found a taker! :)
Me 2012

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

I read this at the recommendation of tuftears.

Let me start with this: it's 719 pages and I finished it, which pretty much means I had to like it a fair bit. If this were a bad book, I'd've swapped it for something else two days ago.

I should also note that The Lies of Locke Lamora suffers from not being Post Captain, which is the sequel to Master and Commander and the book I really want to read why has the library not produced it for me IT'S BEEN DAYS. This is not at all Scott Lynch's fault, but alas, these things happen.

It's an epic fantasy/conman story, set in the city of Camorra: a crapsack world* with a miserably impoverished and crime-ridden underclass, a wealthy and privileged upperclass, a corrupt city watch, and abundant organized crime. The protagonist is a conman, and one not above taking advantage of people's better instincts as well as their baser ones. Still, it's a crapsack world; the reader doesn't meet very many people who actually seem decent, so the protagonist comes off pretty well by comparison.

The squalor and splendors of Camorra are vividly described: the author puts quite a lot of detail and attention to his setting, enough so that even a reader like me who skims most of the description could pick up a feel for it. The characters have a certain charm, and the narrative spends enough time among people who actually like each other and aren't torturing people that I didn't feel ground down by the ambient misery of the setting. The main protagonist and his crew -- the "Gentlemen Bastards" -- have a certain charm, especially in their loyalty to one another. The author did several things that took me by surprise, and a few things that mystified me. Overall, I am going to give it a 7.

And now, I am going to complain at undue length about the reasons why it only gets a 7. I apologize in advance for the rant. It will be somewhat but not overly spoilery.
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All right, I think I've gotten all that out of my system now. And despite the complaints, I did like the book. It did many things well, even if it hit badly on one of my pet peeves.

* Lut: "'Crapsack'? Is that the technical term for it?"
Me: "Yes."
Lut: "I am trying to picture what a crapsack would be for. To put crap in so you can bury it?"
Me: [pulls up the TV Tropes page] "See? Technical term for it."
Lut: "Maybe you should link to the article."
Me: "What? And cost my friends three hours of their lives from being sucked into the TV Tropes page?"
Lut: "Maybe you should put a warning on that link. I bet there's a TV Tropes page about how TV Tropes devours time."
Me: "Yes, there is."