If Locke Lamora takes place in the generic fantasyworld - which is not meant as a criticism - Camorr itself is a very specific country within that world. Camorr has a medieval Venetian feel to it, with its canals and gondolas, ruled by Dukes, but it is a city built upon the indestructible "Elderglass" remains of a pre-human civilisation. We don't spend that much time among the nobility, but among an underclass of thieves and cutthroats, characters who would not be out of place in a Dickensian novel. Locke Lamora and his band of reprobates use precious little magic, but they have talents of their own: they are masters of trickery and disguise, the most prosperous thieves in Camorr. The titular Locke Lamora was sold by one Fagin-esque criminal (for not knowing the limits of respectable thievery) to a confidence trickster who appears in the guise of a blind priest. And it suits him well. Locke and his cronies revel in disguises and seem to complicate their confidence tricks for themselves for the sheer fun of it, just to show off. Locke Lamora has used his wits to gain himself his position in Camorr's underworld, but the time comes when his wits are all he has left.
I found the pacing of Locke Lamora quite slow to begin with. The narrative alternates between past and present, and it feels like a large portion of the book is there to set the stage for the real story. It was enjoyable getting to know the characters and their histories, and I found that the chapters about Locke's childhood flew a lot quicker than the present scenes, which contained a lot of underworld politics. I'd watch Locke's exploits enjoying the gradual revelation of what his end game would turn out to be, but I found myself wondering when the real plot was going to get started.
But around halfway, the plot hooked me in, keeping me gripping the pages and shouting at the book as I wondered how is he going to get out of this one? What happens next? I came to enjoy spending time with the characters, and their light-hearted banter makes the sometimes heavy prose easier to read. But there are shocking twists, devastating revelations, and one particular betrayal was comparable to a certain wedding in the Song of Ice and Fire series.