This book violates some kind of law of reading. I mean, it was interminably long and overwritten, and yet, I had to finish it.
Actually, it reminds me of fan fiction, in particular a certain fannish thing written by me (and at this time, still in progress). The comparison doesn't imply that The Lies of Locke Lamora is bad, because, ahem, I happen to think my bit of fangirl indulgence is pretty good. It's even got a healthy number of readers and whatnot.
But my fan fiction story is a public work in progress, the result of me merrily uploading every interaction that I think is cute or relevant, because I love, love, love the characters. *Fan girl, sigh* Consequently, it's too fucking long. (Not that I'll ever remedy the matter, because it's fan fiction.)
Similarly, The Lies of Locke Lamora feels like the author's love letter to his characters, detailing every stinking thing Locke and company do, everything they say, with side jaunts into little historical tidbits and so forth and so on. To such an extent that not much happens until halfway through the novel. Just lots of chatter. Then there's the jumps back and forth in the timeline -- young Locke, versus grownup Locke, Gentleman Bastard.
But...if you get past the sheer wordyness of the novel, there's a lot to like. The voice is wry and wickedly funny, this reflected through Locke and his band of sidekicks in flexible property rights (thieves). The intrigue is twisty and the later parts of the story suspenseful.
Put on a diet, and shrunk considerably, this might have been a keeper.
Recommended to fans of tricksy thieves in well-developed fantasy worlds. Or readers with loads of patience.